Forums 2004 FOT48 Information Archive 2004 Summit Reports Zealand Re: Mt. Zealand 9/11 Hike

    Post count: 303

    Saturday morning began in a flurry, we overslept!! Trevor in a half conscience state loaded all the gear as I gathered it. We left in record time and flew up the highway through New Hampshire arriving, to our amazement, at the agreed upon place and time.
    Mark, Andey, Todd and Peggy were promptly on time and all in good spirits. After introductions were made and the revised plans (not bagging Mt. Hale) for the day discussed, we loaded up and traveled the final mile of Zealand Rd. to the trail head. The walk from the parking lot to the Zealand Falls Hut is best described as, leisurely, serene, picturesque and enjoyable. Trevor couldn’t get over the fact that it was so easy as he was “mule” for the day. He cheerfully packed all the poles, flag, rope, duct tape, miscellaneous equipment and all his stuff as well!!! The temperatures were cool and the conversation lively, having planned for plenty of time to reach the summit we paused for photos whenever the notion struck, as you can tell by the amount of phenomenal pictures (a most fabulous job,gentlemen) taken by Mark and Todd.Check out the Gallery and
    Our group of almost complete (yes Mark, as opposed to incomplete) strangers had melded quite nicely from the start; we were well suited, good buddies by the time we reached the hut. With little effort we arrived and Peggy added another patch to her collection, we had a snack, went milling about inside and outside, shared conversation about our mission with several hikers and of course took more photos. Then we were on our way once again.
    The trip to Zeacliff took a bit more effort but the grand reward was worth the minimal struggle. The warmth and clear skies afforded us time to truly enjoy this fabulous place. We shared the cliffs and conversation with two people until we were joined by the “guys” from the hut who were on their way to Franconia Notch. Two women came along just before we left the cliffs. They had no idea who we were nor did we know they were the Deb and Lucy we were expecting… like ship passing in the night… Jerry also met up with us on the spur trail to the cliffs as we were leaving; he stayed at the cliffs, taking in the fabulous view for awhile, as we traveled on. He caught up a short time later, as did Deb and Lucy. The trail from the cliffs to the summit is best described as one big mud hole after another with small patches of dry ground. It made for interesting, precarious and dirty travel. One of the more humorous statements happened along this section. While making a slight descent before reaching the summit our first timer Trevor asked “Why are we going down hill?” to which Peggy promptly replied “Because the summit is down here.”
    At the summit our band of seven became eleven. With everyone there, it was time to raise ‘Ole Glory’ and 24 feet of PVC. Each took a part in raising the flag, even the hiker we came across as we made the summit. He was minding his own business but felt compelled to join in. Warren joined us as we pieced together the poles and became an active participant as well. Deb had brought a flag belonging to her Grandfather’s WWII Mountain Division. This flag was secured to the pole as well and we all lifted them both up to meet the wind. The flag stretched out across the tiny opening above Zealand summit and a cheer filled the space below. The purpose of the day was never far from our thoughts as we shared a meal, some stories and a beautiful day under the canopy of the American flag. We cheered each hiker that made the summit and told them of our purpose, we received congratulations and praise for the deed at hand and what it represented. Deb and Lucy made there way home before we brought the flag down as did our helpful hiking buddy. When our band of eight brought down the flags, Andey and Mark folded ‘Ole Glory’ with military expertise and great care. The rest of us made short work of disassembling the poles, with everything packed and no trace of us having been there, our tribe of eight began trip home. At the end of the day we all felt tired from the day’s journey and good about what we had done. I can not think of anyone else I would have rather spent the day with. An awesomely fabulous group!!! We spent time in the parking lot exchanging a few more laughs and our addresses. What I learned from the day with these determined, engaging, entertaining and humorous individuals…
    😮 Complete strangers are different than incomplete strangers.
    😆 You know your close when you can throw a rock from here to there.
    😉 Large, young men can climb small, old trees.
    🙄 There are three rings of marriage.
    😮 Sometimes you must go down to reach the summit.
    😀 What happens on Zealand stays on Zealand.
    :flag: There is no such thing as too much fun.

    Thank you Peggy, Trevor, Mark, Andey, Todd, Jerry, Warren, Deb and Lucy for making this one of the most remarkable and memorable hikes of my lifetime. Your spirits are kind and remain in my memory forever.