An easy 2.8-mile hike leads to one of our more popular destinations for families and those new to backcountry travel. If you’re a more seasoned hiker, you’ll also appreciate Zealand Falls Hut for its eastern Pemigewasset location, near Zealand Mountain, the Bonds and other majestic peaks. And as with our other huts, the Zealand croo whips up breakfasts and dinners that don’t disappoint.
I stayed at Zealand Falls hut a few years ago while finishing my pursuit of the New Hampshire 4000-footers and have revisited it a few times on shorter hikes (it’s ony 600’ of elevation and less than 3 miles), including this weekend. It serves as a family-friendly first destination for new backpackers, a jumping off spot for a Bond traverse, or a winter destination. This is one of the few huts open year-round, although in winter you’ll have to hike up Zealand Road to the trailhead.
With a stay in the hut during peak season, you’ll receive a pillow, 3 wool blankets, and family style dinner and breakfast. The rest of the year you’ll have a pillow and maybe a fire in the fireplace in the evening; everything else is on you, so plan accordingly. The co-ed bunkrooms are on either side of the central dining room and kitchen. The bunks are triple deckers and are not assigned. You have lots of neighbors in the bunkroom and someone is likely to snore, so you'll want some earplugs(usually supplied) if you can't sleep through it.
It’s clean, folks are friendly, and the Croo will entertain while reminding you of the rules of hut life. There are compost toilets and cold running water. There are games and books for entertainment. Snacks are available. There may be a nature talk. If the skies are clear, you’ll want to check out the stars. A stay in the hut is pricey, but it's a great bargain if you have a long traverse ahead of you and want to keep your load a bit lighter. Be sure to make your reservation well in advance; the ease in reaching it makes it a popular spot! Zealand is one of the cozier huts.
One of the nice things about this hut is its location next to Zealand Falls. This late in the summer the water flow was on the low side, but I’ve been here when it’s been so high after a heavy storm that hikers had difficulty crossing it. From the ledges you have a view across the pond toward Mt. Tom and toward Nancy, Chocorua, and Carrigain. Relax on the rocks and soak up the sun, listen to the water, & chat with fellow explorers, or sit on the porch and greet hikers as they arrive. Time it right and you’ll likely meet AT through hikers with tales to tell.
Product Review: Banner & Oak Trek Burgundy ladies cap
As a Ranger with The Dyrt, I sometimes get to review equipment. This time around I had a Banner & Oak Trek Burgundy cap for ladies. I chose it because I like caps with a low crown and this was in a color I frequently wear. Rain was threatening and I’m always trying to keep raindrops off my glasses, so this seemed like a good time to try it out; I find a cap also helps keep my hood in place. The fabric is so soft (true of all 3 Banner & Oak items I tested) and it’s easily adjustable, so the fit was perfect. Easily…that’s the operative word here. Banner& Oak chose a closure that makes adjustments so much easier than the ones where you have feed it through a bit at a time. Open the clip, pull the end, close the clip when it’s at the right spot.There’s a metal rim where the tab feeds into the cap so it won’t wear. The brim is slightly curved, which I like. I’m looking forward to a lot more hikes with my Banner and Oak cap!