Thursday, October 15, 2009

10-09-09 Zealand (continued)

The crossing.

The trail continues south towards Zealand Notch.

The white birches here are old and in decay. They once formed a corridor, growing in large number on both sides of the trail, so that on moon lite nights they glowed with a ghost-like intensity and if you were hiking alone it was a bit eerie.
At last we come to the notch and Zealand Pond that we've already been introduced to in the blog.
Zealand Mt. is in the background.
Looking towards the west across Zealand Pond and up towards the falls and the hut which is not really visible from here except for a tiny corner of the roof .

I walked over towards the west side of the pond on my way to the hut. The weather was changing and it felt like rain was approaching again but the light was lovely.

This is looking north up the pond with the wind picking up and rustling the leaves
around my feet and it smelled like rain.

Looking due east.

And south towards the notch. Remember (?), that's Whitewall Mountain across the pond and it stretches lazily like a sleeping cat down the entire notch.

The hut was cozy. It had gotten chilly outside, in the low 40s (F) so we gathered close to the stove and made lunch. Hillary, to the left, was making white chocolate, orange flavored brownies. She gave me a couple to take with me when I left "to keep" for my Saturday hike but they were both devoured before I was a mile from the hut.

A strange sky over Mt. Tom. While we ate lunch the topic of spiders came up because Zealand Hut has large (as in giant) orb-weaver spiders that adorn the front porch and that make the loveliest webs. Some where in this blog there is a photo of one of them. At any rate, Andrew, a rookie member of the hut croo, heard me express my curiosity about the alpine spiders on Mt. Washington and what happens to them in sub-zero weather and he told me the following: Spiders as a group, the Aracnids, can produce glycerol in their blood from sugars and the glycerol acts like an antifreeze. The spiders find dens below the rocks or in tunnels in the soil and with the glycerol in their circulatory systems sleep peacefully through the winter. That very cool. Now I have one less thing to worry about.

A flank of Whitewall with some color left in the maples and poplars. The tree in the foreground in a mountain ask and they were still vividly red and yellow.

That's Dave on the left and then Meredith who had come over for lunch from Galehead, Hillary and Andrew (not Andrew Riely). Dave and Meredith were leaving for Galehead where they had a full house for the night and were feeling pressure to get on the trail because the weather was deteriorating quickly with a forecast of heavy rains and snow in higher elevations. I was heading back down to the road.

This is where you tighten your pack on your shoulders, waiste and back so you can run down the trail. I know of of few things more joyful (and exhilarating) then running down a mountain or on a trail like this.

I included this picture to show the hobble bush growing in a kind of layer in these open woods. They're all the same height, in dense clumps and their fall color accentuates them.

The last 100 yards to the road.

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