By Theresa Russell
Covering a vast area of New Hampshire, the White Mountains lend themselves well to fit activities. The scenery is outstanding, the terrain is diverse and the options are many.
Hiking to the Zealand Falls
So many hiking opportunities abound in the White Mountains that it was tough to finally make a decision. Staying at the Highland Lodge, which offers a shuttle to the Zealand Falls trailhead, made the selection of this particular hike a no-brainer. Knowing that we would be ascending to a spot with an excellent view of the surrounding area spurred us on along the hike.
The trail starts gently as the terrain is predominantly flat, making it a fairly easy hike at first. At every turn there seemed to be a stream, interesting flower or gnarly tree that caused us to stop in our tracks and enjoy the spectacle. The trail eventually veers to the right and becomes a rock-laden path that started as a gentle ascent, but eventually became more technical with boulders strewn everywhere.
We felt more like mountain climbers as we scrambled to the Zealand Falls hut operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, where we could have spent the night had we made reservations. Instead, we lingered at the top looking over the mountains in the distance and savoring the gentle flowing of a creek as it descended a higher hill and gracefully fell onto the boulders below.
We looked around the hut, enjoyed our lunch and re-traced our steps back to the trailhead.
A modern building, the Highland Lodge is a model for sustainable travel and green practices. Full service and large, Highland is the ideal spot to set off for hut-to-hut hikes or simply a long day of activities. Scheduled hikes and activities are posted daily and a shuttle operates from this lodge.
Guests receive free use of equipment from LL Bean to get them involved in the outdoors without spending a fortune just to try it. Daily Outdoor Exploration programs and multi-day programs originate from here. Staying with guests who also enjoy adventures is quite conducive to planning future adventures and getting advice on the local activities and favorite hiking spots.
About Theresa Russell
Claiming her lust for travel began on her first journey through the birth canal, Theresa is genetically programmed to travel and to have fun doing it. She especially enjoys adventure and experiential travel and always finds something at a destination to write home about.