Zealand Falls Reminders

A few reminders for our trip this weekend to Zealand Falls …

We will meet at St. Mark’s at 6:00 am and plan to be on the road by 6:30.  It’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive to the trailhead and we want to be on the trail before 10:00.

It will be really, really cold this weekend. The weather forecast says the high temperature will be 11 degrees at Bretton Woods and you should expect it to be colder in the higher elevations. Winds are forecast to be between 10 and 20 mph, so the wind chill can drop even lower.

Wind Chill ChartThe wind chill values are close to the point where exposed skin will freeze in under 30 minutes. Please make sure you have a face mask and goggles to cover up your face, a hooded jacket or balaclava to cover your neck and ears and a warm hat.

Bring plenty of layers! You will warm up while you are hiking – but cool off quickly when you stop. Long underwear for your base layer and 2-3 mid layers for warmth – including a puffy jacket or bulky sweater for when we stop. Ski pants for your legs and a heavy winter shell for your outer layer. If you bring an insulated winter outer jacket, make sure you have enough layers to swap out to something less warm and bulky when we’re on the move.

Make sure you have warm winter boots on your feet with heavy wool socks and extra socks in your pack so you can keep your feet dry.

Make sure you have warm gloves or mittens (or both!) for your hands. Gloves with a cuff or “gauntlet” to cover the wrist will be welcome. Think about wearing liner gloves underneath your winter gloves – this way if you need to take your gloves or mittens off to pull something out of a pocket you don’t have to use your bare hand. A couple of packets of chemical hand warmers can be a really good thing to help with cold fingers.

I would expect it to be in the teens overnight in the bunk room. Many of you have sleeping bags rated around 20 degrees, so consider bringing a sleeping bag liner or extra fleece blanket to help keep you warm overnight. You will not need a sleeping pad as mattresses are provided at the hut.

Consider bringing an insulated mug or thermos for coffee/hot cocoa/cider, but you won’t need your “mess kit” as the hut will have dishes, silverware, pots and pans for our use.

Water will freeze quickly, so think about putting your Nalgene bottle in a sock or insulated cover. Water bladders (CamelBacks) will be useless if you don’t have an insulated sleeve for the tube and a cover for the bite valve. Bring an extra Nalgene you can use for a hot water bottle at night to help warm your sleeping bag up.

Please come with water bottles filled as there will be no access to water at the trailhead.

The trails are icy and the weather forecast is calling for 1-3″ of new snow on Friday. Everyone must have traction! Ether micro-spikes or snowshoes with cleats (or both).  The trail to the hut will probably be fine with just micro-spikes, but if you want to take a walk above the hut (there’s a couple of nice short hikes from the hut) you probably will need snowshoes. Make sure you have a way to secure your snowshoes to your pack if the trails prove adequate for hiking in boots only.

Besides being cold, it looks like a pretty nice weekend – should be a great time for a hike in the mountains!