Zealand Loop in the NH White Mountains
To celebrate my 63rd I did a 2 day, 17 mile solo loop hike starting at the end of Zealand Road off Rt 302 about 3 miles South of Twin Mountain, NH. Zealand trail to the A-Z trail to the top of Mt Tom. I had the top of the mountain to myself as the full moon came up and the sky cleared, perfect for viewing the Perseid meteor showers between 1 and 2am. After dinner I climbed into my WBBB for a snooze to be awakened about 11pm by a black bear huffing and woofing in frustration at not being able to reach my food cache tied 20 ft up in a tree about 50 ft from my hammock. He huffed on and off for about 15 minutes, I held my breath for 30 minutes! I was armed with a flashlight and a whistle, I used neither. About 1 am I got out to watch the Perseid meteor showers for an hour or so, thankfully my black bear friend declined to join me.
After coffee the next morning I headed over the Mt Willey range trail to Mt Field, and then Mt Willey where I made the descent down Mt Willey. The Mt Willey decent is very steep with major scrambling involved, it's no fun, at least not for me.
At the bottom I picked up AT which, after a climb back to 2500 ft, is mostly level past Ethan Pond Shelter and Thoreau Falls to the Zealand Cliffs. Once on the Zealand cliffs trail it's about 5 miles passing AMC's Zealand Hut to the parking lot. Great trip and I bagged 3 4000 footers, too!
btw-get a WMFS multiday parking pass at the trading post a couple miles south of Rt 3 on Rt 302, I paid $5 instead of $9 at the self serve parking kiosk at the trailhead.