Moose! Yup, I saw my second moose in the wild on this trip...
Let me start from the begining though. The original plan was for me to hike over and bag Hale for my 4K, while Pauline took the Zealand trail and we would meet Zealand hut. From there we would both hike to the Shoal Pond tent site.
But since we started really late we decided to just hike straight to the tent site via Zealand and Ethan Pond trails. A nice flat and easy 5.8 mile hike. We arrived at camp in about 3 hours. The site looked pretty much the same as last time, but the moose skull was missing, and someone decided that the only other flat spot in the area should be a fire pit. The old location was still clear so I have no idea why it was moved.
After setting up camp, we headed over to the pond to just hang out, and decided we would cook dinner at the side of the pond too. Dinner was Jamiacan Jerk, desert was creme brulee. Going to have to add more water to the Jerk recipe, as it is just a little too thick. It didn't hydrate properly this time. The other two times I ate it, I didn't have any trouble though. I learned the hard way that sitting cross legged at the side of the pond for a long time was rather painfull when getting back up!
Night was uneventful. We both slept fairly well. I used my sleeping bag as a quilt, and was toasty warm all night. I used my down jacket on my knees for a bit to keep them warm while in sleeping bag mode, but once I switched to quilt mode, it wasn't needed.
Next morning we had cream of rice pudding for breakfast. When we finished we heard some splashing in the pond. I decided to check it out, as I figured it was a moose. I was worried about it being right were I would go out to the pond, so I approached slowly. I made it to the pond, and peeked my head out. On the north end of the pond I saw a nice big moose. Female I guess since it didn't have antlers. She looked up almost right when I stuck my head out, then moved back into the woods with her butt sticking out. I got a good 30 second look at her before she moved though.
The plan for day 2 was for me to hike Zealand Mt. I took the Ethan Pond trail to the Zeacliff trail, and hike up to the ridge line. I thought it looked a little steep, but I wasn't expecting it to be straight down, then straight up! Took 65 mins to get to the ridge, which was the Twinway trail, and also the AT. Good time actually. From there it took 1 hr to get to the summit of Zealand Mt. It was just a sign and a pile of rocks in the trees. sigh.
From there I went back on the Twinway, heading for the Zealand Hut. I stopped at the Zeacliff Pond. I wasn't sure if it would be a good water source, and once I got there I was glad I had hauled an extra liter of water up to the ridge. The pond water didn't look appitizing, and would have required walking through some marshy ground to get to the waters edge. I headed back up to the Twinway and continued to the Zeacliff outlook. Man, that was an amazing view! You look down onto Ethan Pond trail, and can see the Mt Bond and the Bond Cliff trail. Sat there and soaked up the view, some water and food before continuing down the Twinway to the hut where Pauline was waiting for me.
We enjoyed a couple glasses of lemonaid, and a 45 minute rest. I wolfed down my dehydrated peaches and we headed back to the car.
View from Zeacliff. Ethan Pond (AT) to the left. Zeacliff is what you see from Ethan Pond trail. The ridge straight ahead is also what you see, and can't see Mt Bond and the Bondcliff trail that is to the right.