Four of us spent 2 nights backpacking from Zealand Road to Sawyer River Road from Sunday 8/5/2018-Tuesday 8/7/2018.

Here was our general route (FYI - I'm not including every single trail in this): Zealand trailhead > spur to Zealand Falls Hut > Ethan Pond Trail > spur to Thoreau Falls > Ethan Pond Trail > Shoal Pond Trail > Desolation Trail > Carrigain Summit > Signal Ridge > Sawyer River Road road walk (this was a total of 20-ish miles)

All trails except the Shoal Pond Trail were in great shape. The Shoal Pond Trail had no significant blowdowns, although there were 20 or so step-overs or duck-under blowdowns. The Shoal Pond Trail did need a fair amount of trimming and about 1/2 of the 100+ bog bridges need to be replaced. A few of them could easily cause you to fall in if you aren't careful. One board almost hit two of us in the face.

This is a great route and you feel "way out there". There are some decent (although shallow) swimming holes along the way too. There are a few campsites near Shoal Pond that are pretty nice. We didn't see any good campsites between the pond and "The Pool" on the Shoal Pond Trail, so I'm glad we stopped at the pond to camp.

Sunrise from Mt. Carrigain was spectacular.

The Desolation Trail up Carrigain was very difficult with full packs on. Doable but not recommended. Our legs were toast for a few days after.

Email me at if you have any questions.