21 mile overnight hike to three Bonds:
Nov 11, 2012: #36 Mt Bond (4698') & #37 Bondcliffs (4265')
Nov 12, 2012: #38 West Bond (4520)
Day 1 trails: From Zealand trailhead, Zealand trail and Twinway trail to Zealand Falls Hut, Twinway to Zeacliff & Mt Guyot (4580’ but not one of the NH 48-4k’s),Bondcliff trail to AMC Guyot campsite & Mt Bond (4698’ - #36) and Bondcliff (4265’ - #37), Bondcliff trail back to Mt Bond & Guyot Campsite.
11.9 miles (AMC , 4801’ elevation gain, 2637’ elevation loss, 12 hours (0530-1730)
AMC book time: 08:19, My approximate moving time 11:00, Ratio to book time: 1.33 (typical for me)
Day2 trails: From Guyot campsite, Bondcliff trail to West Bond spur, W. Bond spur to West Bond (4540’ - #38 ) and back. Bondcliff trail toTwinway trail, Twinway trail to Mt Guyot to Zeacliff & Zealand Hut (I did not do the .1 mile Zealand Mt spur and retag the viewless Zealand Mtn peak) to Zealand trail, Zealand trail back to Zealand trail head.9.08 miles (AMC), 1448’ elevation gain, 3612’ elevation loss 10 hours (0230-1230)
AMC book time 5:14, My approximate moving time 8:45, Ratio to book time: 1.6 (slow even for me ,but after checking the trace-back on my GPS I saw that I traveled much slower the several hours before sunrise)
Day 1:The trails were a mixture of snow, slush and bare rocks. Early in the day there was a light mist and melted snow dripping from the trees. I only had on a light non-waterproof windbreaker and got fairly drenched before digging out a foul weather jacket to wear. By the time I got to Guyot Mt it was sunny and it remained clear for the rest of the hike. The top of Guyot Mt is in the Alpine zone and is wide open with fantastic views. I wish Kris and I had continued to it on our Mt Zealand hike.
I arrived at the campsite at 1300 and claimed a sleeping spot in the empty shelter and dropped off my sleeping bag, pack, and most of my 30+ lbs of gear I was humping, just taking my light bug-out-bag for the hike on to Bond and Bondcliff. Both Bond and Bondcliff are alos wide open with great 360 degree views of nothing but mountains with no signs of civilization. My camera, which had been dropped too many times died shortly after Zeacliff. I really wanted to get the classic picture standing on the edge of Bondcliff as I had seen on many other blogs. I’m not sure I could have got the picture even with the camera working because no one was around and I would need at least a 1 minute delay. I usually use the built in 10 second delay. After taking a short sandwich break sitting on the edge of the hanging boulder I went further up and along the ridge until it started descending down the other side. As I walked back along the ridge another hiker showed up; Fred from Wayland Mass. He graciously offered to take my picture on the cliffs with his camera and email them to me. (Included below). after taking turn s posing on the hanging boulder, I headed back toward Mt Bond while Fred hung out at the cliffs for a while. Of course he soon caught up and passed me before I got back to Mt Bond. I hung out at Mt Bond for a while enjoying the views and watching the sunset. I really wish my camera was working to catch the great red sky sunset. “Red sky at night – Sailors delight” - YES!! By the time I got off Mt Bond and back to the campsite there were 5 other hikers in the shelter. Fred whom was already settled into his sleeping bag , and three guys that had hiked over the Twin Mountains. I didn’t find out until late the next day that there was also a couple tenting on one of the tent platforms not in view of the shelter. By this time I was exhausted and quickly heated up a cup of soup and crawled into my bag.
Description of the Guyot log shelter can be found at: http://hikethewhites.com/guyot_shelter.htmlIt says that it is a 12 person shelter. That would be 6 people on each of the two levels. That seems awfully tight. I would think 4 + 4 would be comfortable. And 5 + 5 to be maximum. Now I see why most people prefer the tent platforms in the summer.
The night wasn’t too cold (high 30’s maybe) and my 20 degree sleeping bag was fine without having to put on a heavier set of thermals. It helped that one of the Twin Mt. hikers had brought a tarp to block off the entrance. I woke up at 01:30 to make a head call and I saw that it was a perfectly clear night with excellent view of the stars with no wind. I had planned on getting up about 4:00 and getting to West Bond in time to catch the sunrise from there, but, since I was up anyway, I decided to get an even earlier start. Packing up, as quietly as I could I left the campsite at 02:30 AM. Following the trail with a headlamp was easy with the thin coat of snow on the trails and the contrasting dark rocks poking through. I stashed my ridiculously heavy pack at the spur head to the camp access trail and proceeded slowly to West Bond. The very peak of West Bond is open and by the star light I could see the surrounding mountains in silhouette. The view of the stars from there was fantastic and I just laid on my back on the highest boulder enjoying the view for a while. I could also see lights far to the North which I think may have been from the Mt Washington Hotel. I shot an azimuth to check on my map later but haven’t done it yet. I continued back to pick up my pack (ugh!) and continue on to Mt Guyot, planning to stop and have breakfast there while the sun came up. The sun was just starting to come up when I was on the peak of Guyot (not really a well defined peak) but the wind had picked up and I wouldn’t have been able to use my stove. I went on down the trail further until I was out of the Alpine area and protected from the wind by small spruce trees but still with a partial view of the sunrise through the trees. I had filled my canteen at the campsite the night before and while watching the sunrise I boiled water for my breakfast (oatmeal) and to fill water bottles. I did want to make coffee to but didn’t have as much water in the canteen as I thought. The trail on the hike back to Zealand Falls Hut was more slush and dry trail and less snow than the day before but there were still sections of ice so I ended up putting on and taking off my micro-spikes several times. Somewhere between the Mt Zealand spur head and Zeacliff, Fred caught up to me. Of course he had got up at sunrise much later than me and ate breakfast himself before starting. Yes, I am 1slowhiker. He returned a flashlight that I had dropped along the trail during one of my micro-spike changes. We hiked more or less together until Zeacliff (I can move along pretty good on level ground) but as soon as the trail started descending he quickly pulled away. The hike back to Zealand Falls hut was uneventful except that I was out of drinkable water and was glad when I got to the water pump just north of the hut where there is a deep well with a hand pump that has excellent water. They had already shut off the running water to the hut for the winter (supplied by the same well). I stopped at the hut to sign the log and pick up a Zealand Falls souvenir pin for my grandson who had lost his from our stay there this summer (see July post) . Down the final section of trail out I met a nice couple (close to my age) both carrying huge packs. It turns out they had done the Bonds Sunday and spent the last two nights at the Guyot campsite on a tent platform. That’s a pretty good way to do it; hike in on the first day, hike the Bonds the second and hike out the third. I may try to do that with my grandson this summer he would love the views from the Bonds. Only, I hear it’s hard to even get a tent platform in the summer unless you arrive early.
In Summary this was a great hike. No section was particularly hard, just the fact that I was carry a 30+ lb pack made it a little tough on the shoulders and knees, but not as bad as I would have thought. I read on someone’s site that the Bonds are the “Crown Jewels” of the Whites. After being there I have to totally agree. This definitely goes on the repeat list after I finish the 48. Only 10 to go now.
Pictures: As I said my camera died on me the first morning and I haven't been able to retreive the few pictures I did take. I do have a few pictures taken on Bondcliff by another hiker who later emailed them to me . Thanks again ! Fred.
The classic photo op at Bondcliff
Best seat in the house!
Since I don't have many pictures for this hike I decided to include the trail map downloads from the AMC guide on line and the traceback from my GPS. These are just screen prints so they don't have high resolution.
GPS dump (I don't have the topo maps loaded on the GPS)
Z05: Zealand Falls Hut, Z06: Zealand Cliff, Z13: Guyot campsite, Z16: Mt Bond, Z17: Bondcliff, Z15: West Bond.
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