Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Bonds 3-18-14

Bondcliff,  Mt. Bond,  West Bond 3/18/2014

 23 miles,  19 hours,  04:30 - 23:30

Hike track posted on wikiloc @ http://en.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=6468693
This was my last official winter hike of the season. I bagged 3 more peaks before the Spring Equinox bringing my winter list to 25 of the 48 New Hampshire 4Ks (14 this year).   I had originally planned to make this an overnight hike and camp out at the Guyot lean-to just past West Bond.  But, I arrived at Bondcliff earlier than I expected so I figured I'd do Bond and West Bond and return to Bondcliff then camp out on the way back down. As it turned out, it took me so long to get to West Bond that I probbaly should have stayed the night at Gouyot like I had when I did the Bonds from the North in 2011 . However, I had dropped a lot of my gear on Bondcliff, including my tent and sleeping bag, so that wasn't an option.  After returning to Bondcliff and grabbing a bite to eat, melting some snow to resupply my water I starting back down just before the sun set over the Franconia range.  Since it was basically all down hill from there and not being sure of the forecast, I just kept going  and returned to the Lincoln Woods trailhead before midnight, making this my longest one  day hike yet.

Pictures with captions;

  Hike track with elevation Profile (downloaded to  http://en.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=6468693 )


 Entire track with waypoints.
Upper elevation section of track with peaks identified.

I started at Lincoln woods trailhead on the Kank at ~0430. I didn't start taking any pictures until 4 hours later.  This pic shows how well defined the trail is here.  I had already unloaded and stashed my pulk at this point. I used a new pulk I built for this hike after finding out on the Owls Head hike that the pulk I had made from my granson's sled was too wide for these deeper and narrow trails packed trails.  Pictures of my new pulk are near the end of this post.


Just starting get a few peeks of the peaks. Thats probably Mt. Bond

The only real scramble on the whole hike.  Only 20 or so feet but it was deep snow and a bit tough in snow shoes.  I should have taken my snow shoes off to ascend it.

  Just got to the top of the short scramble, turned around, and WOW what a view. I''m back on top of the world (or at least New Hampshire). The snowed peaks are Lincoln and Lafayette (I believe). The long wooded mountain in front of it is Owls Head (my previous hike)
   Mt Garfield (I believe) to the right of Lafayette.
Looking back toward Mt Loon (ski trails)

Looking back down the short scramble.
   Very near the top now. This picture looks like there is high wind here - but there was none at all - tips of the trees are just frozen in place from the prevailing winds.

  Top of Bond Cliff.  Mt Bond to the right and West Bond on the left - my next 2 stops.
  Bond Cliff.   No one around to take a picture standing on the overhanging boulder this time.

  What a perfect weather day to be up here and I have it all to myself. That's Mt Washington to the right of Mt Bond.

   This is where I had to break trail going up  Mt. Bond. It looks like the trail goes straight up here, but that lead to a mine field of spruce traps, I had to back track and found that the hardpacked trail under the new snow actually hangs a sharp right here.


Spruce flavored icycles made great snacks as I walked.

   This shows how important it is to stay on the packed trail. My pole on the right just inches off the trail still hasnt hit bottom yet.  There were long sections were the trail had been blown in and I'd have to probe with my poles to locate it.
    More blown in trail to break. This is why it took me so long to get up and over Mt Bond.
Summit pic on Mt. Bond. Mt Washington to the lower left. What a great weather day.  The goggles were only for the snow glare.  I'd end up hanging my jacket on a spruce branch on the way to W. Bond  and picking it up on my way back.

Geographic survey marker for Mt. Bond

Lincoln and Lafayette on left and West Bond on the right from Mt Bond
Looking back at Bondcliff from Mt Bond. 

   Bondcliff trail continues down the north west side of Bond.  A spur off on the left continues to West Bond.  A bit further along is a spur to Guyot camp site . The trail then continues North to either the Twin Mountains or Mt Zealand.
Bondcliff trail  coming off Mt Bond was also pretty much blown-in. However, from the W. Bond Spur junction it was pretty much broken in by fresh snowshoe tracks all the way to W. Bond probably from hikers coming from Zealand.
West Bond peak from the col between Bond and W Bond.

Almost there.

West Bond summit. Lookin NE toward Mt Washington.

 View toward the small col between Mt Bond and Bond Cliff. 
Bond Cliff from W. Bond.  I was there over 2 hours ago and it will take me another 2 hours to get back up and over Mt Bond and to Bondcliff.
W. Bond summit picture. Yes I'm as tired as I look and the hike is only half over.
Bond from W. Bond
Mt Washington from West Bond.  This is the first time I had been on W. Bond during daylight. When I did my overnight hike to the Bonds from Zealand (Nov-2012) I had gotton up early from Guyot campsite and did W. Bond in the dark.
Zoom in  of Mt .Washington from W. Bond
Back on Mt. Bond

Still heading back to Bondcliff from Bond.
Back on Bond Cliff. I took a long break to melt snow for water and a cup of soup.
Snow to 1 pint of water in 1 minute.
Sun just starting to set  behind Franconia Ridge. I'm packing up and heading down so I can get back on the well defined trail before dark.

Tried to get a flash picture of my pulk but my batteries were low so this was by headlamp.
the following pics of my pulk were taken the next day while unloading my gear.

The Pex piping over the rope is so that the pulk will not run into me when going down hill
Sled from Benny's; $10.95,  stainless steel eyebolts, washers, and nuts; $20.00. Pex tubing from Home Depot; $5.95, Bungie straps from JobLot; $2.50.  Rope $3.50, going 11 miles on a 23 mile hike without a 40 lb pack on my back - Priceless !

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Owls Head 3/8/14

Owls Head (Winter) 3/08/14:

 Owls Head is the longest single mountain hike.   The normal non-winter hike is ~18 miles. I did it in Aug-2012 in about 14 hrs.  There are 2 bushwhacks typically used in the winter to bring it down to ~16.5 miles.   There was no way I was going to attempt this in one shot so I planned it as a overnight bivouac.  A good part of the walk in on near level ground so I figured I'd pull my pulk (sled) again. I wanted to make it into the start of the 2d bushwhack (known as the Brutus Bushwhack) the first day with the pulk and set up camp just before it started getting steep. As it turned out the trail got rougher than I  expected and my sled was too wide for the narrow broken out trail so I set camp a few miles short of the start of the 2d whack.

 Arrived at Lincoln Woods Trail head at ~ 3pm Friday.

Start of the Black Pond trail off of the Lincoln Woods trail which leads to the 1st bushwhack (the Black Pond Bushwhack)
The two established bushwhacks I used for this hike can't really be thought of as normal bushwhacks because they have been broken out so well that they are like a snow blower path through the woods.

  I brought my pack and a "carry on"  bag and started with both on the pulk but once on  the Black Pond trail I found that my choice of sled was too wide for the 18" wide broken out trails with 6-12" high ledges on the side.  So after the first 2.9 miles on the very wide Lincoln Woods trail I had to carry my pack after all and struggle pulling the too wide pulk through the  narrow trails. At that point I realised I should only have brought what gear I could carry.

Black Pond. The  actual trail stops here but the black pond bushwhack starts here and cuts over to Lincoln Brook trail

 An igloo someone built on Black Pond
It was a relatively warm day. I started with just two layers of teckwick but was soon down to just one thin layer.

  At this point I was back on the all-season Lincoln Brook trail. Notice the snow on my pulk. Because of it's width it kept chopping away at the trail sides and I'd have to stop and scoop out the snow every 15 minutes or so.

At almost 7pm , (traveling by headlamp) the gullies across the trail were getting too rough and I decided to set up camp. I had hoped to get to the start of the 2d bushwhack at the base of the Mountain just before it got steep. I found a nice clear area in a gully just off the trail. It was actually over a frozen section Lincoln Brook.  There was 3-4 feet of  snow over the ice that I tramped down to make a level packed area to set my tiny tent up over a tarp I had brought (pictures later)

 Inside my tent heating up water for my cup of noodles. This was the first chance that I got to really use the "Jet Boil" that my wife got me for Christmas.  After  eating I hit the sack by 7:30. My 20 degree sleeping bag and added liner (suppose to lower the rating by 10 degrees) and several pair of thick socks  was sufficient for the temps. (I think a low of 17 was forecast but I think it stayed above 20 most of the night)

   After waking up at 2 am and giving up on trying to get back to sleep,  I went to heat some water for coffee and found that all my bottles of water had frozen. Jet Boil to the rescue! I scooped up some snow from outside the tent and quickly melted  enough to put my frozen bottles into the water to melt. I heated up enough water  for the 2d day, had some coffee and some energy bars (forgot to bring oatmeal for breakfast) and hit the trail by headlamp at ~4 am.

  Flash picture of my camp site.
  I reached the 2d Bushwhack at ~ 5:15 (still dark). This one goes almost straight up to the South Ridge of Owls head avoiding the infamous slide that starts ~ 1/2 a mile further up the trail. This bushwhack is known as the Brutus Bushwhack (BB) after the Black Newfoundland  that first developed it with his owner.
The late Brutus is kind of famous as one of he first Dogs to complete the winter 48 peaks in one season.  Actually dogs can no longer be recognised by the AMC for the winter 48 list. I think thats a good thing.

 A tough blow-down across the broken trail. Too low to crawl under and difficult to step over with snow shoes. And, I haven't mentioned it yet but if you step off the broken-out trail, its knee deep or higher.  So walking around isn't much of an option either.   I had changed to snow shoes for the ascent because even though here was no ice and the trail was hard packed, it was too steep and slippery for my micro spikes.

 after reaching the South ridge there are a few isolated peeks through the trees.  Owls head does not have much for views (except on the slide approach).

This is probably the best view from the ridge looking over to the Fanconia Ridge.   I think this is looking at Mt Lincoln with Lafayette to the right, (but it may be the Flume and Liberty).

 Not a great summit picture.  A speed hiker (John from CT.) took it for me.  He  overcame me just as I got up on the ridge and he had started that morning (an hour after I left my camp) from the Lincoln Woods trailhead.  He told me he was getting a hike in this morning so he could hike with his family in the afternoon. Owls Head for a morning warmup Hike ??!!

Back down to Lincoln Brook trail at the start of the bushwhack. I met two other groups of 2 hikers just starting up the BB .

   Back at my campsite. You can see the trail going off to the right.
  I had a quick bite, retrieved a bottle of heated water that I had stuffed in my sleeping bag (still warm), broke camp and started back down the trail by 1130

 Back at the Lincoln Woods trail

Once I was back on the super wide (and near level) Lincoln Woods trail I was able to load my pulk back up with both my pack and my bag, for a fast walk back to the trail head. I'm mising my last few photos, but I made it back to the trailhead at about 2:40 pm.  So I ended up hiking about 4 hrs the first day and ~ 10 hrs the second day for a total of ~ 14 hours which is about what it took me in August of 2012. However, I dont think i would have had the stamina to do the full hike in one day.

It was agreat hike, but i don't think i'll be doing Owls Head. its one of those peaks that I would only hike to check off a box on a list and i just did that.