Monica is working on her 4000'ers and a Bonds traverse would give her 4 peaks in one big day hike. We've been working on longer hikes and this trip is close to 20 miles so it would be a great test of our stamina and fitness. The forecast looked OK, with some possible thunderstorms in the afternoon that we'd have to look out for. On the drive up Friday night we witnessed a car right in front of us veer off the left lane, hit the end of the guardrail, and explode in a fluffy of car parts before coming to halt on the shoulder. As we approached the car to render aid a second car pulled up with an EMT and a nurse so we backed out and continued on our way as the police arrived. Good way to start the weekend.
|Tracy, Randy, and Quinn at Zealand Hut|
Our plan was to get an early start so we could avoid the heat of the day for our climb. We parked at the Zealand trailhead and were on the trail by 6:20 AM. There was another group heading for the Bonds as well, and we quickly caught up with them and left them as we started to mix some easy jogging on the flat sections before the hut. When we arrived we ran into Randy and Tracy (with Quinn) who were also headed for the Bonds. Quinn was so happy to see us he followed us right into the hut, leading Randy where he wasn't headed. Sorry about that. :) We each drank two large glasses of water because water was going to be a concern all day and continued on.
|Monica on Zeacliff|
Up the Twinway towards Zeacliff in the cool of the morning. We didn't see anyone the whole way up, and had the views to ourselves. I'd forgotten how flat the terrain is above the cliffs and we had some great discussions and enjoyed the quiet as well. Fairly quickly we found ourselves at the spur trail to Zealand, and then at the summit, our first of 4 for the day. We took a break, had a snack, applied sunscreen, and got ready for the climb down and up to Guyot. There were a few other hikers coming through now, either from the shelter or Galehead hut and it was beginning to get warm.
The trip up to Bond went quicker then we expected and we had another time to rest and take a bunch more photos of Bondcliff, and then the final push of the day. The trip down to the col is the roughest rock of the trip, but the reward was lots and lots of blueberries along the way. Monica went into summit fever mode and I followed along eventually, my hands stained blue. After the full set of photos from Bondcliff we attempted to eat our very unappetizing lunch and failed. We weren't very hungry but knew we needed some food so we ate what we could and finally packed up for the trip out.
|The classic pose|
From Bondcliff it's 9 miles out, mostly easy downhill and flat but 9 miles is still 9 miles. There was no water at the first two stream crossings as expected, and we filled the extra bottle we had at the third crossing, but our purification tablets were the wrong ones that take 4 hours. Oh well. We ran the bottom of the Bondcliff trail, then started running out the Wilderness trail. After the crossing at Franconia Brook Monica decided to run the rest of the way, I alternated walking and running due to a blister on my left heel. About a mile remaining I ran out of water but grunted it out, arriving at the parking lot about 5 minutes behind Monica.
|Running out on the Wilderness trail|
After a wait for our car we hitched into Lincoln and grabbed a booth at the Common Man for beer, bad food, and good company. It was a big successful day, setting the tone for future big trips.