View Full Version : Zealand & the Bonds 6-30-12

07-09-2012, 10:23 PM
Zealand Mtn & West Bond & Mt. Bond & Bondcliff

Zealand Trail --> Twinway --> Zealand Spur --> Twinway --> Bondcliff Trail --> West Bond Spur --> Bondcliff Trail --> Lincoln Woods Trail

Distance: 18.4 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,664 ft. (Overall) 3,753 ft. (Total)
Time: 3:39 (Zealand) 5:21 (West Bond) 6:00 (Bond) 6:44 (Bondcliff) 11:06 (Total)

The trail starts off pretty easy and gentle. The Zealand Trail to the base of the falls area very slowly gains elevation and only gets a bit rocky in places. It mostly follows the brook and all the bridges crossing the brook are very well built. The bridge at the beaver ponds requires walking along a lot to get onto it as the water level looks like it has been coming up on to the trail. This 2.5 miles went very quickly and was pretty easy. I only wish I hadn't been the first one down the trail this morning because of all the spider webs across the trail I kept walking through. From a ways before the beaver ponds until the junction with the Ethan Pond Trail, there was also a set of moose tracks that almost always stayed in the trail. The tracks were fresh and I was on the lookout, but I never saw anything.

Beaver pond bridge

The short trek up to the hut was easy with a quick stop at the falls and again at the hut. Since someone made a lap outside in a chicken suit at the hut, I can only guess they were doing the end of breakfast skit. After a quick stop and some pictures, I was back on my way again. The trail stays at a pretty good incline leaving the hut. There are a couple short breaks, but nothing major until you near the Zeacliff outlook. I was glad I stopped at this great viewpoint on my way up rather than waiting for the return trip (more on that later). This was also the first place I saw any hikers on the trail.

Zealand Falls

Zealand Falls hut

Zeacliff view

Leaving the cliff, the trail stays pretty easy with some small ups and downs as it works along the top of the ridge. There are a couple good views towards Zealand up ahead and some other directions through breaks in the trees. I decided to bypass the short side trip to the pond, figuring I could do that on the return. Just after this is the only short steep climb before Zealand. There is a short ladder and at the top there are some limited views. Just before the Zealand Spur, there was a friendly thru hiker headed north that I had a quick word with before wishing him luck on the rest of his journey. Soon I was at the short spur path and over to the small wooded opening of the summit.

Almost to the spur path

After a short break and a small snack, I was back on the trail. Heading down off Zealand is a bit rocky and steep and I was thinking that on the way back this section wouldn't be fun after so much mileage. The hike up out of the saddle between Zealand and Guyot wasn't as bad as I expected. It wasn't overly steep, but was quite rocky for a ways. There was plenty of steping from boulder to boulder. When I made it up onto the ridge, I was presented with a beautiful view. With 45 peaks done so far, I must say that this has got to be one of the best views yet.

View from Guyot

With it being warm out and now being in the wind, I planned on putting on a dry shirt here, only to find out that I left the extra shirt at home. I remembered once I was home though, it was actually in another compartment of my pack I only normally use in the winter. With the breeze, I dried out quickly anyways. I headed down to the junction and turned out to the Bonds. The rocks in the trail here made me remember the Presi Traverse I just completed a couple weeks ago. Before long I was at the trail for the campsite. It was hot and I was sweating, so I debated getting more water here. I decided I would do it on the return trip so I wouldn't have to carry it up the remaining peaks.

Quickly I was at the West Bond Spur. It goes downhill to start which always seems wrong when heading out to a peak. After reaching the low point the trail heads up steadily, but not too steep until the last few feet. I was really starting to slow on the uphills now from the heat. I was doing good drinking water, but needed some food. I sat on West Bond taking in another great view in all directions and started having something to eat. Unfortunately, this didn't work out well as all of a sudden my stomach wasn't feeling good. Before I could get to the trees, I got sick. Sorry to anyone here after me, but I didn't have time to make the trees completly. I didn't lose much food, but the fluid loss was what bothered me. This also zapped more energy out of me.

South Twin from West Bond

I headed back to the main trail and was slow going up to the summit of Mt. Bond. The trail isn't overly steep here or rocky, but I was going slow. About the time I thought I should be just about to the summit, the trail goes to the right of the small ridge on the summit before finally climbing the last couple feet. I took a good break here as were quite a few other hikers. I didn't think I could keep food down at the moment, so I just made sure to drink some fluids. It was about this point I started debating if it would be easier to go down over Bondcliff and out to Lincoln Woods rather than back up and over the peaks. I knew I could do the miles, but the elevation gain was worrying me. My truck wouldn't be at the trailhead, but maybe I could get a ride from a group doing the same hike with a car spot.

View from Mt. Bond

Bondcliff ahead

Crawford Notch and the Presidentials


07-09-2012, 10:23 PM
I headed down the trail to Bondcliff. The trail is a little steep but not too bad. It is pretty rocky though. Down out of the trees, I was happy the wind from coming from my right rather than my left. It was gusting pretty good at times knocking you off balance some. I'd rather be blown away from the steeper edge than to it. The short climb up Bondcliff was a little slow with the heat of the day. When I reached the summit, I certainly needed a break. I was feeling tired, but still didn't think I would be able to keep any food down. As I took a long break here, I listened to the other hikers to hear their plans. Unfortunately, it seemed they were all doing an out and back as I had planned, or doing a straight thru hike headed north. Now I had to decide if I would head back up and over the peaks, or down to another trailhead. I didn't like deviating from the plan I left my wife at home, but I decided the downhill and level trails were the right choice. Going back uphill I would be slow and it would be later than planned getting back to my truck. I tried to call from the summit to get a ride headed up, but of course couldn't get service. As I already knew (especially with my phone), you can't always rely on a cell phone when hiking.

The Bonds

Carrigain and the Hancocks

Pemi wilderness

I headed out south from Bondcliff on the way out to a trailhead. Quickly you come to a steep rocky area I had to go down backwards, but after that the trail is pretty easy. It isn't overly steep and is just a bit rocky in place. Once you hit the switchbacks, you start getting to some nice brook crossings. I filled up my empty water bottles in one of these (I love mountain streams) just in case I ran out of what I had brought. Going further down, the trail gets easier even with a fe more brook crossings. There is one right hand turn in the trail that could be a bit confusing as the brook overflowed (possibly during Irene) and made a path straight ahead. A quick look around reveals two small cairns to the right on the dry brook bed. Getting lower and lower on the trail, it levels out more and more before coming to the Lincoln Woods Trail/Wilderness Trail/flat section of Bondcliff Trail (depending on the map). The long 4+ mile walk back out the Lincoln Woods Trail was a little slow and boring, but not bad. Once I hit the Black Pond Trail intersection I could at least see points I recognized and know about how far I had left.

When I got to the Lincoln Woods Trailhead, I was ready for the few dry clothes I had with me and a nice long break. As I was putting those on, a group asked if they could sit with me and offered me a beer. I don't drink alcohol, but I said sure and declined the beer. I asked where they were headed and told them how I wasn't near my truck. They couldn't get me to my truck, but were able to bring me into Lincoln where I knew my cell phone had service so I could call my wife for a ride. After a quick drive into town I was dropped off and making calls. My wife was at a friend's further south than our house, so we had to ask other relatives if they could help me out. Finally I had a ride on the way, which would be here in about 2 hours. I got something more to drink at the store I was in front of and laid down on the lawn for a rest until I figured I could have something to eat. Eventually my ride showed up and we headed up to my truck. After getting back to it in the dark and quickly changing my clothes, we all headed home and made it back without any problems. Just later than planned. By the time I got to bed, I had been up 21 hours with hiking 18+ miles and I only got a few hours sleep the night before.

While this wasn't how I planned to finish my 4,000 footers, it was still a successful hike and I finished hiking the 48. It was my only hike where I had any major plan changes, and I still made it back without injury or any major problems. It was hotter than I thought it would be today and I was certainly feeling it as so were a couple others I saw. The views certainly made up for the heat and turned was could have been a real bummer into what ended up still being a pretty good hike. I will certainly go back and repeat this hike or something similar, but I might turn it into a two day hike next time to enjoy it more. In the end, I don't think it would have been too bad going back over the peaks once I figured out it wouldn't have been as much gain as I thought. I just would have had to take my time. I just would have gotten back later than planned. And for anyone elses reference, there is at least one taxi service in Lincoln that will bring back up to Zealand Rd, but the price is $65. The gas money for my ride was still less than that, I just had to wait a while.

For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE (http://sdways01.smugmug.com/48NH4Ks/Zealand-Bonds/)

07-10-2012, 08:18 AM
Congratulations on finishing the list! And the hike!! At least you have a good story to go along with your last peaks! Thank you so much for posting the report- we are doing the Bonds in August, and it's been hard to find a good descriptive report of the transverse. Sorry this wasn't your plan, but I'm very grateful you went through to Lincoln woods! I got a good sense of what we're headed into from your report! And I can't wait! Glad to hear there are some brooks on the exit side, as water is a big concern for us. We know we'll need plenty! Again, congrats and thanks for the report and the pics!! Excellent day for it!

Snow Miser
07-10-2012, 01:14 PM
Congratulations Adam! You must feel a great sense of accomplishment. Thanks for bringing us along. It's been nice following your quest for the 48. :)

07-10-2012, 01:55 PM
W00t!! and welcome to the club!


07-10-2012, 02:10 PM
Congratulations Adam! You must feel a great sense of accomplishment. Thanks for bringing us along. It's been nice following your quest for the 48. :)

It does feel good. Now I can start going back to peaks I liked or want to see in different times of year. I wanted to hit each one once before starting to repeat. I am going to tally up some stats about doing all the peaks and hopefully post them tonight or tomorrow. I am also going to start on VT and ME now too.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
08-15-2012, 02:46 PM
A great story and pictures on your completion of the 48's. Sorry to hear you were felling bad at one point. But you percevered and completed the hike. Congratulations. Your style of writing and photos really do give one a first hand account what to expect on the trail. Thanks for the ride. As you said, now it's time to relax and enjoy the many, many mountains NH has to offer.


08-20-2012, 02:40 PM
Did this hike finally last weekend, and your report was a great description to go on! I too felt queezy on W Bond, but didn't lose my cookies. It passed (thankfully), although we didn't have humid conditions so I'm not sure where it came from : ( Were they building the new bridge over the Beaver Bog when you were there? I didn't see it in the photo you posted of the zig zaggy bridge, but it looks very new. I'm kinda sad I didn't get a picture of both the old and new. But looks like the new one will be long and straight (I'll kinda miss the crooked one).

08-21-2012, 08:49 AM
Did this hike finally last weekend, and your report was a great description to go on! I too felt queezy on W Bond, but didn't lose my cookies. It passed (thankfully), although we didn't have humid conditions so I'm not sure where it came from : ( Were they building the new bridge over the Beaver Bog when you were there? I didn't see it in the photo you posted of the zig zaggy bridge, but it looks very new. I'm kinda sad I didn't get a picture of both the old and new. But looks like the new one will be long and straight (I'll kinda miss the crooked one).

They were not building the new bridge when I went through. I believe they started that project very recently. I liked how the old one zig zags and was also a bit uneven from side to side. It added some character. The only real problem I saw with it was the amount of water between dry ground and the start of the bridge. I'd like to go back an repeat this hike to do it while feeling better. Hopefully I will get to check out the new bridge then.