|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Zealand Mountain, Mt. Guyot, West Bond, Mt. Bond, Bondcliff, NH|
||Zealand Trail, Twinway, Zealand Spur, Bondcliff Trail, West Bond Spur, Lincoln Woods Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, March 2, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Tons of parking at Lincoln Woods and tons at Zealand north lot (off route 3) |
||Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||No worries about any of them. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|Lost and Found:
||What an epic day. The girls and I got started at 5:15 from Zealand Road. Barebooted the road and then put on snowshoes for the remainder of the day. Finally made it out at 10:25pm. |
Trails were broken all the way to Guyot (thanks to the two ladies ahead of us who made the trail from
Zealand to Guyot clear), but then the fun started. We met up with the ladies after Guyot and none of us were on the correct path. We joined forces for a while trying to find the right way over to the West Bond Spur path, and we pushed through densely packed trees and checked map and compass etc etc. The two ladies had a time issue and ended up needing to bail, but the girls and I kept going. We ended up at Guyot Campsite - from there, it was easy to hike up to the ridge and then find the West Bond spur path. It was another ‘whack of sorts up West Bond (thanks to Sage for leading the way). Just before the summit, a group that had come from Lincoln Woods met up with us. Our hike to Bond, Bondcliff, and out was much easier (thanks for breaking the trail, folks!) than coming from Guyot to West Bond. We warned the group NOT to follow our tracks, and I believe they broke trail the right way to Guyot.
One of the more difficult aspect of the day was branches in your face almost all the way from a mile north of Zealand to two miles south of Bondcliff (open summits of course excluded). It was constant - branches in the eyes, poking you in the arm and shoulder, ripping clothes, smacking you in the forehead, etc. We all have many cuts and bruises, and we had to hike hunched over more often than not. Very difficult to deal with. The snowpack is super high this year.
Ladies of Guyot, if you are reading this, our mistake was to shoot for that col. We should have been shooting for the ridge (the spur path starts from the ridge and then goes down into that col). Ending up at the campsite actually was not a bad thing, because from there it was a straightforward uphill until we hit the trail up Bond, and that corridor was clear and easy to see. It was an epic and difficult day though, so the decision to turn back was a good one. The girls and I were warm and felt pretty good, and we were prepared to spend the night out if needed, so we felt safe continuing. It’s a decision we all must make for ourselves, and the most important thing is to get home safely - so if a comfort zone is breached then that is never a good thing. I hope you had a more enjoyable rest of the day, and it was a pleasure meeting you and fighting through some trees with you. :)
All trails are now tracked out, but all except perhaps the trail to the hut and of course Lincoln Woods Trail are soft. Those without snowshoes (only a few) were sinking. On our way out, we met a couple of very nice fellows who were last on the trail and did not have snowshoes. They caught up with us at the bridge while we were taking a break, and they saw our snowshoes. They initiated a conversation about how much they wished they had brought snowshoes, and that they “sunk at least fifty times” on Bondcliff Trail. They both said they were going to buy snowshoes and wear them from now on, because they saw how much easier it was for everyone with snowshoes. So don’t get too upset if you hit Bondcliff Trail Sunday and it is all chewed up. Those two guys were really nice and I think that was their last winter hike without ‘shoes. They were new to winter 4K hiking and had never been up Bondcliff before.
I know someone else posted that he was fine without wearing snowshoes, and that’s cool...but everyone should at least have them with them. The two guys we spoke with said the hike was brutally difficult for them because they were sinking deep and often. One guy said his boots were full of snow and his socks were ice. So at least have them with you so you can have what you need to stay safe.
Snow is coming tonight anyway, so folks will have to break trail all over again - so for that reason alone, snowshoes in the coming days will be essential for your safety.
Congrats to Sage for finishing her winter 4Ks. She’s more than halfway through the Grid, but she hadn’t yet done the Bonds in winter. It was quite the epic day to finish. Well done, kiddo.
Alex hit Grid peak #400 on Bond, so congrats to her for the milestone.
Alex will have trip report at some point later this week.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.