|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Zealand Mountain, Mt. Guyot, West Bond, Mt. Bond, Bondcliff, NH|
||Zealand Road, Zealand Trail, Twinway, Zealand Spur, Bondcliff Trail, West Bond Spur, Lincoln Woods Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, April 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Lincoln Woods parking area is large, paved, with a ranger station (closed), and privy (open, clean, stocked). This is a fee parking area ($5 per car). Zealand Rd is still closed, gated. Authorized parking is in a large, semi-paved lot 0.2 miles south of Zealand Rd off US 302. Both lots snow free. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Drifts, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||One bridge closed on Lincoln Woods, requires shallow wading. The crossing on Twinway above the hut was negotiated with strong ice on the water’s edge and solid hiking style parkour skills (jumped across in snowshoes with a 35LBS pack grabbing the opposite bank by stabbing it with trekking poles on the landing). Remainder are bridged or have enough rocks to walk over. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The broom head for the Guyot shelter was broken in half. We were able to use the remaining half of bristle head to sweep out the shelter and sweep the snow off the porch. |
||All trails are suitable for trail proven canines. The Hillary Step on Bondcliff may necessitate lowering them down. Water points all open. |
||A few insects buzzing around at lower elevations. |
|Lost and Found:
||Our small group completed the traverse over the Bonds from Zealand to Lincoln Woods over two days. |
Zealand Rd roadwalk > Zealand Trail > Twinway (AT) > Bondcliff Trail > Guyot campsite > Bondcliff Trail > West Bond Spur > Bondcliff Trail > Lincoln Woods Trail.
Zealand Rd: closed at time of this writing. Evidence of preparations completed for impending opening (hopefully soon?). Mostly snow free.
Zealand Trail: well blazed in blue. Popular, gently graded trail nearly all the way to Zealand Hut. The hut remains closed. Zealand Falls looking awesome with snow melt off. Spring conditions on trail: large snow free sections in sun drenched areas that alternated with 1-2 inches of snow up to the hut. We bare booted as any other footwear would have been torn up. After the hut the snowshoes went on as snow levels rapidly increased and the recent snow storm dropped several more inches on the trench. No monorail noted. All signs up and in good shape.
Twinway: this is the AT and is well blazed in standard white blazes for its entirety. The “view spur” to Zeacliff is not blazed but was simple to follow regardless of the snow. The ledges of Zeacliff were snow free and warm in the sun. The bog bridges above Zeacliff were exposed; and that one, that freaking one board, will still smack you in the face when you step on the end of it. Ask me how I know this. Noted a pile of new boards with lashing off in the bushes. Gasp! Are the bog bridges going to be replaced this summer?! Yea!! No more board-meets-face-knocking-hikers-over-into-ice-water!
Guyot’s summit is bare, trail well marked with exposed carins and scree walls. This is normally a phenomenal view unless you’re up there in 50+ MPH winds with gusts far exceeding that number. Myself plus heavy overnight winter pack (est total weight at 190 LBS) got blown off my snowshoe clad feet. Literally. Never gotten so personal with the scree wall before... I may have scars from pack straps peppering my face. The exposed segment is not long but you are completely at the mercy of full winds. Would’ve loved to watch the end of the gorgeous sunset in progress but I was too busy crawling across the exposed areas to get to the safety of the trees. We just about had a “CNN moment.”
Bondcliff Trail: not blazed. Snow was deep (2 feet plus more in drifts) from the exposed summit of Guyot all the way until Mt. Bond summit. Snowshoes were imperative as the trail was completely unbroken after Wed/Thu’s snow. The drifts created by the winds were shin to knee deep. The trail was simple to follow even with snow. Shortly after Mt. Bond’s summit (about 2/3 of the way down on the descent off the summit) we removed the shoes as bare boots were the safest and most practical way to traverse the exposed rocks and trail. Snowshoes went back on after the Hillary Step (the step was ice and snow free at this time) until lower elevations where the snow simply vanished. Ah spring... Huge swaths of stable monorail present between 4200 and 2700 feet. This seems to be the level where the snow simply evaporated giving way to wet trail. Very nice, warm walk out on the old railroad bed.
West Bond Spur: not blazed. Signs up, getting harder to read. Able to follow the trail for the most part. BUT- I have been here several times, most of them with snow. The trail was not broken out, and the wind had blown over any evidence of foot traffic. There were a couple of times I had to seriously pause to contemplate the route as the trail is narrow through here. The summit ledge is well marked with a large carin.
Lincoln Woods: not blazed. All signs up an in good shape. Nice, wide, popular, flat trail that leads one to the glorious end of a 25 mile hike through the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
Guyot Campsite: the side trail is a steep 0.2 miles down. There is a sign indicating the turn. The trail is not blazed, but I have been here before and was somewhat familiar with the trail’s course. Good thing because we were getting to camp at dark. We also had to break trail here. You’re welcome. The spring for the shelter (super awesome shelter rebuilt in 2019) is open and flowing strong. No bear box (normally has one in summer). Privy available for the, uh, number 2. All tent platforms covered in snow. We camped in the shelter as it (and the mountain walls) protected us from the ferocious winds. In summer there is a caretaker and the fee is $15 per person. Additionally in summer there are over flow camping areas that also cost $15 per person. Even if they’re on the slopes of West Bond and you end up sliding down inside your tent all night. Ask me how I know this.
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.