|Trip 16 Zealand Mountain 4260, West Bond 4540, Mount Bond 4698
and Bondcliff 4265 6/24/00
19.8 Miles 4100 Elevation gain
Kevin and Dan,
Joan, Steve, Jenny and Joey
Knowing from the start this was a big challenge to do in one day, Judy and Jeannie decided to skip getting up at 4:30 and driving to Lincoln Woods. Not knowing if I was going to survive myself, I thought it best to leave Emma at home, too. At Lincoln Woods we all got in one car and drove through Franconia Notch up to Twin Mountain and onto the Zealand Road. The first 2.8 miles fly by as there is little elevation gain and we want to make time. Soon we see Zealand Pond and the Falls near the AMC Zealand Falls Hut. From the hut there is a nice view of Zealand Notch. Climbing steadily we soon pass the side trail to Zeacliff Pond, no time to sightsee today. Soon we are at the spur path to the truly viewless summit of Zealand Mountain. Hurrying down from there we were soon on the bald summit of Mount Guyot which may possibly be the best view in the White Mountains. Facing south Mount Bond looms ahead with its sister West Bond to its right. Beyond that is Owls Head and rising above that the entire Franconia Ridge can be seen. Over my right shoulder I can see Garfield and Galehead. Behind me are the Twins and Zealand. Over my left shoulder are the more distant Presidentials. To my left is Tom, Field and Willey, and below them to the southeast are Carrigain and the Hancocks. In all that vast expanse the only sign of humanity is the towers on the summit of Mount Washington and the lesser lookout tower on Mount Carrigain. You can truly experience the Pemigewasset Wilderness from this vantage point. I drink it in as much as I can and keep moving, theres still three more mountains to climb. We climb down now, past the Guyot Campsite into the col between Mount Guyot and Mount Bond where we get on the one mile round trip spur trail to West Bond. We quickly tag the summit and head back to the trail to face Mount Bond. Climbing up and over this starts to wear me down, but reaching the summit and seeing Bondcliff below helps me to rally. The trail which is now clearly visible across the summit of Bondcliff looks flat compared to what we have been doing so far. Of course it isnt, and you climb into a col between the two summits. Although its not a deep col, the climb up out of it to Bondcliff is beginning to show how tired I am, and were only half way through! I still have to walk out! The views from the cliffs are astounding, but of course we dont stay long as there is still nine and a half miles or so to go. Dan had a few moments of serious vertigo on the trail crossing the cliffs, this of course sent Joey and Jenny into absolute hysterics. I had to concentrate on getting myself out of there, as I was starting to get worn out. After what seemed like hours and countless miles on the trail coming down, I stopped and looked at my map, deducing I must have by now gotten on the Wilderness Trail and be on my way out. Continuing on, imagine how, an hour and a half later, I felt when I came to a sign which informed me I was now at the Wilderness Trail, and it was a mere five point five miles to Lincoln Woods. The rest is a blur, I vaguely remember falling to my knees and kissing the suspension bridge at the parking lot, and crawling back to my car. I took off my boots and went down to the river, picked out a rock where I could watch the bridge for the other travellers, and stuck my feet in the natural ice bath called the Pemigewasset River. The others didnt see me, but I soon found them to let them know I made it out. Congratulations went all around. I dont even remember how I got home. I must have driven, dont think I could have walked.