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 FOT48: Bondcliff 
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 FOT48: Bondcliff
Sarah, Lendawg and I woke from our chilled slumber in Crawford Notch on Saturday Morning, ready to go. Lenny and I left at 6:30 AM to spot his car out at Lincoln woods for our departure on Sunday. We then traveled back into the notch to get Sarah and take down and pack up the tents. After camp was down and bags were in the car, we headed for Monroe’s for a Grande morning breakfast. However, Monroe’s was packed and we just did not have the time. So we headed for the Twin Mountain Log Cabin Country store where we had breakfast sandwiches made up for us as well as lunch sandwiches and to grab some extra goodies.

While the food was being prepped, I was out in the parking lot packing all the bags and making sure everything was secure so we could eat and immediately hit the trail. I wanted to be on trail at 9 AM as we had a rather long traverse planned but we never started out until 9:45 after seeing that hikers could not cross the bridge at Zealand Rd. and having parked down the road. I had no clue an AMC shuttle was running or that there was another path crossing the river across from the parking area. My life has been such a fog as of late, investigating these details was never on my mind. But.. we took our boots off and waded through the abnormally chilly waters of the Ammonoosuc river at Zealand Road as construction crews made a mess and quite a noise.

After getting to the other side we dried our feet and put the boots back on.. we were now almost an hour and a half behind schedule and I questioned whether or not we could get Hale in.. that is until we saw the AMC van at Sugarloaf loading in hikers and tourists alike for a free ride to trail heads. Man.. could I ever use this treatment in winter! After explaining to all the folks squeezed into the van, why we had a flag pole, we were off loaded and dropped at the Hale Brook trail. I was determined to bring our American Flag to this peak as it was our unique challenge to see if we could have the flag that visited the most peaks over the 9/11 weekend. So for the 3rd time today, we threw our packs on and began our slow decent with heavy packs up Hale Brook Trail.

Discussion quickly commenced and there was a wide arrange of topics as one would expect when 3 family members hike along a trail. This however was lendawgs 1st overnight and he was rather nervous about the details. He is notorious for being prepared and sometimes over prepared… never a bad thing. We reached the summit of Hale sometime after 12:30. This was a peak bag for Lenny as he stood on the cairn at the summit. I took out the compass and showed him how the needles goes crazy. We then shared fudge and I looked for the Fire wardens trail which was easier to find then I imagined.

After a short break, we packed up once more and headed down Lend a Hand Trail. About halfway down we ran into 6 or 7 spruce grouse who were well in charge of that section of trail and refused to move. They also moved rather slow. Lenny noticed his pack was lighter and when asked if all was well, I had to inform him that his sleeping bag was missing. So we unloaded and began running back UP lend a hand to find his pack.. which was only 10 feet up trail hanging on a tree branch that had stole it from him. We set his pack back up and continued down to the Twinway.

At Twinway we ran into members of the family we sat in the AMC shuttle with. They were trying to find their way to Zeacliff and were ready to look for it up on lend a hand trail. Thankfully I was able to head them off and send them in the right direction. We also met two southbound thru hikers who were wondering if they were still on the AT as there had not been a white blaze in some time. I assured them they were and we were all on our way towards Zeacliff. As we reached the cliff we met the rest of the family we rode with earlier and they asked if we knew where they were. I kindly informed them of their location and then gave them the visual tour of the whites, which included 4k’s and even smaller peaks in the distances. We had a wonderful chat with them and enjoyed educating them of our region as they were from CT.

After saying our goodbyes, it was time to walk the Twinway to Zealand and Guyot. Those who have hiked it know how long and monotonous Twinway can get, especially with heavy packs. But Sarah was great in reminding me of portions of the trail she remembered. Portions I did not because last time I was there it was all snow covered yet. So before long we reached the Zealand spur trail and we all took the flag over to the summit BUT forgot the Camera. DAMN! Oh well… our flag had now hit 2 4K’s and we were all smiles and very proud to be bringing it along.

We packed up once more and headed for the Alpine Zone. The whole way we told lenny the views he was about to encounter and that if the Whites were a church… Bondcliff curtails was the cathedral. He was excited, as was I. The Guyot-Bond ridgeline is a place that humbles my spirit time and again. Thinking of this place makes my stomach travel to my throat as I fight back tears.

After traversing Guyot we hurried down to the col as it was getting rather late. 5:30 and we were STILL hiking to the shelter. Thank god I had met Cody the caretaker weeks before and forewarned him of our destination for this night. The tent platforms were full as were the overflow sites, but I had requested Cody save the Flags crews, spaces in the shelter and Cody obliged. As we dropped down, Artex was heading up to see the sunset at West Bond. We unpacked our stuff, set up our beds and threw on warmer clothes as the nights chill was all ready beginning to grip the summits. Then we headed out with the flag and camera for West Bond to see Sunset.

I ran to West bond so I wouldn’t miss the sunset and Lendawg and Sarah were working their way over slowly. Sarah’s knees were sore from the days hike. We unfolded the flag and waited for the right moments to snap the pictures. As the sun fell below Lafeyette, the camera’s flashed and the night wind unfurled the flag. Man are we lucky to live each day the way we do and I am damn proud to be an American. Our flag had now hit 3 peaks and it was time to go eat dinner. So we head lamped it up and dropped back down to Guyot for the night.

Back at Guyot, dirt_girl and hoot showed up from their long walk in. They were cooking all ready and we were not far behind. After we all ate and shared in laughter, dirt_girl brought out desert and a package left by SilentCal out on the Bonds. She became very emotional as she read the brave words of SilentCal speaking of why we had all gathered this great weekend in the land of the free. And the words were very moving. Then a present. SilentCal had left us all patches to wear proudly and they certainly will be worn proudly. (side note: SilentCal also typed up a PS which included some words to me. Words that I cannot type here but I will attest to the fact that I was never so moved by another mans words. His honesty is pure and his words heartfelt and I could NEVER thank him enough.) Soon after, we all went to sleep after much childish giggling and flatulence.

In the AM we all woke up in the VERY chilly air and began our morning routines. We ate breakfast and wished all good luck before heading out. We went with Artex to Bond where he was to set up his Flagpole. I got our flag out and assembled our pole there, as I wanted to march the flag across the Bondcliff ridge. Our flag was on its 4th summit of the weekend and it was the PERFECT day. Jamie hung his flag for the film crew so they could move on back to Guyot to prepare for their walk out.

After saying bye to Artex, we headed for Bondcliff… our peak for the big day and we marched the ridge with our flag on its pole held high. When we reached Bondcliff, I assembled a cairn on the famous out cropping and placed the flagpole inside it. Then I hung Sherpa flags out from below the flag in honor of hurricane victims. Fat Guy had beat us there and was all smiles. Lenny and Sarah went to the true summit for Lenny’s peak bag and I spoke with a Ranger (to remain nameless) who is the one who performed unthinkable deeds on Owls Head.

We then all sat down and remembered those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in act there after. We could see the flag raised on Bond and West Bond and Garfield in plain sight. We gave out some loud HOOTS! And Heard Artex on Bond hoot back followed by the gane on west bond. We had fun yelling to each other and it was neat how were at the low point of the bond fish bowl. Around 1pm I ran up to Bond to see Artex who had Binoculars to see how many other flags we could see. We spotted, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, S. Twin, Hale, Zealand, West Bond (Taken down early) and Carrigain. I then looked over at my flag. I was so VERY proud to be a part of this event. We even saw the A-10 fly below and above us all! How Neat!

I then said bye to Jamie and ran back to the cliff to take our flag down and prepare to head for home. At 2:30 we left BC and headed back down the trail towards Lincoln Woods. Not long after, Artex caught up and we all hiked out together. What a wonderful time we had talking about the football we were all missing, but for a great cause.

Thanks again to those who run this event. Thanks to whoever put the flag up on the old Mans head. Thanks to all those who Sarah and I saw at Mooseland afterwards and thanks for your kind words of support! And thank you to all those who also carried flags to their peaks and thanks to those who continue to fight for freedom.

Pictures: Click on Start Slideshow when you get to each page for better viewing

9/10: http://homepage.mac.com/gr8stnface/PhotoAlbum42.html
9/11: http://homepage.mac.com/gr8stnface/PhotoAlbum43.html

PS... Anyone else happen to get their flags to multiple peaks this weekend? We had 5.

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Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:26 pm
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Great report and pics Sherpa!
Brian


Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:07 pm
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In a word . . .
sweet!!!


Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:37 pm
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