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 Into the Bonds! 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Into the Bonds!
Day 1:

Jen and I arrived at Zealand Road bright and early Saturday morning at 7:20. I had hoped to get us on trail by 7:30, and we did just that. For this day I had but one main goal…..to get to Guyton campsite by noon as I was told this was my best chance at getting a platform. So off we went, full packs and all, with a full head of steam and rearing to go. And go we did. Despite having 40 lbs of gear strapped to my back we made Zealand hut an hour almost to the MINUTE from when we started. We did not linger even for a second….time was just that precious. We passed a few people lounging on the front porch, said our hello’s in passing, and continued on, up to the Twin way.

I had heard many things about this section of the Twinway, most preceded with a few colorful expletives. I would find, especially with a full pack, that it is indeed warranted this unfriendly description. We slowly, but steadily made our way up, huffing and puffing as we went. At one point we came across a couple of friends, also out with backpacking gear. We asked what they were up to, and found they were planning to head over to do the Garfield trail and head out to 93 on day 2. Hope they made it! They were older gentlemen and the tail one was moving at a slow pace. So we said “good day” and would only see the guy in front a couple more times before they disappeared from view.

About this same time we met up with a fellow who, we found out, would be staying at Guyot. He was hoping to get a platform as well since he was accompanied by his faithful, cute and veteran pup Sadie. Roy, as we learned his name later, was heading out to do Zealand and the Bonds…..his last 4 of the 48! We chatted for a while before we became fretfully too slow for Roy and Sadie, and they took off ahead. We moved along up to the ridge and once again met Roy and Sadie as they came off the Zeacliff trail. We had passed it, one because we only had Guyot in our minds…PERIOD…and two the thick fog was still clinging to the mountain thus eliminating any views. As we passed by, Sadie decided to take a dip in the thick mud the log bridges span. She plopped in and was having a grand time……and Roy was just laughing along. It was fun to watch man and his companion, enjoying their time as true trail friends. It was heartwarming and fun.

Once again, Roy picked up his pace and was soon out of sight. We continued on, trudging up the rolling bumps that lead you to Zealand’s summit. In about 3 hours, give or take a few minutes, from our start we reached the spur for Zealand. This was a feat that amazed me, and something I will probably never will (or want) to do again. We dropped packs, ran over to the summit, saw the cute little sign and headed back. When the “list” is done and over with, I will be the first to say “If you are not going to Guyot and/or the Bonds STOP at Zeacliff or Zeacliff pond and don’t bother going any further.” Sorry, but the sign just aint worth the haul, In my opinion. With packs back on we continued on to Guyot.

Now, I was in such a mindset to get to Guyot tentsite by 12:00 that I forsake any supplemental food intake. I was running only on my breakfast and Gatorade. For this I would pay….big time. By the time we dropped into the col between the two peaks I was starting to get the stomach gurgles, and my head was starting to swim. I foolishly ignored the signs my body gave me and pushed on regardless. We reached the alpine Zone of Guyot and were glad to see the fog had parted off the mountains and we were now entitled to pure, unadulterated views. Guyot is awesome, and everything I was told about its beauty is true. This gave us a thirst to see what the Bonds would offer us……but first the main goal.

Dropping down off Guyot we met a couple we had seen going up. They were heading out to West Bond on a daytrip to finish THEIR 48.….wow, 3 people, 4 hours, 3 48 finishes predicted! Of course, with nice lite daypacks they moved quicker than we could and sped off for their destination. Slowly, but surely, so did we. We climbed up the little bump just before the tent site spur, and by now I was in a full out head swim. The spur came as a pure blessing, and we slowly descended the 250 foot drop to check in with the caretaker. 5 hours, again almost to the MINUTE, we were picking out our platform. We were told we were the second group in. The first? Why……Roy and Sadie of course. We chatted with them for a few while Sadie panted and sniffed at me, and Roy began the process of setting up his tent. We decided we should claim our spot and do the same, and thus said goodbye again. We chose platform 6, just below the toilets (which is not as bad as it sounds…..there was no wafting smell and it gave us the second hishest singles platform thus eliminating at least a few more feet we would have to climb up. We set up tent (off to the side per the caretakers instructions just in case we had to share if it got busy), ate, and I took a quick nap to try and shake a bit of the bonk I was going into. After all was said and done we decided to see if we could catch SilentCal’s group who were doing the Bonds Blitz. We decided to skip West Bond for later, or possibly the next morning, and shot right out to Bond and on to Bondcliff. By now I was moving real slow, even minus a pack. The nap had helped only a little, and the food was just too little, too late. We topped Bond, #45, and lingered to take in the views for a couple of minutes. We pushed on still hoping we could catch the group lingering on Bondcliff. Slowly but surely we made our way along, meeting a number of people headed to Guyot for the night. I was worrying we would have to share the platform, but hey, at least we got one.

Bondcliff….#46.….we hoped beyond hope we would see SilentCal. But it was not to be. We had Bondcliff all to ourselves, not a soul in sight anymore. Id like to say I enjoyed my time here, but I cant. It all is blurry right now since I was in full out bonk now. I was even so confused to the “high point” that I made sure to step on or tap and rock, bump or boulder that might even be construed as the high point. The time was now 3:00. 5 hours to Guyot, 3 out to Bondcliff, and the sun starting to shed rays. It was obvious West Bond would have to be saved for the next day. We returned the way we came, I was battered and broken. I was pouring water into my body fast, but sweating it out just as quick. I think I actually combined the beginnings of heat stroke in with my bonk. My legs were cramping, my head pounding….I was feeling the burn. We stopped on Bond again so I could sit. Like Bondcliff, Id like to say I enjoyed my moments here, but again, I was so out of it its more like a blur right now. We returned to the campsite, maybe quarter to five. I cooked us our dinner and we ate greedily, savoring it all. We played some cards and tried to entertain ourselves. Gladly we would find out we did not have to share a platform tonight. So the “spare” space became our veranda. We filled our water bottles, and to help things out I chugged a full liter of water in 10 minutes. It worked, because I later felt much better…..but of course I then had to pee 3 times in the middle of the night!!!

Day 2:

I cant say I actually “slept”. Its more a relative thing of finding a spot to keep comfortable long enough to get a quick nap in before your body gets to numb or sore and you start the process over again. The sun was rising and people were starting to stir. We decided to get up for good about quarter to 7. We ate breakfast and started breaking camp. This took A LOT longer than I planned and ate into our “West Bond” time. I had made another goal for the day, and that was to get back into Concord before the race traffic broke out……darn NASCAR fans! We started off for West Bond around 8. We slogged back up to the ridgeline, and at the trail junction we would find Roy and Sadie. The two had gotten off real early and headed to West Bond which, they too, had skipped yesterday. I asked if he was coming or going, and he replied “Oh, we sealed the deal. It was a bit emotional up there, but we did it.” We cheered Roy and congratulated him. He deserved the great fanfare as he seems like a wonderful person. He noted with a semi sad tone that Sadie had 8 more left for her list of 48, but that she was so old she probably might not be able to make Owl’s Head. He feared it might just be too much for the old gal. After some wonderful parting words we bid goodbye to Roy and the great Sadie, who we would see no longer this day.

We made the short slog up to the West Bond spur, where we dropped our packs and moved along with only water in our hands. The trip went rather quick, considering, and just before the summit we passed a solo hiker who had also dropped pack. He told us we were close, so we moved along with eagerness. A short, steep pitch brought us into the open of one of the most breathtaking sights to behold. By now it was almost 9. The sun was still hanging low in the sky, and the morning mist was still crowding the valleys. I scanned all around, taking in the views from the Franconia and Garfield ridges. But what drew my eye the most was off to the Sandwich range, and the peaks fading to the north. What I beheld was awe inspiring. The mountains were just rolling away into the distance. The morning mist created a sight where the tops of the hills were green and lush, and faded into a whitish blue tinged base. The valleys and mountain bases were tinged with fiery reds and bright orange. I do not believe in God, but this surely HAS to be what they call heaven on earth. I was utterly mesmerized! The only signs of human incursion were the ski slopes of Loon and I believe I saw the Kanc down below in spots. The haze even obscured the towers on Washington, thus adding more to the solitude from humanities touch. We sat and gazed for over half an hour. I wanted so much to stay longer, but I had to face the facts. If we wanted to be the race traffic, we had to go now. We booked it back to our packs, suited up, and headed off again.

Call me stupid, call me stubborn and not so quick to learn. I got my goal in my head again, and I decided not to stop for anything. To be fair I was feeling great despite the bad day Saturday, the tough nights sleep, and the overall toughness of carrying a 40+lb pack. I figured “Hey, we only have to go over Guyot, then Zealand and its all downhill from there….right. Well, I was wrong as usual, but I’m stubborn and refused to admit defeat. I once again refused to stop for food, leaving only liquid sustenance to propel me. I went into a trance and just kept on moving. We stopped real quick to check out Zeacliff, now free of any low level clouds or fog. What a pretty sight. We took in the views for a couple of minutes, but once again got into the zone and busted off down the trail.

The last miles to the hut were like a blur of rock and mud. I was just willing my body to keep going, my ankles finally calling me on my gamble. They were sore and beat, and I had to will them not to give out on me. I almost cried for joy when we hit the hut. Did we stop for food…..no. Wise people would have, but once again I said “I am on a mission and besides its all flat from here.” Jetting along we passed people of all sorts. Backpackers heading out. Backpackers heading in. Families, old couples, kids and the occasional dayhiker headed up past the hut for the day. The final miles became a tourture test for me and Jen. We just kept pushing, hoping every bridge, water crossing or bend in the road would be our salvation from the pain. I nearly cried when I saw through the trees what I thought was a paved parking lot….only to realize it was a rock slab on the other side of the river…..the parking lot is neither across the river or paved!

My moment of salvation came when I saw the ubiquitous “you are now entering a forest protection area” which told me where were a few blessedly short hundred yards away from the lot. I was ready to collapse when I stumbled up to the car. I started it up, got the A/C going, chugged a Sobee power drink and dropped into the driver seat. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry right about now, I was just one sad, hurting boy.

On a good note we did manage to beat the road crews switching the traffic lanes for the race traffic by 20 minutes. It was at least a small glimmer of light in my current darkness. The A/C blasting, a doughnut from Saturday and the Sobee drink really perked me up. I have since filled my stomach so full with food that I am able to write this report with some kind of lucidity. It was a tough battle to get numbers 44 to 47. But we did. And now……now we get to celebrate victory next week on #48, Moosilauke.

Brian


Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:12 pm
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Hey Brian,

I'm worn down reading the report!

The Bonds (especially the cliffs) are simply awesome, it's really too bad that you weren't able to enjoy them. That darn list has you too goal focused. Stop and smell the roses...or eat them. :shock:

but at least I didn't see any rain in your report. :wink:

How'd Jen do with the trip? Had to be better than OH!

See you Sunday,
Bill

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Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:31 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Jen was pretty much as beat as I am. We really need to get her a better pack so she can carry more of her own gear (I had the Tent/fly/poles, her sleeping bag and pillow....all on top of my stuff!!!!) West Bond made up for all that lost enjoyment the day before. That peak is a gem, believe me! Please, lemme know if you want to day trip it again some day and I am soooooo there!

And the problem is that it was not the list that got me in trouble. Really it was day 1 trying to beat the crowd (that did not materialize :roll: ) to Guyot, and Day 2 trying to beat race traffic. If there had been no race this past weekend Im sure we would have taken it a bit easier. Oh well, we live we learn. Whats funny is we always get a chuckle off Tom and his many "Sandwich Breaks". But now Im starting to realize that he is the smart one!!!!

B.


Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:46 pm
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