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Thread: Bondcliff trail campsite

  1. #1
    Junior Member unlikely hiker's Avatar
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    Bondcliff trail campsite

    Can anyone give me a general idea of where the campsite is on the Bondcliff trail. I'd like to set up my tent then continue on to Bondcliff and Mt. Bond. I can't remember seeing any campsites the last time I was on this trail.
    Do I need to worry about leaving things - like sleeping bag and stove- in my tent while I hike. I've always carried everything with me until I stop for the night but it would be nice to lighten the load. Has anyone ever had a problem.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    There are no official campsites on the Bondcliff trail. Since the trail is in the Wilderness Area you need to be 200' from the trail or water. There are places to camp down low if you just walk far enough off trail. If you're 200' from the trail no one will see your stuff so you're safe.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by unlikely hiker View Post
    Can anyone give me a general idea of where the campsite is on the Bondcliff trail. I'd like to set up my tent then continue on to Bondcliff and Mt. Bond.
    The more public these sites become, the more likely they are to be overrun with toilet paper and otherwise trashed. That's one reason, in addition to the normal selfishness, that nobody shares. I would make the general comments that the low portion of the trail has large flat open areas where getting 200 feet in is not a problem. A sleeping spot doesn't have to be the cliche hardened dirt pad; there are many comfortable places that are not campsites, as such. LNT techniques on our part will keep them whole. Up high the area has a few old logging roads which can be followed 200 feet in; unfortunately sometimes they "loop back" towards the trail and though you go in 200 feet plus you wind up closer than 200 feet to the trail at another point, and/or the road may approach water, sometimes out of sight and hearing.

    I sympathize with you; this is not an easy thing on those trails, like Bondcliff, which really do have that (in many other cases mythical) 200 foot restriction. I would say this: I have found myself near dark and off-schedule many times on a 200-foot-applicable trail. It's amazing where you can sleep very comfortably if you've got no choice. An oversized very water-resistant ground sheet comes in handy, I've slept on moss beds completely saturated with water. A non-flat spot can work great with your head high and your pack underneath your calves and feet. A lumpy-looking area can be perfect in providing a nice depression for your hips. Heavy vegetation can contour around you (on a closed cell pad I once slept in a bed of leafy krumholtz which sprang back up next morning as if untouched). With a closed cell pad beneath an inflatable like a neo-air you can sleep on stony beds that a deer would snort in disgust at.

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    There are a few bootleg sites maybe a quarter mile below treeline. I'm not sure if they're the full 200 feet off the trail, but it would be a gamble to go all the way up there on a weekend, banking on one being open.

    As noted above, it looks like there are plenty of possibilities in the flats down low.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    There are a few bootleg sites maybe a quarter mile below treeline.
    Hey, no more secrets!
    Even higher up than that there is a wonderful site to the left, going down, not too far down from the wall. It does not have the telltale path (so wonderfully marked for us by the artificial brushing in) but on one one trip years ago I could see the terrain opening up deep in and pushed through. I've looked for it a few times since but failed to find it, always rushed.

  6. #6
    Junior Member unlikely hiker's Avatar
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    Someone suggested I stop in at the ranger station - that they might be helpful. I guess I will be brave and find my own cool spot and I will not sully it with TP - promise.
    I will be starting out in the afternoon so that nice flat area will probably be as far as I get the first night anyway maybe second night at Guyot.
    Thanks for the info.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by unlikely hiker View Post
    Someone suggested I stop in at the ranger station - that they might be helpful.
    Alright. OK. You win. A sense of humor always gets to me. The world needs more of that.

    I sent you an email. Burn before reading.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dave Bear's Avatar
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    If you plan on going all the way to West Bond your out and back will be about 22 miles. The flats you go across before the Bondcliff trail narrows up is probably only about five miles in so you will have about 17 miles of hiking the next day. The most common "illegal" site is right on the left of the trail about a quarter mile above the brook crossing and the brook is right behind it so it is neither two hundred from the trail or the brook. Most people will not trash this site because it is right on the trail but best to find something that satisfies the rules. Right after the brook crossing off to the east are some flat areas out a way from the trail. Also if you were able to safely cross to the west of Black brook up above the illegal site you could find something out there. Higher up if you hit the valley where you cross back to the west side of the brook you may find something to the southwest. Once your to that point you would have to climb all the way to the last corner before treeline to have much luck and there you would have to drop down on the ridge that juts out. Your best bet will be lower or near the upper valley so you have a water source near but not too near. Have fun! And I have never had a problem with gear or camps I have left along the trail. Even found a chocolate bar on my pillow one time when I got back down! Trail angels amongst this crowd!
    The heart of the journey is in the path not the peak!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bear View Post
    If you plan on going all the way to West Bond your out and back will be about 22 miles. The flats you go across before the Bondcliff trail narrows up is probably only about five miles in so you will have about 17 miles of hiking the next day...
    Nice post.

    On this specific point though I think the references to "flat" are meant to extend further up. There are large flat or at least flatish areas up beyond the five mile point (i.e. the old Wilderness Trail intersection). I think they're still trying to revegetate the Camp 16 area, but even beyond that ... Also, I frequently smell campfire smoke through the long "Muddy Gully" section so I know people are camping along there. Higher still there is a section where the terrain is torn up by an old slide and I've found flat spots mixed in where soil has collected and flattened between rock patches, including some spots very near water trickles at some times of year. Which brings up an interesting point: what does away from water sources mean exactly? Obviously it includes the perennial streams. But perennial trickles? Major sporadic water runoffs? Feeder trickles and minor sporadic runoffs? Drips? Mud puddles? Wet leaves?

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    Haven't been that way in a long time, but I think if you head out that way you won't have any trouble finding a camping spot. Ten years ago I did what you're planning on doing and there were obvious, good tentsites above I think was the third brook crossing.

  11. #11
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    If we're going to get all lawerly about campsites, The Pemi Wilderness rules mandate 200 feet from all designated trails, and a fairly short list of bodies of water (like part of the East Branch). It does NOT mandate 200 feet from ALL water. The rulebook quotes the Leave No Trace guidelines suggesting 200 feet from water sources, but if the WMNF intended 200 from "all" water, they would have stated that explicitly. I'm not sure there's anyplace in the Pemi 200 feet from all water.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dave Bear's Avatar
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    Perhaps WMNF intended for common sense to prevail and that most would try to avoid being right on a brook, river or pond. Like many of us, I have camped on brooks before but try to make sure and have a minimal impact on that water source and the ecosystem it supports. Not that a trickle of runoff doesn't support an ecosystem, just that the larger water source can have a larger impact if contaminated. Last time I was up there in March I believe the Camp 16 area was still posted as no camping. The flats I was referring to are above there and mostly to the west of the brook quite a bit. Should be fine if all you really need is about six by eight of flat or shallow grade. I used to think I would like a hamock for those dilemmas but since most of the time my pooch is in the tent with me I have not considered it lately. Happy trails and enjoy some of the best the Whites have to offer!
    The heart of the journey is in the path not the peak!

  13. #13
    Senior Member swamp's Avatar
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    On the Bondcliff trail, soon after you climb a rock stairway, you'll make you're last water crossing ( probably dry right now) right before the switchbacks. Right after that crossing there are several flat areas to make camp. I can't say that they are 200 Imperial feet from the trail but I'm pretty sure that they are at least 200 metric feet away so you should be good.
    I agree with Ranxerox !!!!

    Swampyankee

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamp View Post
    On the Bondcliff trail, soon after you climb a rock stairway, you'll make you're last water crossing ( probably dry right now) right before the switchbacks. Right after that crossing there are several flat areas
    The last (highest) water crossing is almost always running. It was a few days ago. It's the NEXT to the last, not much lower down, that is frequently dry (you can sometimes hear water running under the rocks).

  15. #15
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    It was that way 8 days ago, 9/19, the last crossing had water, the one below it had none.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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