The Bonds, Guyot, Zealand, and Hale via... see post for trails - 2/7/13

NH Tramper

Apr 10, 2012
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North Conway, NH Avatar: Cannon Mtn.
Trails: In order... Lincoln Woods Tr, Bondcliff Tr, West Bond Spur, Twinway Tr, Zealand Spur, Lend-a-Hand Tr, Hale Brook Tr, and Zealand Rd.

Date of Hike: Feb. 7, 2013

Trail Conditions: Of course none of this will matter much after the up-and-coming storm, but... Lincoln Woods Tr was flat, packed, and fast. Bondcliff Tr started out after the bridge lumpy from the horse team used to pull out the other 2009 bridge pieces down the trail. (Apparently the horses didn't wear snow shoes.) Once the trail turned it improved greatly. Closer to the summit and ridge -- which were nearly bare rock -- the new snow on the trail-through-scrub/trees got deeper, much more so than expected. From Bond to well past Guyot on the Twinway there were a number of drifted-in sections (with solid hardpack underneath). Loose, light powder ranged from 2"-2'! There were a couple of blowdowns but they were easy-under, -over, -around. West Bond Spur was clear sailing, though snowier than expected. Same goes for the Twinway Tr, it was snowier than expected, and home to a few more blowdowns. These were also easy-under, -over, -around. Zealand Spur was fine. Lend-a-Hand Tr was less snowy and having been tracked today, was great, though there was one section that ended up being hard to follow thanks to branching paths. It was dark while we were on it but we calmly sorted it out and got back on track in a few minutes (if not covered by the snow, follow the light track to the right when headed north, but otherwise, after the up-coming storm the old wandering tracks will no longer confuse. There were also a couple of blowdowns on this trail, but these were also easy-under, -over, -around. Hale Brook Tr was packed out nicely but also had some downed material. If I recall, all but one were super easy (one was a tough-to-limbo-under). Zealand Rd. was snow, ice, and bare gravel patches, not real exciting. All crossings were well bridged, solid and supportive, and with dropped water levels, are easy to manage.

Special Equipment Used: We used spikes on and off all day, as needed. We could have used snowshoes as well in some places, much to our surprise, but the light powder we knocked out of the way will mix with the new stuff making it all moot now and in the spring. No damage done. Trekking poles helped with probing the trail.

Comments: Hiked this one with Bill Robichaud (brobichaud here on the VFTT). We had an amazing day. Cold but relatively calm and very sunny. A great day to traverse the Pemi and bag some winter peaks. Tiring hike to say the least, but rewarding. It was about 24.5 miles and 6800' of gain so we pushed. Dark to dark, ~16 hours (over book but the snow and a long stop at the hut for re-moralizing tea -- thanks to wicked cool AMC caretaker, Link -- burned some time).

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH
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