Cloud Show . . . Hale - Zealand - Bonds Traverse

 Date of Hike: 1/9/21

Zealand Road: 2.6 miles / Hale Brook Trail: 2.2 miles / Lend-A-Hand Trail: 2.6 miles / Twinway: 4.2 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 0.6 miles / West Bond Spur: 1.0 miles / Bondcliff Trail: 8.2 miles / Lincoln woods Trail: 2.9 miles
Total Miles: 24.1 / 5,909' elevation gained

Trip Report:
- Saturday morning Sarge got the day off because it was going to be a big mile day traversing through the Pemigewasset Wilderness with the trail running group (Kristina, Nate, Rem, Rich, Todd, & Vic).  The weather leading up to the hike called for clear skies and decent wind speeds with temps in the twenties, however in the morning the weather changed to mostly cloudy.  Even with the cloudy forecast we held out hope for some undercast or breaking clouds by the time we reached the Bonds in the afternoon, and lucky for us we caught a break and got a pretty sweet cloud show.
- Conditions once again were pretty tame for a Hale-Zealand-Bonds traverse, a 1000X easier than my last HZB traverse in early December of 2018 through feet of snow and bent over trees (click here for report). 
- Zealand Road and Hale Brook Trail were well packed, Lend-a-Hand Trail was packed but a little soft, Twinway to Zealand was well packed, Twinway and Bondcliff to Guyot and the West Bond Spur were packed but soft, and the rest were well packed. This made for an easy day to maintain a solid hiking pace and to be able to finish before it got dark.
- Thick clouds and no views was the theme until Guyot, which made the first ten miles quite the grind, but soon after we started to see blue skies above us, and by the time we reached West Bond the clouds slowly started breaking away and the views kept expanding as we hooked around to Bond and down Bondcliff Ridge. 
-  Overall, trails were very quiet for a Saturday, as we only saw a handful of hikers, including Ryan and his friend, Will, attempting a Winter Hut to Hut Traverse.
- It was the first twenty mile day I had since November and I felt good for most of the day, only feeling wonky in my head a few times, which has been a recurring theme since the pandemic started, but luckily I have been able to get a better hold of this over the last few months, however feeling comfortable while doing consistent big mile days are still a long ways away, but I'm hopeful that over time I can get back to where I was last year when I was working on my snow season triathlon 48. 

Breaking above the trees on the Twinway

The Gang heads towards Guyot

Follow the leader

On West Bond looking towards South Twin



Mount Washington playing peek-a-boo

Heading to Bondcliff

Sun makes its first appearance!

Bondcliff clears off for good

Layers of clouds made for a pretty cool scene

Approaching the summit of Bondcliff

The slides of West Bond

Hellgate Ravine

West Bond and Bond

Guitar Slide and the Monster Slides of Hellgate Ravine

The iconic Cliffs of Bond

Views starting to open up to the north

One last look at the clouds before heading home

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