Dusty and Denise's 48 - 4,000 Footer Finish: Zealand - Bonds Traverse

Date of Hike: 9/21/13

Zealand Trail: 2.5 miles  /  Twinway: 4.6 miles  /  Bondcliff Trail: 0.8 miles  /  West Bond Spur: 1.0 miles  /  Bondcliff Trail: 7.9 miles  /  Lincoln Woods Trail: 2.9 miles
Total Miles 19.7 (4,000 feet elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- On Saturday I was lucky enough to join in for a hike where there were two 48- 4,000 footer finishers, Denise and Bob and Geri's dog Dusty.  Denise just started hiking the 4,000 footers in late May while Dusty was a rescue dog that Bob & Geri took in less than two years ago and has been hiking ever since having summited over 200 peaks in NH including several repeat peaks of 4,000 footers.  But today the both of them would be finishing their first round on one of the best traverses in the White Mountains, the Zealand - Bonds traverse.
- Saturday was the last day of summer and the weather could not have been anymore perfect.  Temps were in the high 50's to low 60's and the wind was light and variable for almost the whole hike, the only time the winds kicked up was around Guyot and the summit of Bond but even then it was for only a minute or two and felt very refreshing.
- The hike started with a nice warm up along the well traveled Zealand Trail, we jogged sections of the trail and took in the nice views from the beaver ponds and meadows along the way.  What made the views even better was that foliage season has come early this year and it's peak is coming on really soon so we got to see the red, orange, and yellow colors on our way towards Zealand Notch.
- We reached the Zealand Falls Hut and took a break before heading up to the Zeacliff outlook on the Twinway which was the steepest part of our hike for the day. 
- Views from the outlook are spectacular, you are directly above Zealand Notch looking down and across to the scarred cliffs of Whitewall Mountain, above Whitewall Mountain is the Willey Range, and looming above the Willey Range is the Presidential Range with Mount Washington dominating the background.  There is also a great view over to Carrigain Notch, the Hancocks, and the Pemigewasset Wilderness to the right.
- From the outlook we continued up the Twinway to Zealand Mountain.  Zealand Mountain has no views but does have the coolest looking summit sign.  It is actually one of a very few of the 48 peaks that has a summit sign.
- Now it was time to head over to what is one of the greatest stretches of hiking in all of New England, popping in and out of the trees along Mount Guyot over to West Bond, Bond, and Bondcliff.  You have a front row view of the 'Owl in the Ring' as Owl's head sits below in the middle of the Pemi Wilderness with the Franconia Ridge, Garfield Ridge, Twin Range, and the Ridge of the Bonds circling it. 
- We had a blast hiking and stopping at each summit, both Bob & Geri, and Denise ran into a few hikers they knew from previous hikes and hiking forums.  Everyone we ran into was enjoying their hikes, we even ran into another 48 finisher on West Bond, too!
- Dusty had a blast leading the way for most of the hike and when we reached Bondcliff he relaxed on the rocks and got fed doggy treats for his finish as we all took in the views from the Cliffs of Bond.  It was a great way to finish for Dusty and Denise, Bondcliff leaves a lasting impression on all hikers.  Bob & Geri finished their first round on Bondcliff several years ago.  Bondcliff has been a great peak for me, too.  Four years ago I popped out above treeline on a two-day Pemi Loop early in the morning all alone and was taken back by the site of the cliffs.  On Saturday it was my twentieth time on the peak and the 19th time I had killer views from the summit, it's been my lucky weather views peak and I couldn't ask for a better one to have lucked out on weather from 95% of the time!
- Unfortunately, we had to leave and head down back to the car over the mostly boring nine miles of trail but ee trail ran for most of the length back to the car so it passed by quickly.  Along the way Denise smashed her knee on a rock, it looked really painful but she toughed it out and kept running, pretty impressive!  We made it back to the Lincoln Woods parking lot just over eight hours after we started and drove back up to Twin Mountain to have some celebratory beverages and food at Bob & Geri's mountain house.  It was a perfect ending to another great day in the White Mountains!

 Beaver Pond along the Zealand Trail
 Zealand Pond
 Carrigain Notch from the Zeacliff Outlook on the Twinway
 Whitewall Mountain
Mount Washington 
 Whitewall Mountain
 Pemigewasset Wilderness with Mount Carrigain and the Hancocks
 Mount Washington, Clay, and Jefferson
 Mount Eisenhower, Monroe, and Washington
 Dusty and Denis on Zealand Mountain
 Mount Guyot
Owl's Head and the Franconia Ridge 
Heading to the Twinway / Bondcliff trail junction
 Mount Lafayette, Truman, and Lincoln
 Bob telling Denise, "Welcome to Heaven"
 The slides of the Twin range
 Redrock Pond
 Franconia Brook Drainage, and the Garfield Ridge
 Dusty on Mount Bond!
 West Bond
 Owl's Head with Mount Liberty and Flume Mountain
 Cliffs of Bond
 Owl's Head and the Franconia Ridge
 Lincoln Slide
 Hancocks, notice the old skidder road lines running along the mountains!
 Mount Carrigain
 Denise on her 48th Peak!
 Pushups on the 48
 Bob, Geri, and Dusty
 Denise taking a pic of B&G&D
 Mount Bond
 Bob and Denise trail running
Denise and Dusty relaxing on the final peak 
 Hikers enjoying the view on Mount Carrigain
 West Bond Slide
 Bob and Dusty running after Denise
 Pemigewasset Wilderness Boundary
 Franconia Brook
 Denise shows off her bloody knee!
 Oseeo Tail Junction
 Denise finishing strong
 Lincoln Woods Suspension Bridge
Geri finishing another Zealand - Bonds Traverse!

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