Our small, but fierce crew of three met first at 3 AM in Richmond then shortly after for another pickup in Waterbury before heading to Lincoln Woods in Lincoln, NH to begin our out and back to Bondcliff, Mt Bond and West Bond.
After our arrival around 5 AM at the trailhead we geared up and were off in the dark for a nice, cool start to the hike. The beginning of this hike was a very gradual five miles or so along an old railroad path. The old ties remain, but the rails are long gone. Despite the darkness, we moved fast through this section, eventually beginning the uphill portion of our trek.
We made our way across multiple bridges, streams and drainage beds as we worked up toward Bondcliff (4265 ft). Arriving at a wall of stone with footsteps cut into it, we stepped up and were soon above the treeline.
Unfortunately the morning had plenty of Canadian wildfire smoke present which obscured the views a bit. Many of the Whites were in the haze, but we knew we might have better views as the day progressed. We took the obligatory Bondcliff photos on the precipice and made our way toward Mt. Bond.
For the Whites, the ascent up Mt. Bond (4698 ft) is not terribly difficult, but it is fully above treeline offering solid views even in the haze. We summited and took a break for some much needed calories up top. The sky to the north was turning blue so the smoke was beginning to abate a bit.
From Mt. Bond we began our descent to the lower elevation West Bond (4540 ft) about a mile away. Again, this was not a terribly difficult hike over. The views from West Bond look back to Bond and Boncliff as well as several of the surrounding peaks in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, so we took a break here for the view realizing our hike (more than 11 miles at this point) was only half over!
Returning to Mt. Bond, the skies had really begun to clear and views were getting much better. We took things in a bit and descended before our final ascent of the day back up to Bondcliff. With the clear skies we retook some of the photos we’d taken earlier as well as assisting some other hikers with their photos and then started down.
Coming off Bondcliff we were quickly below treeline which was the way things would be for the rest of the day as we entered the very long descent back to the rail trail and eventually Lincoln Woods and our car.
For a long, single day outing like this we all mostly kept our wits about us and had fun. The last few miles were only marginally psychologically damaging and we were able to cure our accumulated nutritional deficiencies in Lincoln on our way out of town for the two hour drive back. Overall, a great weather day with well prepared hikers (All three of whom had plans to hike the next day as well!)
Final stats: 23.5 miles over almost 11.5 hours with about 4800 feet of vertical.
Participants: Erin Moore, Dale Schmit and Chris Luczynski (Trip Leader)