Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Bonds and Twins Backpacking Trip - May 20 & 21, 2016

Note: This trip report is horribly late.  A draft has been sitting amongst my other blog reports for the past eight months.  With another group backpacking trip a few months away, I felt compelled to get this one finished.

My friend the Manchild let me know that he and his friends were preparing to do a two day hike in the Pemi wilderness, camping at the Guyot campsite.  He invited me along and I was happy to get another chance to backpack in New Hampshire.  I had done much of this hike last October but with spring conditions and new companions I knew it would be a completely different hike.  This would be a two day janut, starting at Lincoln Woods and heading out through the Twins.

Besides my friend Rob I'd be hiking with Duncan, Derek and Pete.  I drove up Thursday night and stayed at Duncan's cabin which was conveniently located just north of Franconia.  They had already dropped off a spot car that night so in the morning all we had to do was load up one car and head to the Lincoln Woods parking lot.  We got a respectable 7 AM start.  It was chilly at first but I warmed up soon as we started moving.

Our adventure begins - Photo by Duncan Ross

The long, long Lincoln Woods trail
Nearly to Bondcliff summit - Photo by Duncan Ross

The last scramble to the top of Bondcliff

This was as close to the edge as I dared
Photo by Duncan Ross

Heading towards Mt Bond - Photo by Duncan Ross

The first several miles of trail are an old rail bed and get boring after a while.  It was nice hiking with other people and it made these dull miles pass faster.  Once the trail began to climb a clear pecking order was established, with Duncan and myself often hiking up ahead before waiting for the other guys.  The weather was warm and clear and when we reached the summit of Bondcliff we were treated to stellar views.  We all took turns getting our picture taken on the famous cliff but Christ it was terrifying out there.

After a rest at Bondcliff we climbed the next short steep section to Mt Bond.  Other hikers began to pass us on their way up at this point.  As is my habit I was nervous about the Guyot campsite filling up but when we arrived at 2 PM there was still plenty of room.  Only one of the platforms was taken and there a couple bags in the shelter.  I set up my tent on the platform above the shelter, offering fine views of my domain.  Derek set up on a platform nearby and Duncan and Derek set up shop in the shelter.  The Manchild set up a hammock next to my platform.

The always opportunistic gray jay - Photo by Duncan Ross

Setting up camp at Guyot - Photo by Peter Boudreau

Relaxin' in style on our pimped out platform

Enjoying the sunset on West Bond

Breakfast in the Guyot "kitchen"
After setting up camp and relaxing, we ventured out to hike up to West Bond.  Another fellow who was hiking the loop by himself joined us.  This short hike was much more pleasant without the heavy pack.  We hung at the summit for a while, enjoying the late afternoon.  Once back at camp we cooked dinner on our various little stoves at my tent platform.  By now it was late in the day and the camp was filling up.  There was a group of boarding school girls that filled up the shelter.  All the platforms had now been claimed by various groups.  Derek gave up his platform to another couple and the guys carried his tent and placed it next to mine.

The next morning we made our breakfasts, packed up our gear and ventured out.  All it took was the climb up from the Guyot Campsite to make my back ache.  It was going to be a long day!  The ridgeline along to South Twin held some remaining rotten snow and microspikes were a big help here.  The views at South Twin were stellar and we spent a bit of time here enjoying the day.

After we passed North Twin and began to descend we encountered many people heading up the trail.  A mix of snow/mud near the top made things slick but once we got lower the snow disappeared.  We ran into one woman who had to park at Route 3 as Haystack Road was still closed.  But just as she finished the two mile walk to the trailhead some cars went by.  They opened the road just after she started out.  What a drag!  Once the trail flattened out we had to deal with a tough water crossing.  The river was high so there was no choice but to just ford it.

The rocky exposed section near Mt Guyot - Photo by Duncan Ross

Slippery snow along the ridgeline - Photo by Duncan Ross

Mt Garfield in the distance from South Twin summit - Photo by Duncan Ross

Top o' South Twin

One last chance for views near the summit of North Twin
Photo by Rob Ragazzo

Rob makes the tricky water crossing

Tired and with heavy packs, we finally made it to the trailhead.  Now was the tricky part.  Since Haystack Road had been closed, the guys had spotted a car on the nearby Little River Road.  Maps showed that if we bushwacked along Little River we'd reach the car.  Thus began our final odyssey.  It was a slow march through the woods and brush.  We were on a steep hill for much of it before getting down onto the river rocks and scrambling along them.  Everyone was ready to be done but everyone kept their grumpiness to themselves.  After what seemed like forever, we reached the car and the end of our journey.

Like I said I wrote much of this quite a while ago but I just wrote the Day 2 stuff which is why it's so sparse.  However I must say this was a great trip with a terrific group of guys.  I'm glad they thought to invite me - looking forward to more such adventures with them!

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