Ice, ice, baby! That has been the theme this winter in the Whites. Either that or I’m showing my age. Probably both. It is true that there has been a lot of ice this winter in the Whites and not much snow. Most hikers that I know, who have been in the Whites for many years, can’t remember a year in which we have had so much ice. So, while I haven’t posted much over the last few months, I have been hiking on the ice.
Fortunately, the weather has warmed up and the ice is finally disappearing, plus the forest roads are opening up. With a good weather forecast, we planned a Bonds traverse. After the Bond traverse in April, I said I wouldn’t do the traverse in May until those forest roads were open! (The Zealand Road walk adds another 3ish miles to an almost 20 mile day.)
Ethan and I met Kevin and Claudette at the Zealand parking lot and made the trip back down to Lincoln Woods. Lincoln Woods was looking awful familiar, having start quite a few trips there recently. The morning was sunny and cool and the trip down the trail next to the river was pleasant – quiet and nicer than struggling down it and the end of the day.
We passed Black Pond Trail, Franconia Falls Trail and went over the bridge into the wilderness area and on to the Bondcliff Trail. Then it was the long climb up to Bondcliff. All four streams were running on the Bondcliff Trail, but we made pretty good time and it seemed like we got to the Bondcliff step more quickly than usual. We didn’t even have to play the traction game. You know, put on traction, hike two minutes, find bare ground, take them off, two minutes later, find more ice and the traction goes back on. We saw one person at the step and then once on Bondcliff, quite a few people.
We made it over and up to Mt. Bond without traction, but after that it was apparent we needed it. We hit the West Bond junction and made the quick trip over to W. Bond where we saw BillR. and his hiking partner for the day. It then on to Guyot and lunch! We were able to enjoy lunch on the rocks in the sunshine and not have to hide out in the scrub out of the wind like back in April.
We continued on to the Twinway, where we found some actual monorail! Monorail is pretty rare this year because there wasn’t that much snow, but there it was. It was slippery but light traction made it a little easier to negotiate. A quick stop at Zealand and we were off to the hut for a break.
I was super happy to be at the hut and know there was less than 3 miles to the car, not 6 miles. No Zealand Road walk!!!!! On that high note, we marched down the Zealand Trail with Ethan in the lead, making sure we stayed on track to finish up the hike at a good pace.
Special thanks to Kevin and Claudette for another fun and fast Bond traverse!