Monday, July 16, 2012

Cashing in a Views...IOU 7/14/12

After having a couple views of the Bonds and passing the the Bond Cliff trail Monday, I said next chance to hike them on a decent day I will.

The reason for this is I've hiked the Bonds twice. Once in 2008 when there was a very low ceiling. Not much for views at all.

And once this past winter. Snow squalls and darkness. That's me giving the thumbs up.

I did make a return to West Bond a couple summers ago for views redemption. 

Saturday it was time for Bond Cliff, and Mt. Bond to redeem themselves. I got an early start (6:30 on trail) because it was predicted to be another hot, hazy an humid day. I wanted to beat the heat and hopefully some of the haze. Since I was not peak bagging, I rode my bike to the Wilderness boundary and stashed it. The only way to fly on the Lincoln Woods Tr.  I did not realize this but apparently the trail after the bridge over the Franconia Branch has been renamed do to the Pemi bridge removal. After the hike I wanted to talk to a ranger about something and he seemed lost when I said where I'd come from and was refering to the Wilderness Tr. He called it Franconia Brook Trail but my AMC online maps calls it Bond Cliff Trail. I do not have the latest addition of the guide so I'm not sure what it is for sure.

To make a short story even shorter, I reached Bond cliff about 9:30. And was amazed at what I saw. It would have been a shame not to return for this.

 Another reason for returning is I really wanted my obligatory standing on the cliff photo. And luckily there were 2 hikers up there already. Now I don't care for heights at all and knew this would not be easy. So wouldn't you know as soon as I got out there the wind started gusting enough to knock me off balance a bit. 

After catching myself I asked the guy to "please take the photo quick". He did and I got my shot. 

After That it was off for Mt. Bond. Along the way I was treated to some Alpine Flowers. This was a first this year for me. Not sure what they are as I don't have an identification book for these.

It was pretty hazy now ruining a the distant views but what I could see was awesome. I particularly liked the view back towards Bond Cliff.

Hazy but I'll take this any day of the week.

I spent a half hour on Mt Bond and the same when I got back to Bond Cliff. Headed back down around 12:30. Because of the layout of this trail, much of it is jog-able. That, and having a bike to ride on the last 3 miles, I was out by 3:00pm. Now I believe the only 4K that owes me views is Tecumseh.

And this is the only way to do the Lincoln Woods Trail. :D 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Two Days in the Pemigewasset Wilderness 7/8&9/12

Trip objectives: I needed to get off my butt and do at least a 2-day backpacking trip and stealth camp in the wilderness. I wanted to try and find a couple of the most remote old logging camps. And I wanted to bushwhack to an alpine zone on Mt. Bonds east ridge. The idea was to backpack to an area on the Thoreau Falls Trail near Jumping Brook, set up camp, and start hunting for some logging camps. That was to be day one. Day two would be to whack to the east ridge on Bond.  At first I was going to get to this area by using the Zealand Tr., to Ethan Pond Tr., to Thoreau Falls Tr. But I'd only been on the East Side Tr. Twice. Once for just a short distance to start a bushwhack and the second time it was on a overcast-rainy day just past the Franconia Brook Tentsite. So after reading a couple reports on The Mountain Wanderer's Blog of the East Side Trail and wonderful views along the way, I decided to do a longer and perhaps more tedious route to my target area. So the route was to be East Side Tr., to the Wilderness Tr., Thoreau Falls Tr. On my return the second day I did ford the Pemi East Branch down stream a bit from the removed bridge where I found a spot that I could mostly rock-hop and just had to go through 6' stretch of knee deep water that was moving at a moderate pace. Pretty safe but did the usual unclipping of all the straps on my backpack just in cast I fell. Then back to Lincoln Woods via the Wilderness and Lincoln Woods Trails. That's the gist of it.

I only completed objective #1, the overnight at a secluded spot. Because of a glitch on the outset, a 7:30 start turned into 10:30. With the late start I wasn't going to be able to check out any logging camps between there and where I was camping. Which I'd be passing a few. And with the miles I had and stopping to smell roses along the way (not worth the effort of you don't) I didn't get to my target area until 4pm. No time or desire then for logging camp hunting. But I did spend 4 glorious hours before bed enjoying this gorgeous remote area. In the morning I really only had 3 hrs before I wanted to start the long trek back. I decided to give camp 23a a go. Some hints I may be close but no luck. From what I've heard, a LOT, more time is needed to find this one. On the way back when I got to the Franconia Falls Trail I said to myself no way you can do this with another 3 miles still to go and a 2.5 hour drive home with it now being 3pm. That quickly changed to, no way you can not go there. Hadn't been to the falls since 2007. After that, 3 miles on the said to be, most boring trail in the Whites. Wasn't so bad, all things considered.

Heading out.

Views along the Pemi near Pine Island.

View from the bank just past the the Franconia Tentsites.

Another view further up the East Side Tr.

Some of Irenes wrath on the Wilderness Tr.

All that's left of the removed suspension bridge other than a large cable not in this photo. 

Thoreau Falls Trail bridge over the East Branch. Looks like it could be next to go.

Once on the Thoreau Falls Trail I saw some wildflowers, a couple artifacts, lots of straight railroad grade, and more Irene damage. I had a good fall at that spot.

Shortly after this damaged section the trail seemed to turn into more of a herd path. I'm not sure but I think this was some sort of a reroute because I was climbing and slabbing the west side of Shoal Pond Peak. I was near enough to where I wanted to cross the North Fork so I dropped down and did so. And in a matter of  10 minutes found home. What luck.

This spot probably just makes the 200' rule. I'd have to call this legally, nonlegal. As obviously a trace has been left. But there was no way I was dismantling that thing when I left. So here it would for the night, not to shabby. And this spot I believe is basically on the side-track bed going to camp 23.

After a great evening here, and a peaceful nights sleep I broke camp and set out with a small pack to hunt for camp 23a. Once while having a conversation with someone know who does this as more than just a hobby, said, (I believe), it took him 40 hours to find 23a once he stated looking. Hey, I could have gotten lucky. All I found was this cool remote pond at around 2200' and a peek-a-boo view if Mt. Bond.

I'd gone past my turn around time so I had to head back to camp to get my large pack and head out. Instead of crossing back to the messed up portion of the Thoreau Falls Tr, I decided to see if I could follow the North Fork branch of the railroad bed. I found that pretty easily and first found this memorial. Then an easy to follow rail bed. Which got me passed the damaged section of the trail and easily crossed back to the east side of the North Fork when it ended.

Jumping way ahead now. I crossed the East Branch Pemi and am now on the Wilderness Tr. I guess I didn't need to go so far to see old logging artifacts.

As I mentioned, I decided not to pass on going to Franconia Falls. Can you blame me? 8)

Now it was just the 3 mile, so called boring walk, on the Lincoln Woods Tr. back to Lincoln woods. On the way I did something for maybe the 3rd or 4th time on the journey. I went to the edge of the bank to take a picture not realizing 'til this last time I was standing on earth that was undercut by the high water from Irene.
Not the brightest thing I've ever done. One of the dumbest though.

The long and short of it is, I was skeptical on whether or not I'd enjoy a mostly low-level trip. Well....