It was time for me to attempt one of the longer mountains of the 4,000 footer list so I chose the longest of them all….Mount Bond. I knew I was in for a tough day when I read in my handy White Mountain Hiking Guide(ding ding) that I would have to hike two summit cones twice in my journey on my way to bond and then on the way back. The two summit cones belonged to an old friend, Mount Zealand, and to a newbie…..Mount Guyot.
I hit the trails slightly earlier than usual but made sure I had my head lamp packed away in case I ran out of day light on this long hike. The start of the trail is extremely easy and flat so I was able to make excellent time all the way to the Zealand hut although I did slow a bit at the steep part right below the hut.
Since I had a ton of hiking before me, I decided to blow right by the hut and continued onto the steep climb up to the ridge trail. There was not much in the way of highlights on this part of the trail but I did get a good workout by the time I finally made it up the more entertaining part of the hike onto the ridge.
The ridge to Zealand is a pretty nice hike, especially when your not in the middle of a thunderstorm like I was last time I was up here. Its pretty flat hiking out in the semi open and can be very relaxing under blue skies…except when your on a 16 mile jaunt and need to make good time. I made the mad dash through this part so I would have more time with the steeper climb up the summit cone to Zealand. I blew by the little side trail to the actual true summit which left some other hikers near me very confused but I had a bigger fish to fry this day.
The trail started to descend the summit cone steeply which left me scowling since i knew i would have to climb back up this part later on the way back. After bottoming out between peaks, i started to climb again and it wasn’t long before i broke into the open ridge trail that lead me up to Mt Guyot.
I stopped for a bit to enjoy the open views and sun before gathering my sanity for the final jaunt over to the bonds. After another discouraging descent, I passed the side path that leads to the camping area for the normal people that do the bonds in 2 days. Normal is not my middle name though so I dug down deep and made my way up the final descent to Mt Bond.
I spent a little more time than usual at the summit due to exhaustion, but still had a lot of hiking back ahead of me so after emptying my boots of my collection of pebbles, I was off again racing the sun to get back before dark. 34 down, 14 to go!!