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Guiding the Bonds

THE Bondcliff Photo! Click to view on Instagram.

We’re busy enough that writing up all of our trips is virtually impossible. Now we cherry pick sharing only our cooler trips. We’ve been leading a lot of backpacks lately, but the Bonds are special. We just had to write about this one. The Bonds are “out there,” remote by New Hampshire standards, and to some hikers, claiming those peaks is a huge deal, challenging to most, even a bit scary to others due to the commitment to effort required. Thus, some hire us. Since this was a women’s only trip, Redline Guide Arlette Laan led the tour. She provided the following summary and photos.

Hiking all 48 4000 footers is a dream of many but some hikes are more challenging than others. Some are downright intimidating. One of those are the Bonds. West Bond, Bond and Bondcliff are quite a ways in and if you’re not sure you can cover all that distance in a long day, perhaps they’re better done on a backpacking trip. But then what if you’ve never backpacked before?! That’s where we were able to help. Sending out gear lists, food suggestions, answering questions, trip planning, trying to take away the pre-hike jitters.
We set a date and got two other guests to join. Our group of four spotted cars at Lincoln Woods, drove up to Zealand trailhead and started up the Zealand trail to the Zealand hut. This was a nice hike in and allowed us to fill up our water at the hut. We had a snack and headed up the longest climb of the day. After that effort we were rewarded with a gorgeous view from Zeacliff. And lunch!
Properly fueled, we headed on over to Zealand Mountain which was new summit for one happy guest and a repeat for the others.
Some rocky terrain was conquered along the way and in the end we made it up to Mt Guyot. Fortunately the forecast thunderstorms never materialized and we had great views all around. What a magical moment! We would have liked to stay up there for a long time but needed to move on to set up camp at Guyot Tentsite. It being a Monday evening there were several tent platforms to choose from and we had the luxury of taking up two big ones with our four tents. I was excited to get the higher one with a view.
The designated food area was quite crowded with a big group of college kids but we managed. Initially we had hoped to catch sunset on West Bond but the hike in had taken a bit longer than expected and we were all quite tired. We decided we would enjoy it more in the morning.
Day 2 had us up bright and early because of the noisy college kids and we made it out of camp just after 8 am. We were on the summit of West Bond before we knew it and mesmerized by the views. How lucky we were with the weather!
The summit of Mt Bond wasn’t much further and the second new peak of the day was soon celebrated. Bondcliff looked so close! But first we had to navigate a tricky section of boulders and rocks down to the ridge. We took our time carefully placing our feet and made it safely through. A short climb brought us to Bondcliff and we were all excited. We were going to have our Bondcliff photos! And another summit towards the 48! Numbers 36, 40, and 46 for the ladies. And even though this was my 7th time up there this was my first time getting the iconic Bondcliff photo. The other times it had been winter, sunset, solo, or too buggy.
It was tough to leave this wonderful place but we had to move on back to our cars.
We tackled the tricky steep section just below tree line and then walked steadily out to Lincoln Woods. We were tired and ready for it to be over but back at the parking lot we were all smiles. The Bonds has created a bond between us and we were left with wonderful memories of a challenging but amazing trip. —Arlette


Ready for adventure.

The classic Zealand Boardwalk.

Arlette and the group at Zeacliff. (Nice Buff, Arlette!)

Taking on Guyot.

Home away from home.

Camp life.

When visiting the Bonds, bonds form.

The West Bond end game.

West Bond summit.

Arlette leads the exhilaration celebration atop West Bond.

The Bond women? They’re shown here atop Mt Bond.

Heading toward Bondcliff. The trip’s climbing is almost done.

The final paces.

Many miles and hours later…


Great job making it manageable and fun, Arlette. You’re awesome. And so is our team of hikers for attaining those summits. Well done one and all! And thank you for choosing Redline Guiding.

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