Jul 25, 2010

At the White Mountain National Forest

A couple of years ago I hiked the Bondcliff trail, one of the most spectacular and scenic hikes in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire. In preparation for this overnight hike I booked a bed at the AMC Galehead hut. I started out at the large parking area Lincoln Woods off the Kancamangus Highway; ahead of a 12 mile moderate to strenuous hike filled with many breathtaking vistas. From the parking area I followed the Lincoln Woods trail that leads into the Wilderness trail, easy hiking along the East branch of the Pemigewasset river. After a couple of hours the Bondcliff trails branches off the Wilderness trail and the 4,300 feet ascent to the Bondcliff starts. For most of the time you stumble through areas of woods and scrubs until you reach the crest of Bondcliff. Here I broke out of the scrubs, climbed a rather difficult scramble up the ledge, turned around and was awarded with a jaw dropping view across the Permigawasset Wilderness area. After a brief rest and taking in the moment I continued hiking above the treeline along the open ridge. I passed Mt. Bond (4,700 ft) to the left and climbed the peaks of Mt. Guyot (4,580 ft) and the South Twin mountain (4,900 ft). These sections provide by far the best and most magnificent views of the Pemigewasset wilderness and the White Mountains with no civilization in sight. From the South Twin mountain I descended along the Twinway trail to the Galehead hut where I arrived just in time for a spectacular sunset and a warm diner in the hut. Exhausted but happy I fell into my bunk bed for the night; awaiting what tomorrow would bring. My original plan was to make my way back the same way I came and take full advantage of the morning light, but I felt too tired to make any more climbs. Instead I headed back down towards the Kancamangus highway via the Twin Brook trail, Lincoln Brook trail, Franconia Brook trail and lastly Lincoln Woods trail completing the circular route through the beautiful and one of my favorite destination in New England. It's been too long, time to head back!