Day 4: September 7, 2014

Start (approx.): 6:43 am         Camp (approx.): 11:45 pm

4000 footers climbed: Galehead (9:25 am), South Twin (11:30 am), North Twin (12:15),  Zealand (3:20), West Bond (5:20 pm), Bond (6 pm), Bondcliff (7:15 pm).

Miles hiked: 24.3

I pack up and hang most of the wet stuff on the outside of my pack in the hope it will dry. At the food area I grab my bags out of the bear box and find out that others have had issues with water in their tents too. : (

The trail up to Galehead is good until the very last bit where it gets a bit boulder. The summit of Galehead isn’t very exciting but there is a viewpoint on the way which is nice. The weather for today is looking pretty good.

I take my time at the Galehead hut drying out my tent and sleeping bag and chatting with a girl who worked at the huts last year. I always feel so much better when my gear is dry, at that point anything can happen and you can set up your tent and be safe.

The climb out of Galehead is one of the steeper ones but I’d rather do it up than down. And getting up to South Twin is always very rewarding. Beautiful views today! I place my pack with the socks and other things to dry in the sun hidden behind a big rock and set off for North Twin. I had debated whether to take the whole pack and go down the North Twin trail, pick up the Firewarden trail and go up Hale and Zealand and over to the Bonds but you lose and gain so much elevation with a heavy pack and I’ve never hiked the Firewarden trail which isn’t marked and maintained so I decided against it. Tagging North Twin is very easy from South Twin so even with the leg acting up again I’m moving pretty quickly. Of course I meet some fun people to chat with at North Twin and take a view minutes to soak in the excellent views today.

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Back at South Twin I have my picture taken by some girls who are trying to hide from the wind while soaking up the sun. The laundry on my pack has mostly dried so I’m a happy camper. On my way to Guyot I get passed by a runner. I could never run these trails, I’d trip and fall on my face within seconds (that, and I’d be out of breath the whole time because I don’t run ever). ; ). A little while later she is stopped and asks me if she’s still on the right trail to do a pemi loop. I say yes and she continues. When I see her again she’s concerned about lost companions. No, I didn’t see anyone. Below Guyot at the junction, she’s waiting and they finally catch up. I hear the guys talk about her probably being upset about not setting the speed record. I tell her I’m not setting any speed records either and that the last miles of her run are all flat. She says: “Really?”. I must say I’m a bit surprised she’s trying to set a speed record while she doesn’t seem to know her route.

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Anyway, my next objective is Guyot and Zealand. For a moment I thought I would tag Hale as well but somehow I don’t feel like hiking up there today. I remember the Lend-a-hand trail being very muddy and I’m on mud overload from yesterday I guess. I look at my map and realize I can hike it in a few days approaching it from the Ethan pond trail. That makes me feel much better. Going down and up Zealand isn’t easy terrain either but at least it’s fairly dry. Going back up to Guyot seems to take forever but eventually I’m back on the windy summit. I pass a few thru hikers headed towards Zealand, one asks me if this is the right trail since the AT isn’t very well blazed in this section. I hope the weather holds for them in Maine, they are definitely no early birds.

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Now I’m on my way to the Bonds. I get so distracted by the views that I have a stupid slip and fall. Nice! My knee is all bloody! Luckily it’s nothing serious, I clean it out and stick a band aid on. At the west bond junction I ditch the pack again and since it’s such a short way to the top I just grab the monkeys and my camera. I find that if I put them in the neckline of my dress they stay put. I look like an idiot and hope I won’t see any other hikers but of course I do. ; ) Hiking in a sundress with my two monkeys, completely normal yes? I’m enjoying this hike over the Bonds and chat with a couple when I get to Mt Bond proper.

I’m headed over to Bondcliff when I suddenly hear yipping. Yipping? That’s something Rich (my husband) and I do when we hike together and try to get each other’s attention. I turn around and see my husband bounding off Bond. What a fun surprise! It turns out he was planning on hiking the Wildcats but changed his mind and decided to surprise me. It’s a good thing I kept him updated of my plans with the InReach or he would have had no idea why I didn’t show up at Hale or Zealand hut. The reunion is short because his truck is over on the other side of Zealand and the more he walks with me the further away he gets and he has no camping gear. He suggests we meet up at the Lincoln Woods trailhead late tonight. That’s a brilliant idea! I had been wondering if I could possibly ford the Pemi and cut some miles but stealth camping with my husband is worth the extra miles. : ) We say our see you laters and head off in opposite directions.

The great thing about being out all day is that sometimes you get treated to amazing sunsets and today is truly spectacular. On the way down I chat with a hiker who is friends with Mats Roing, the guy who hiked a direttissima in 07 and who inspired this one. Then it’s headlamp time again and I speed down the easy trail which still seems to take forever. The flat section also seems to take forever and I am very happy to get to the trailhead and meet up with Rich who had just arrived as well. We find a stealth site and I even manage to cook a midnight dinner.

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