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This trip report documents an interesting south-to-north traverse of a [mostly] attractive string of peaks in the central Pemigewasset Wilderness of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, in October of 2009.

A bit of background, first: As those of you who regularly read my trip reports know, I've been gradually working my way towards the completion of my 'Northeast 111' list (the NE111 being all 115 peaks in the Northeastern US over 4,000 feet). I've taken deliberate steps to cross off the lesser-interesting peaks before the end; good examples of this were trips to Owl's Head, and Waumbeck and Cabot.

Through my research on the 'net and in guidebooks, I learned which of my remaining peaks were somehow special or scenic. I noted that there was one area that had a number of nice peaks and whose north-south layout and trail access lent themselves to a combination one-way traverse. This area was the central Pemigewasset Wilderness, containing the peaks of the Bonds, the Twins, and two other peaks. All on the list, and all reasonably doable in one go as a traverse from north-to-south, or south-to-north.

My other general requirement for these final 'good' peaks was weather: I didn't want to summit beautiful open peaks and be greeted with a blank gray-white slate of clouds. I therefore waited over the years until I thought the right moment had arrived: the Columbus Day (Canadian Thanksgiving) weekend of 2009. A window of clear weather was forecast to open up on Saturday afternoon and continue until Monday; the fall colors looked like they'd be at their highest, and Luke and Ewart were willing to join, upping the social quotient.
Lincoln Woods Center
We intended to do this traverse as an easily-paced two-day backpack, rather than a long single-day outing. The plan was to camp at the Guyot Campsite, basically the only officially permitted camping area along the entire traverse (something I kinda disagree with, as you'll see later). We decided to do the traverse from South to North, starting from the Lincoln Woods Visitor area and ending at the North Twin Trailhead. We left my vehicle at the North Twin Trailhead and shuttled around in Ewart's car, arriving shortly after 7am at Lincoln Woods.
It had rained solidly the night before and everything was quite wet, but we were encouraged by the forecast and the brightening of the skies and the occasional shaft of sunlight. We definitely had hit the height of the fall color season, with brilliant colors all about the parking lot.
Back here again
We were off by about 7:30am, hiking once again across the big suspension pedestrian bridge across the East Pemigewasset Wilderness. This was the third time here since the summer; the previous two times were our first and second climb of Owls Head Mountain - one of those pesky no-view peaks I was talking about earlier. And, if you're wondering why we climbed Owls Head twice in two months, you'll have to read the reports!

Anyway, it was all good for the moment. We had a good forecast, lots of nice colorful leaves everywhere, and a fun hiking group.
Up the Lincoln Woods Trail
Fewer Bridges
A Fall Scene
The list of 4000-footer peaks for this one hike was pretty robust: we would first climb 'The Bonds': Bondcliff, Mount Bond, and West Bond, then camp for the night. The next day, we would hit Mount Guyot, then hopefully over-and-back to Zealand Mountain, then continue on north over the Twins (South and North) before heading steeply down to our northern trailhead. Of these peaks, the 'good' ones were [supposedly] Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, Guyot and South Twin. Basically, most of them!

Our first order of business was the straightforward walk up the Lincoln Woods Trail - an old railway bed long since converted into a multi-use recreational pathway. Ruler-straight and flat for most of its length, it is an easy walk that allows for comfortable 2-by-2 trail hiking (and therefore conducive to chatting and such).
Misty Fall Scene
Straight as an arrow
Crossing Franconia Brook
The early morning mists and low clouds hung about tenaciously; we could still see an occasional patch of blue or shaft of sun, but the weather wasn't progressing into clearness very fast. I really wanted our first peak of the day, Bondcliff, to be in the clear. Of all of the peaks on our journey, it was likely the most interesting, having a most-uneasterly-like sharp ridge of cliffs along its summit.

Soon we arrived at the big bridge crossing over Franconia Brook, and we stopped for a few photos. Still much too cloudy for my liking, but we still had a ways to go (and the forecast indicated clearing by noon, and it was only 8:30am).
Franconia Brook
Upper Lincoln Woods
After the bridge, the Lincoln Woods trail continued on. It is not maintained as a multi-use trail after this point, so even though you can still tell it is an old railway bed, the cleared width and footing are only suitable for hiking.
Old Sleigh?
Upper Lincoln Woods Tr
Bondcliff Trail
We were happy to reach the junction with the Bondcliff trail, as we were getting a little tired of walking along a monotonously flat railway bed. From here, we would gradually, then steeply climb up to the south end of the famous Bondcliff summit ridge. I crossed all fingers and toes and hoped for rapid clearing trend!
MEC poster-boy
Refreshing Glasses-o-ade
Bondcliff Trailwork
Unfortunately, as we climbed up the gentle lower aspects of the trail, it actually started to drizzle slightly, and I began to fear that we might get no view at all on top of Bondcliff -- something I had worked hard to avoid during my planning over the years. Unfortunately, the dice were cast now, and I wasn't going to scuttle the whole hike just because of clouds on Bondcliff. And, in another unfortunate development, I managed to [again] twist my ankle, this time on a section of leaf-covered rocks. I seem to do this on a semi-regular basis. Fortunately, not too badly, and I was able to continue at a reasonable pace.

Soon the trail angled up more steeply and left the colorful deciduous forest. This section of trail is actually somewhat interesting, winding about and traversing back and forth on what appears to me to be the very faint remnants of old access roads.
Old Slide, Little Valley
Snack break
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