Zealand to West Bond
I have a long list of updates and recipes I have been meaning to write down and share...but it is summer and there is so much work to be done, so much swimming to do, there is the business to start and there are mountains to hike.
It has been too long since Johnny and I got to do a big hike. Last year we did a lot of wonderful half day (3-5 hrs) hikes with our baby in tow, the year before same story lot of smaller hikes with me being super pregnant and then having a new born. We realized the last time we logged more than 10 miles was our amazing trip hiking all over New Zealand in March of 2014 (a blog post long over due)!
So this weekend we did it, we left Anna with Johnny's Parents and we headed up to the whites!
(photos were taken by my very broken iphone...so photo quality is low, but the camera got left in the car so what can you do)
Saturday Evening: We hiked out to a secret pristine backwoods site, we cooled off in a nearby icy mountain stream (clothing optional), campfire cooking at dusk, late night star gazing on the river, and all around communing with the mountains.
Sunday: We woke up in the woods with the sound of a water near by and a light breeze in the rustling the birch trees. After savoring our breakfast and quickly packing up (and stowing most of our gear) we hit the trail. We followed the trail for a little while, then decided to go off trail and climb up the river / waterfalls. Returning to the trail we found our first view.
We reach Zealand summit (which is not exciting, absolutely no view) in no time, it was before noon, we could stop here and head back to spend the after noon playing on the falls, or we could book it over to West Bond (we sadly skipped West Bond last time when we were doing the Bonds because we were dead tired). We decided to go for it to see what we missed last time and to knock it off of our 4,000 footer list. It was now noon and we wanted to get back to the car by 4:30/5 so we could get back and get Anna. We had to move fast and do this hike much shorter than guidebook estimates. We did a combinations of a hurried walk and a light jog (hurrying up the ascents and jogging down the descents). The view from Guyot was beautiful, it has a large flat and open summit with low living alpine plants (including some alpine blueberries). We lingered for a second chatting with a hiker on his way to West bond (it was his very last summit on the 4,00 footer list!), then we booked it. Down down down we went, knowing that we would be regaining all the elevation we were rapidly losing. We made it to the West Bond Spur trail, and sadly went down some more, but we were so close. then a quick ascent and you are there, on top of the world. West Bond is unbelievable, it is a very small narrow summit, the bonds a very remote, you can't see anything but mountains in all directions. We needed to stop for lunch so we lingered here, enjoying the rush. Checking the watch we had been up on the summit only 30 minutes, but sadly longer than we intended, so back down at a jog we must go. At this point we had drank all but 8 oz of our water...not ideal, we have 5.6 miles to make it back to the hut to refill, and we had elevation to gain, and we had to hurry. Back down and then back up Guyot. We pause to soak in our last great view and to take a few sips of water. We were starting to fatigue...Then we went for it again, still moving quickly but our pace slowing. we make it down and then we hustle up Zealand.
At this point we felt a rush of energy, we did it, all of our elevation was gained, now were were just losing it, slowing at first, than rather steeply. We each had another 2oz of water each. We were beyond thirsty it was a hot day, in the 80's another hiker said, not much of a breeze and we had been working up a good sweat from our pace (I just put our clothes in the wash, they are gross). By the time we couldn't jog down we had to settle for a faster walk, down down down we went. Eventually we could hear the river again, we knew we were close and before long the falls and the hut were right in front of us. We drank deeply and refilled all our bottles, Johnny guzzled water, I felt like I had to sip it. We thought we ought to rest even though we didn't have the time too, so we sat for 15 minutes. This rest turned out to be terrible, it made us both feel unwell. So we got up and started up a less fast but still quick hike down, all of a sudden we felt much better, it was better to move than sit. we lost the elevation quickly and were on the nice walked out, at this point we were behind schedule, with the two stops taking longer than anticipated, so we hastened our pace. We collected our gear, splashed our faces in the river and make it back to the parking lot, only 45 minutes later than our very ambitious goal! (oh but then we hit traffic..) Total milage on Sunday 16.6 miles. The only thing that would have made this hike better is if we got up earlier and gave ourselves time to jump in the river at the end!
Today I find myself attending to the home and Anna, but we had a magical weekend and we can't wait to plan our next trip!