Al, Natasha and I set out for a 31.6 mile mountain run today around the Pemi Loop in the White Mountains (8 peaks over 4000'). We agreed in the beginning that we were all basically looking to go pretty fast, but no pressure at going super fast and not worry about what time we'd finish in. Just enjoy the day. That was good, as my legs were far from feeling fresh. We had a great time and I really enjoyed their company. A lot more story to be told with today's trek, but alas, I'm tired and will keep it basic.
Length: 31.6 miles
Elevation gain: 9000'+
Peaks: Bondcliff (4265'), Bond (4698'), South Twin (4902'), Garfield (4500'), Lafayette (5260'), Lincoln (5089'), Liberty(4459') and Flume (4328')
Play by play:
1. 2:09:00 - Lincoln Woods Trailhead to Bondcliff Mt.
Started at 5:30am. The first 4.6 miles of the trail are flat, so we slowly ran this section in the dark not. Natasha and Al's company kept my mind off how tired I was feeling from not getting much sleep the night before. Hit the Bondcliff trail and made the ascent up to the summit, which was blanketed in clouds and not many views to be hand. Wind was also whipping at a pretty good lick, but nothing too drastic. Felt a bit chilly but not overly so. A long sleeve tech short over a short sleeve and my shorts were ample.
2. 26:34 (2:35:34 cumulative time) - Bondcliff to Bond
Powered up the short and steep trek up to Bond and rested briefly on the summit to eat a snack before continuing on.
3. 1:17:12 (3:52:46) - Bond to South Twin
Original plan was also to do West Bond, but we had run past it a little and decided to skip it. We were low on water, so we hiked down to the Guyot campsite and refilled down there. Hiked back up to the trail and continued on to South Twin. Still in the clouds at the summit, but there were signs that it was starting to break up.
4. 2:13:32 (6:06:18) - South Twin to Garfield
Arduous descent down and afterwards we stopped at the Galehead Hut for a snack. Bought lemonade here, which really hit the spot. Mowed down a roast beef and cheese wrap I had brought along as well. We took our time in the hut, perhaps staying 15-20 minutes, before moving along. Climbing up Garfield is a tough ascent and we cranked it out as best we could. Reached the summit and enjoyed another break on the summit. The clouds had lifted now and we were treated to spectacular views, which we soaked in for a bit before continuing on.
5. 1:43:03 (7:49:22) - Garfield to Lafayette
If I were to pick a least favorite stretch, this would be it (which is not to say it isn't enjoyable). But we toughed out the roller coaster speed bumps of the ridge and ascended up. Reached treeline where we spotted two gliders taking advantage of the wind, and enjoyed watching them maneuver. Soon afterwards, we reached the summit, where a large crowd was also enjoying the great weather.
6. 21:42 (8:11:04) - Lafayette to Lincoln
Ran when we could, making a point to be respectful and courteous of the other hikers. Lot's of folks out today, as expected since it's a holiday weekend.
7. 1:18:02 (9:29:07) - Lincoln to Liberty
Ran into Mats Rolling here, who was on his second day of a self-supported hike of all 48 peaks over 4000'. He hoped to be done in 1o days. We chatted with him a bit and wished him well before moving on. Crowds began to dissipate greatly after the Falling Waters trail, a popular trail up to the ridge. Gliders continued to fly around the peaks.
8. 30:29 (9:59:35) - Liberty to Flume
We were all feeling pretty tired now. Reached the summit and took a break and enjoyed the views while Al hit on a German woman.
9. 1:40:27 (11:40:02) - Flume to Lincoln Woods Trailhead
This is always a fun descent, as a lot of the trail is very runnable as the rocks aren't that bad. Stopped to refill on water at the river and eventually reached the Wilderness Trail. Al's friend and his 14 year old daughter had caught up to us along this stretch. They also ran the Pemi, and started a half hour later than us. I was very impressed with a 14 year old young women being able to run this loop. She has an extensive athletic background, making it possible. Reached the cars and were done! Stopped in Lincoln for some pizza and then enjoyed a leisurely drive home while listening to Dead Can Dance on my iPod the entire way back. Great day!