Photo stolen and used without permission from Jeff WalkerA grand day on the Pemi Loop yesterday, a challenging 33+ mile mountain run in the White Mountains that included two side peaks (for half of us). What an awesome time. I'm still reveling in how much fun it was. Challenging route, great weather, and most importantly, a great group of folks. Jeff, Jim, Joe, Greg and Dave and I pushed the pace at times, but casually so. Nobody was setting out for any speed records and we took our time enjoying the views on the summits while waiting to regroup, but still finished the loop in a respectable time.
Route: Did it counter-clockwise starting from Lincoln Woods, and added the side trips to West Bond and Galehead.
Time: 11:59:15 Total Miles: 33.3
Total Elevation: 9760' gain (19,520' gain + loss)
Peaks (in order): Bondcliff (4265'), Bond (4698'), West Bond (4540'), South Twin (4902'), Galehead (4024'), Garfield (4500'), Lafayette (5260'), Lincoln (5089'), Liberty(4459') and Flume (4328')
Here's a quick play-by-play, and a video!
Section: Lincoln Woods to Bondcliff
Notes: Started at 7am, probably the latest I have ever started the loop, but even with the quickly shortening days we still had ample daylight throughout. We got through the boring 4.5 mile section of Wilderness Trail, which is a flat, converted railroad bed that still has several railroad ties in place. We soon rejoiced when hitting the turnoff to head up Bondcliff and enjoyed the climb up, especially when we got above treeline to take in the views.
Section: Bondcliff to Bond
Miles: 1.2 (10.3 total)
Notes: Pretty steep climb up to Bond. Fun to look down on Bondcliff from there.
Section: Bond to West Bond
Miles: 1.0 (11.3)
Notes: West Bond isn't part of the traditional loop, but I always like to tag it since it's only an extra mile total to get there. Dave, Joe and Greg also tagged it, but Jeff and Jim opted to skip it.
Section: West Bond to South Twin
Miles: 3.3 (14.6)
Notes: Steady, gradual climb that isn't terribly strenuous for most of the way. We just bopped along.
Section: South Twin to Galehead
Miles: 1.3 (15.9)
Notes: Wicked steep downhill to the hut. Once there, Greg, Dave and I dropped our packs to tag Galehead, while the others waited. Like West Bond, this peak isn't part of the traditional loop, but it's also just a short trek to bag another peak, so why not? No views from the summit itself.
Section: Galehead to Garfield
Miles: 3.4 (19.3)
Notes: After tagging Galehead, we stopped at the hut for several minutes to refuel with food and fluids. Bought some lemonade from the hut, which was quite good. Refilled our hydration bladders and bottles and were off. Rolling traverse for a while and then a VERY steep and grueling climb up Garfield. Heat of the day is kicking in now and we're sweating like mad. Stopped at the spring near the primitive campground just down a bit from the summit. The mountain water was like sweet mana from heaven. Hydrated here as much as my stomach would allow and topped off my hydration bladder and bottles, as this is the last place we'd fill up for the day. I became quite chilly here, as my sweat drenched shirt was meeting the cooler and breezier air from the higher altitude. Was glad to get going again.
Section: Garfield to Lafayette
Miles: 3.5 (22.8)
Notes: The section from hell. It's hot, and there are quite a few ups and downs before you begin the real ascent up Lafayette. This section always seems to take forever whenever I do it. However, once the grueling climb brought us above treeline, it's a mental second wind once you take in the views that translates over to a physical one.
Section: Lafayette to Lincoln
Miles: .9 (23.7)
Notes: We waited on the summit quite a bit for the others to catch up, which was fine by me as I didn't mind the rest and it gave me a chance to refuel with peanut butter sandwiches. Got very chilly up here, and I put on my windbreaker, which provided ample warmth. The others arrived, and soon we were off.
Section: Lincoln to Liberty
Miles: 2.9 (26.6)
Notes: Pretty long stretch here. We were all pretty tired now and the conversation was pretty minimal.
Section: Liberty to Flume
Miles: 1.2 (27.8)
Notes: A real treat as we were ascending Flume and we ran into my friend Al not too far from the summit. He knew were doing the loop, and timed his trek well to meet us. He shared some water, which was welcome. My water bladder was about empty, and I still had a handheld bottle of Gatorade, which was plenty for the rest of the trip, but it was good insurance.
Section: Flume to the Finish
Miles: 5.5 (33.3)
Notes: I noticed at the summit a member of our group was bonking pretty badly and was very low on energy. Normally a very talkative fellow, he was quite silent and had that gazed over, empty look of someone who was completely exhausted. Fortunately, we were on the final downhill to the finish, which is overall a really easy and pleasant section. I opted to hang back with him to keep him company and make sure he made it down safely. I gave him my remaining Gatorade, as I felt fine hydration wise (thanks in part to Al sharing his water). After a few miles, we reached the really runnable sections, and he began talking more and was now running again for stretches and taking walk breaks. We shared some good conversations, and continued to slowly run-walk to the end, and still broke 12 hours.
Afterwards, we washed up in the river. Felt nice to just lay in the cold water and get an ice bath of sorts for the legs. We then headed just down to the road into Lincoln, where we mowed down on pizza before heading back.
Here's a roughly edited compilation of the footage I took on most of the peaks of yesterday's trek: