It was 5:30 am with coffee in hand I gazed up to the high peaks along the Franconia Ridge. In a few hours time I would be up there running along with hopes of completing the Pemi Loop. Sure I figured I could complete this loop but I wanted to run the loop in a sub 10 hour time.
The loop is a 32 mile rugged trail, the climbing is extensive with nine peaks to summit and over 8500 ft of elevation gain. This Pemi Loop area is very remote, with this a conservative movement style was called for. Each step would need to be viewed and then placed otherwise the penalty would be severe. Any type of crash or slip could result in a twisted ankle or more.
Along the drive to Lincoln Woods I mentally prepared for the epic journey that would come in the hours ahead!!!
The reunion. My good friend Travis was in NH for a visit. Travis is preparing for the Vermont 100 trail race. Our get together was two fold a training piece for Travis and a life long goal for me. Agreed this would be an amazing experience for each of us.
Thanks to Travis for all these photos.
Check out his amazing blog!!!
The Franconia Ridge viewed from interstate 93.
The Osseo Trail.
This was the easy trail, a few rocks, plenty of dirt to place the feet.
After a two hour steep climb we gained the ridge. Now the views exploded in all directions. Keeping our focus we ticked of the summits, Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Little Haystack Mt, Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette. We started our day at 400 ft and topped out on Lafayette summit 5260 ft in three hours.
Looking back down the Franconia ridge.
Heading over to Mt Garfield the terrain took a turn. Conditions to say the least were rugged, a boulder strewn path, moss cover rocks, water and mud. This was a long and remote 6 mile stretch and was the technical section of the route.
The Galehead Hut – a welcome and much needed rest stop. I was hitting a wall, it was time to reboot and refuel. I took a salt tab and a few Ibu’s, loaded up on Skratch Hydration drink and stuffed down an almond butter sandwich.
The trail climbed a steep 900ft out from the Galehead Hut to the summit of South Twin Mountain. Power hiking was the best I could do to get this piece behind us.
Over to the Bonds with the entire Pemi Wilderness valley breaking away to our right. This was NH mountain running at its finest. Rolling terrain in the high peaks with a very a good trail to follow.
One more refuel on the Bond Cliff summit. From here it was all downhill, 9.5 miles of it!!!
The Pemi Loop completed – first time PR of 9:29.