|Lincoln Woods trailhead suspension bridge|
This past spring has been good for training as I have been spending more time working on my climbing, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to get up there and try the classic Pemi Loop (information here) around the mountains of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
My day began around 4:30 am, starting my drive from Sebago Lake, Maine where my wife and kids were staying to the Lincoln Woods trailhead in New Hampshire. My training partner and friend Justin Contois was going to be meeting me there around 7am and I wanted to make sure I got there early to get ready. Justin pulled in around 6:45 and we were ready to begin the long trek we had planned for the day at 7am. The forecast was for humid air and temperatures around 80 in Lincoln, but the higher peaks were forecast to be in the clouds with 35-50 mph winds, gusting to 65, and a high of 60 degrees.
|Map of GPS track|
The day's run would total 31.5 miles and 9,160 feet of climbing and I was anxious to get underway because I had no idea how long it would take us. Our plan was to run it at a leisurely pace and since I had never been on 5 of the mountains, I wanted to take a lot of pictures and enjoy the views. We began our run out on the Lincoln Woods trail about 1.2 miles to the Osseo Trail which would start our 3000' climb to the top of Mt. Flume. The following peaks for the day would be: Liberty, Little Haystack (not an official 4000 footer), Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, Bond, and Bondcliff. When we reached the top of Mt. Flume there is a small amount of exposure that let us know the winds were probably around 40mph or so, footing was a little tough with the wind was trying to push us over.
|Osseo trail, the climbing begins|
|First View of Mt. Flume|
|One of the many wooden staircases on the Osseo trail|
|A little ways to go to Mt. Flume|
|View from Mt. Flume summit to Mt. Liberty|
|Summit rock on Mt. Liberty|
|In the clouds on the Franconia Ridge|
|Coming down Mt. Lafayette towards Garfield|
|Garfield Ridge Trail, less than 6 miles to the Galehead Hut|
|Nice light on the Garfield Ridge Trail|
|One of the many rocky sections on the way to Galehead Hut|
|Foggy summit of Mt. Garfield|
|Heading down Garfield to Galehead Hut|
|View of South Twin from Galehead Hut|
|Galehead Hut, refueled and heading up South Twin|
|Looking down from the stout, rocky climb up South Twin|
Climbing South Twin we ran into Miguel Gonzalez, Ray Priebe, and Nathan Sanford running down the mountain on their own 25 mile loop - up the Bonds from Lincoln Woods then back to 13 Falls and back. Miguel and Ray are from Sterling, MA and I went to high school with them, it was interesting to see them up in the Whites on the same day and trail. We chatted a bit and went our own way around the Pemi. I figured it might be a possibility we ran into them later on the way out.
|Some of the runnable sections on the Twinway|
|Looking at West Bond's scars from Mt. Bond|
|Starting the run across the bonds|
|Looking towards Franconia Ridge in the clouds|
|Mt. Bond looking at Bondcliff, last climb of the day|
|Ridgeline of Bondcliff|
|Coming down the descent from Mt. Bond|
Once we finished crossing the suspension bridge at 9 hours 30 minutes, we promptly returned to the cars for a gear drop and rehydration and ran into Larisa Dannis and Rob Lalus. We discussed the run and our next adventures and races. They were just finishing up an Owl's head run and we talked about the Vermont 100 race coming up in a few weeks. She is running it and Justin is signed up to pace someone there, the event is a lot of fun and I hope to run it someday - maybe next year.
Having enough of the heat of the parking lot, we made a beeline for the river to have a soak in the cool water. After the right amount of time spent cooling down, we headed over to the Woodstock Brewery for some food. We then made our way back to our homes for the night, Justin back to MA and me back to Maine. I had a great time out in the mountains and can't wait to run this loop again, although I have to figure out a way to take about three hours off the time.
For the past year or so, I have been running with Justin for a lot of my weekday runs and we have been on many long runs together. All the time spent together has helped me to improve my times, confidence for the longer runs and climbing ability. I am glad we were able to get out on this adventure together as he is moving to Virginia in early August. It was a fun time out on the trails and a great way to close out his permanent time up in Massachusetts. I wish him good luck down in Virginia and we are already starting to talk about some long trail runs next summer when he is back visiting.
The next challenge will be the Bear Brook Marathon, designed by Ryan Welts. Should be a good time, and I'm looking forward to running some new (to me) trails in the state park. This will be my first marathon distance race. Next. I am planning on running a Pemi Loop in August in the opposite direction and hope to take a few minutes off the time. I will either do the loop with Eric Ahern or will attempt a solo run.