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Pemi Loop

20 June 2015

Day Trip Report

This was one big fat monster day: hike 49km, climb 2,800m, & burn 5,200 calories in 15 hours, well worth of the title for second hardest day hike in America.


Location: 44.141894°N, 71.540147°W

Franconia Ridge

Three years in planning, finally this was a perfect day to hike this loop: forecast for clear sunny sky on the longest day of the year.

At 23:00 the night before, Lincoln Woods parking lot was already mostly full. I purchased my parking permit & started to get ready for a short nap until 04:30.

I quickly packed the few items I needed for the trip & set out on the trail by 04:47. I did not have much to eat then. Instead, I saved my appetite to celebrate the first peak on top of Mount Flume with Theo chocolate:


Location: 44.108856°N, 71.627992°W

That was just the first of eight peaks above 4,000 feet (1,200m):

Next was Mount Liberty:


Location: 44.115931°N, 71.642288°W

By Mount Lincoln, I met several hikers who were attempting to finish the entire loop in one day. Some were going to improve on their previous time. Others like me were just hoping to finish.


Location: 44.140911°N, 71.645997°W

Mount Lafayette is the highest peak on Franconia Ridge, which will later this summer be voted as the best hike in New England:


Location: 44.160744°N, 71.644372°W

After I spent most of the morning climbing to reach the ridge & Lafayette, the next section was a long descent before climbing back up again to Mount Garfield:


Location: 44.187395°N, 71.610687°W

Next was by far the most difficult section of the hike (lap 8), with vertical descent from Garfield. I had to pause for several minutes regularly to contemplate options for carefully lowering myself down the rocky walls.

Arriving Galehead hut was a relief to take an extended break, eat lunch, & supply with additional food for the trail:


Location: 44.187987°N, 71.568772°W

Bonds

I regained my confidence after the break. I was more than half-way through the hike, on the return trip, plenty of daylight left, & hiking on an easier trail.

But not just yet. I had to climb South Twin first (lap 10):


Location: 44.187705°N, 71.554772°W

Not the entire second half was on easy trail, if it can be called a trail at all:


Location: 44.168583°N, 71.535538°W

From Bond, I can see Franconia Ridge far in the distance, where I was hiking just that morning:


Location: 44.152858°N, 71.531363°W

At 16:46, exactly 12 hours into the hike, I reached the last peak, Bond Cliff for spectacular view of Pemigewasset Wilderness & Franconia Ridge:


Location: 44.141897°N, 71.540147°W

Next was a fast descent (lap 15). Once on the flat section along Pemigewasset River, I started running at times (lap 16) to finish in 15:09:38.

Packing List

I packed extremely light, knowing that there are several exit points, full service hut half-way through the hike, while the trail is very busy with many other hikers.

  • Osprey Talon 8 waist pack
  • Nalgene water bottles, 1.5l, two
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Head light
  • Nuun tablets
  • Trail running shoes
  • Sun hat
  • Phone, charging cable, loaded tracks, & map images
  • Garmin Fēnix 3 GPS watch, heart-rate monitor belt, temperature sensor, & charging cable
  • USB battery to charge devices
  • Food: Theo chocolate & almond butter sandwiches
  • Sunglasses
  • Band-aid
  • Camera & extra battery
  • Hiking poles
  • Hard shell jacket for rain & wind

Resources

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