Pemigawasett 32.5M Loop Fastpack, White Mountains, New Hampshire
Elevation Gain:  ~9500'

Scrolling Photos
July 5, 2015 - I have been anxiously awaiting my return to this most excellent trail
adventure since completing it last year as a birthday run with Rob Rives.  This year
I chose to approach it counter clockwise and recapture the memories after losing my
camera while running here previously.  Amy Hanlon surpised me in the eleventh 
hour by joining me on this iconic day run. 

After a restful night away from fireworks and hoop-la we arose at 0400 to drive to 
the Lincoln Woods TH to begin before the fifth hour.  Temps were in the low
fifties and fairly comfortable, even with the high humidity from the Pemigawasett
River which we followed intially for four miles or so.  After an errant side
trip to see some falls, we got back on track in climbing up to the first of eleven
4000-foot peaks.  It took awhile to reach Bondcliff with our over-3000-foot climb,
but we were rewarded with incredible views of the entire loop and fierce gale winds.

Being a holiday weekend there were beaucoup hikers and campers up on the ridges.
We even had a serious runner pass us on the way up to the Twins - Josh Katzman, the
RD for the TARC events in Massachusetts.  That was inspiring and we committed to
FB contact.  We quickly moved along the ridge past Bondcliff, Bond, and West Bond 
to reach the cover of alpine trees that reached down from the top of the next peaks
 - the Twins, which afforded a reprieve from the aggressive chilling thermals.  The
forested trail gave us a break before descending to Galehead, where we stopped at
one of the huts to refill with water and buy some apple juice.

Perhaps the highlight of the expedition was the thousand-foot climb up Garfield, the
halfway point of the loop and the subsequent descent of the same degree.  After a
break at the remains of an old fire tower bunker on top, we moved smoothly through
the rocks down the other side, crossing paths with a section hiker we encountered 
the night before where we parked at an Appalachian Trail crossing, with the trail
handle of "the dude".  After a high five and some smiles with the dude we continued
our march up to Franconia Ridge which was enveloped in ominous looking cloud cover.

While the weather looked threatening, it was obvious that there was sunshine all 
around down below, so I had no concern for anything that might interrupt our trip.
After climbing over a series of false summits we finally crested the high point of the
venture at Mount Lafayette.  From here it was essentially all down hill, the small
bumps along the way with Lincoln, Liberty and Flume.  Each of us had plenty of 
energy and were not exhausted from the journey, so when we finally hit the last
downclimb over a series of ladders after Flume, Amy and I bombed the Osseo Trail
and Lincoln Woods Trails for five and a half miles back to the cars, she being much
more fleet of foot than me.

The run in was fantastic with temps rising to 70 degrees.  Amy arrived ten minutes
before me, making our concluding time somewhere around 12 and a half hours, an
hour quicker than Rob Rives and I had done last year with a peristent icy monorail
on the trail and a driving rainstorm with at least 50 mph winds.  It was a great, 
great, great day with negative splits for the effort.  We reached Garfield at the
halfway point in seven hours, and then covered the last half in five and a half hours.
You always hate when a day like this ends. Perfect weather, no blood, lots of smiles
allows only for a good story and memories.  Can't wait for the next shared adventure!

                                Bondcliff as seen from West Bond

                         Looking across the Lafayette Ridge traverse
                                 One of many climbs in the woods


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