Date of Hike: 5/12/12
Lincoln Woods Trail 1.4 miles
Osseo Trail 4.1 miles
Franconia Ridge Trail 5.0 miles
Garfield Ridge Trail 6.6 miles
Twinway 2.8 miles
Bondcliff Trail 0.4 miles
West Bond Spur 1.0 miles
Bondcliff Trail 6.5 miles
Lincoln woods / Wilderness Trail 4.7 miles
9,500 elevation gain
- For most recent Pemi Loop, click here
- With almost all the snow gone from the ridges that make up the boundary of the Pemigewasset Wilderness it made Saturday a perfect day for a Pemi Loop.
- The forecast called for sunny skies with increasing clouds and high wind gusts out of the west/north west, temperatures in the 50's above treeline and near 70 in the woods.
- I started hiking at 5am and once again decided to hike it clockwise by heading up the Osseo Trail to the Franconia Ridge. The Osseo Trail is one of the best maintained trail in the White Mountains, it has very moderate grades with one short steep section above the 'downlook' aided by well placed ladder steps to prevent trail erosion. Basically the trail is the equivalent of being on a treadmill with the incline set at 10.
- As I ascended closer to Franconia Ridge I could hear the wind above me and as soon as I reached Flume Mountain's summit the wind hit me pretty good. Luckily Flume and Liberty only have short section not shielded by the wind so it wasn't to bad and by the time I made it to Little Haystack the wind died down a little.
- Hiking above treeline between Little Haystack to Lafayette early in the morning was a blast, I had the whole ridge to myself and the wind which was between 20-30mph felt refreshing until I reached the Garfield Ridge Trail at Mount Lafayette. From here until dropping below treeline the wind was directly in my face and the gusts were higher so I stumbled around a few times but still enjoyed the views.
- The Garfield Ridge Trail is much easier heading north than south and I had no issues at all as I summited Mount Garfield where after thirteen miles of hiking I finally ran into the first two hikers of the day who were relaxing out of the wind in the old fire tower foundation. I took a nice fifteen minute break and chatted about hiking with them and then took off to my next stop Galehead Hut.
- In the two weeks since my last hike along this section of the ridge a lot has changed, other than the first hundred feet below Mount Garfield all the snow and ice is gone and the 'steeps' below the Garfield Ridge Tentsite is in full water fall mode make for a slippery but refreshing descent.
- Every time I hike the whole Garfield Ridge Trail I try and count the 'PUDS' (Pointless up and downs), usually I get to around five or six puds before I want to claw my eyeballs out so I just make up a number, this time I'll say 19, in honor of Josh Beckett because just like a PUD, him being on the Red Sox at this point is, well, pointless, here's to you 'Texas Toughguy'...you suck!
- I started running into more hikers as I approached the hut which is now open on a care-taker basis. At the hut there were a bunch of people enjoying the views and relaxing before heading over to Galehead or the Twins. At the hut I met Brian who was also doing a Pemi Loop as well, he caught sunrise on the Franconia Ridge which must have been a pretty awesome sight, nice meeting you Brian!
- From here I pushed it up the steep Twinway to South Twin's summit, along the way I ran into a father and daughter hiking up the Twinway. The girl who is probably around five or so was having a blast as she was marching up the Twinway full speed ahead!
- On South Twin I went over to my secret spot out of the wind to have my lunch and stare at the Presidential Range rising high above before heading over toward Guyot and the Bonds.
- Now the clockwise Pemi Loop becomes much easier, once the back breaking ascent up to South Twin it's a breeze, if going counter clockwise the second half of the hike involves the steep ascent up to Garfield and the sufferfest up and over the false summits to Lafayette. On the other hand the clockwise direction involves the full force of the Lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trail at the end of the day but we'll get to that later.
- The Twinway had some dying monorail and slippery snow in places but nothing bad enough to give anyone fits. Along the way I started running into dozens of hikers, some day hikers, some over-nighters, all enjoying themselves.
- Once I popped out above treeline and hooked onto the Bondcliff Trail over to Guyot the winds started picking up again but it was warm enough that I was able to stay in short sleeves. One of my favorite sections is heading up to Guyot, views are killer and it's a very remote place. I still think Mount Guyot and Mount Clay for that matter should be official 4,000 footers, it sure seems like they fit within the 200' prominence rule.
- The wind kept getting stronger and stronger and by I made it up to West Bond it almost knocked me over, then as I headed down from Bond to Bondcliff it was blasting 40+ mph at times. I was feeling the full force of the winds that rake across the ridgeline over Bondcliff...It was awesome!
- On the Boncliff summit flats I got out of the wind to take a nice break and enjoy the views one last time before dropping below treeline for the final part of the hike down the Bondcliff Trail to the Lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trail.
- Heading down the Bondcliff Trail my stomach started to feel bad, I had been eating and drinking but being up for this long and hiking I started craving different foods that would have made me feel better, unfortunately all I had was granola bars left so the five slices of pizza and cold beer I wish I had would have to wait!
- The two previous Pemi Loops I did I was mentally fried and started having conversations with imaginary friends while stubbing my toes along the Lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trail. This time I felt extremely strong and breezed through to the trailhead with a smile on my face!
- Back at the car I changed up and stretched for a good twenty minutes before heading into town for a meal and a drink before making my way back to RI after an awesome day filled with views while crushing the Pemi Loop!
- On trail at 5am, Flume 6:50am, Liberty 7:20am, Little Haystack 8:05am, Lincoln, 8:30am, Lafayette 9am, Garfield 10:15am, Galehead Hut 11:40am, South Twin 12:25pm, Guyot 1:30pm, West Bond 1:55pm, Bond 2:25pm, Bondcliff 3pm, Lincoln Woods/Wilderness Trail 4:30pm, Finished 5:45pm
Pictures: Click here for all pictures
Osceola and Scar Ridge as seen from Flume Mountain
Little Haystack, Mount Liberty and Flume Mountain
Lonesome Lake and the Kinsman's from Franconia Ridge
Kinsman's and Cannon Mountain
Franconia Ridge as seen from Mount Garfield
Mount Washington as seen from South Twin Mountain
Bondcliff from West Bond