Pemi Loop: Half Run / Half Hike

Date of Hike: 7/6/13

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
Bondcliff / Wilderness Trail 4.7 miles
32.5 miles
9,500 elevation gain

Trip Report:
- Sometimes I like to push (punish) my body.  I figured with an extreme heat wave stalled over the northeast it was a perfect (stupid) idea to bang out another Pemi Loop.  This time instead of hiking it like the previous four times I decided to run the flats, hike the ups, and rock hop the downs.
- I enjoy hiking the Pemi Loop clockwise because you get almost all of the elevation done once you hit South Twin.  However, the disadvantage of the clockwise loop is there is not much of a water source until Mount Garfield Pond, which seems pretty disgusting, or the Garfield Ridge Shelter spur path junction spring which is about thirteen miles in.  In order to prevent from cramping I filled my bladder to the whole three liters.  I also had sixteen ounces of Gatorade where I would drink a little at each summit stop.
- I jogged the first 1.4 miles to the Osseo Trail which went by quickly but my pack was kind of uncomfortable with all the liquid in it so I was happy to step onto the Osseo Trail and get back to hiking, albeit at a fast pace.
- I made good time up the excellently maintained Osseo Trail and took a short break at the downlook and noticed that the clouds were not going to be going anywhere for awhile so I was going to be socked in for the better portion of the day.
- I reached the summit of Flume Mountain in one hour and forty minutes and had some ok views to the south but Liberty through Lafayette were socked in.  I jogged down to the col and felt good, my pack was lighter now from the water I had drank so it made the running (rock hopping) more enjoyable.
- I stopped running and went back to hiking as I climbed the short burst up to Liberty's summit, arriving twenty-four minutes after hitting Flume.  There were no views to be had, and the summit had a spooky feeling to it.  There is also now a heard path leading off the mountain which is not the trail, I have no idea where it goes but wasn't going to start exploring. 
- I left the summit after a few minutes and snapped a picture of the ledges as I looked back, the summit looked like a haunted house in the fog and clouds.  I resumed my running along the Franconia Ridge Trail.  It was in good shape and I felt great with my pack becoming lighter and lighter as I drank more water.  I finally ran into people as I headed to Little Haystack.  It was comforting to see other people on the trail, especially with the weather being sub-par.
- The above treeline portion between Little Haystack and Lincoln is one of my favorite sections in the White Mountains for views, but early on Saturday morning none were to be had.  There was a nice gust of wind which was very refreshing as it was humid even at 5,000 feet.  I kept running into more and more hikers, two of which were doing the loop as well.
- I made it to Lincoln forty-nine minutes after I left Liberty and was standing on Lafayette sixteen minutes after hitting Lincoln.  On Lafayette I stopped for about five minutes or so to relax and talk to the WMNF park ranger.  He was well aware of what I was doing and informed me of the weather report, chance of afternoon thunder showers.
- Next up was the Garfield Ridge Trail, AKA 'Ridge of the PUDS' (pointless up and downs), AKA my kryptonite.  Luckily for me, today my grip on the wet rock, roots, and loose boulders from my La Sportiva Raptors were superior and I had no issues at all and made it to the summit of Mount Garfield one hour and seven minutes after arriving on Mount Lafayette.  Once again I had no views so there was no sticking around and it was off to Galehead Hut.
- This section of the Garfield Ridge seems easier to me once past the waterfall section below the Garfield Ridge Tent site.  I was disappointed in the water flow of that section, there had been rain almost every day but the flow was minimal and I basically jumped carefree through this steep section.  I kept running into hikers along the way, by the time I made it to Galehead Hut I had counted fifty five hikers! 
- I arrived at Galehead Hut around 10:30 a.m.,  fifty-six minutes after arriving on Mount Garfield, and five hours and fifteen minutes after I started from Lincoln Woods.  I felt really good and took about a ten minute break to reload my water.  I knew the second half was easier after the initial burst up to South Twin so I only filled my bladder up to 1.5 Liters.  So far I had drank close to three liters of water and sixteen ounces of Gatorade.  At the hut I also refueled with some pink lemonade, I put two dollars in the basket and filled up my empty Gatorade bottle so I'd have something tasty to drink on each summit stop.
- I love the short step 0.8 miles and 1,200 plus elevation gain burst from the hut to South Twin's summit.  It started to sprinkle a little as I ascended but there was no thunder or lightening so I was happy and kept on trucking up to the summit reaching it thirty-three minutes after arriving at Galhead Hut.
- Once again there were no views to be had so I didn't linger around and decided to quickly head through the rest of the Twin Range, to Guyot, and the Bonds.  I felt great and was jogging a majority of the way through the woods until popping out above treeline where I was greeted with awesome views!  Finally, after almost twenty miles of hiking I could see what was in front of me and take in the views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Guyot, and the Bonds.  Since the weather broke I decided to add West Bond on because it's one of my favorite summits. I took a bunch of pictures between hiking, running, and rock hopping my way to West Bond, arriving fifty minutes after stepping on South Twin.
- I took a much needed break and enjoyed the phenomenal views while eaating a snack.  I chatted with a hiker for a moment about Pemi Looping before heading back to the Bondcliff Trail.
- From here I hiked up to Bond (twenty-five minutes from arriving on west Bond) and then rock hopped and jogged most of the way to Bondcliff.  It was a lot of fun zooming through this section.  I have been on the ridge over a dozen times and have had views all but once, I have memorized what is around me so every time I looked up I would know what I was about to see, it was pretty freaking cool!
- I didn't hang around on Bondcliff for too long.  I arrived twenty-two minutes after steeping on Mount Bond.  The sun was beating down on me and my core temperature was rising, plus if I stopped I feared my feet would shut down a little.  So I decided to snap some pictures and start the long nine miles slog back to the car.  The descent down to the old Lincoln Woods / Wilderness Trail Junction was a mixed bag.  I walked about half of it and ran the other half.  At each water crossing I ran into hikers carefully trying to make their way across without getting wet.  It was about a thousand degrees out by this point so I just hopped right through, these poor people must have though I was coo-coo bananas!
- I finally made it to the old junction of the LW / W Trail an hour and six minutes after hitting Bondcliff.  This 1.8 mile stretch to the Wilderness boundary is now officially part of the Bondcliff Trail.  All I could think of was it's hot and I want to get to the trailhead so I can dunk my whole body in the East Branch to cool off.  So I put my head down and started to run and didn't stop until I hit the Wilderness boundary to take a picture of the sign and the Franconia Brook footbridge.  Up until this point I had counted 128 hikers (give or take a few).  I said hi to each and every one, sometimes letting them pass by, sometimes they letting me go through. However, from here until the parking lot is around three miles and filled with tourists waddling around, there must have been seventy people I encountered!  I just put my shades down and zoomed along the trail only thinking of that cold refreshing deep pocket of water underneath the bridge that I was going to flop into!  I had to dodge some of the tourists, it's beyond me how two people can take up a whole abandoned logging road, but they can!  So I ran around and across the tourists through ninety degree heat and disgusting humidity.  I kept motoring all the way to the suspension bridge, ran across the bridge, took a sharp right after the bridge, dropped down to the rocks, found that deep pool of water, and jumped in at 2:23 p.m., thirty-eight minutes after hitting the old LW / W Trail junction, nine hours and eight minutes after starting.
-  It was an interesting way to do the Pemi Loop, I don't consider myself a trail runner but I like to push myself when hiking solo and felt fine throughout the whole hike / run.  It was a lot of fun and was happy to get views and most importnantly take lots of pictures along the way!

Times / Splits
- Started 5:15 a.m.  /  1:40 to Flume (6:55 a.m.)  /  24:40 to Liberty (7:20 a.m.)  /  49:23 to Lincoln (8:09 a.m.)  /  16:25 to Lafayette (8:25 a.m.)  /  1:07 to Garfield (9:32 a.m.)  /  56:43 to Galehead Hut 10:26 a.m.)  /  33:16 to South Twin (11:00 a.m.)  /  50:11 to West Bond (11:50 a.m.)  /  25:36 to Bond (12:16 p.m.)  /  22.57 to Bondcliff (12:39 p.m.)  /  1:06 to LW/W Junction (1:45 p.m.)  /  38 minutes to finish (2:23 p.m.)

 East Branch Pemigewasset River
 East Branch Pemigewasset River 
 Osseo Trail
 Osseo Trail
 Clouds rolling over the sun over the Pemi Wilderness
Owl's Head 
 Flume Mountain
 Interesting sign graffiti
 Ladder steps of the Osseo Trail
Osceola and Scar Ridge 
 Flume from the Osseo Trail
 Flume Mountain Summit
 Lincoln, North Woodstock from Flume
 Looking south from Flume Mountain
 Camping along the side of the Franconia Ridge Trail
 Franconia Ridge Trail
 Mount Liberty
 View from Mount Liberty into the Pemi
 Mount Liberty in the cloud and fog
 Franconia Ridge Trail
 Franconia ridge Trail
 Clouded view of Liberty and Flume
Little Haystack 
 Franconia Ridge / Falling Waters Trail Junction
 Franconia Ridge Trail
 Somewhere along the Franconia Ridge Trail
 Glooming morning among the 'Gargoyles'
 Mount Lincoln's Summit
 Approaching Mount Lafayette
 Mount Lafayette Summit
 Mount Lafayette Summit
 Garfield Ridge Trail
 Garfield Ridge Trail
 Skookumchuck / Garfield Ridge Trail Junction
 Garfield Ridge Trail
 Garfield Ridge Trail
 Garfield Ridge Trail
 Fire tower foundation on Mount Garfield
 Mount Garfield Summit
 Mount Garfield Trail
 Galehead Mountain
 Flower Power, as Galehead Hut
 Galehead Hut
 The Twinway
 Twinway near the summit of South Twin
 South twin Summit
 Pemi Wilderness!
 Mount Guyot
 West Bond
 Bond and West Bond
 West Bond
 Bondcliff / Guyot campsite junction
 Pemi Wilderness Boundary
 West Bond Summit
 Southwest Twin and Mount Garfield
 Guyot and the Slides of the Twin Range
 Mount Bond
 Bondcliff Ridge and the Hancocks and Carrigain
 Bondcliff as seen from Mount Bond
 Guyot and the Twin Range
 West Bond
Mount Bond
 Slides of West Bond
Bondcliff Trail 
 Dogs on Bondcliff
 Mount Bond from Bondcliff
 Mount Carrigain
 Bondcliff Summit Area
 Owl's Head and the Franconia Ridge
 Hellgate Ravine
 Bondcliff Summit Ledge
 Bondcliff, Bond, and West Bond
Bondcliff Summit Area 
 Short scramble below Bondcliff
 Bondcliff Trail
 Bondcliff / Old Lincoln Woods - Wilderness Trail Junction
 Bondcliff Trail
 Pemi Wilderness Boundary
 Franconia Brook Footbridge
 East Branch Pemi River Suspension Bridge at Lincoln Woods
Lincoln Woods Trailhead 
 East Branch Pemi River Suspension Bridge at Lincoln Woods


  1. Chris, you should seriously think of becoming a trail runner. Awesome stuff!

  2. You're an animal

  3. Great job and nice report!

  4. Incredible pictures for the pace you were doing!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Incredible strength, amazing pictures, and a wonderful write up!

    Job well done :)

  6. Inspiring and informative. Super report.

    1. Thanks, JJ! Hope you get in a fun Pemi Loop in the near future, if you haven't done it already.