A July Pemi Loop (attempt)

I met my hiking friends at Lincoln Woods at 3:30 which meant the alarm went off at 2:00. We started shortly after 3:30 with headlamps hiking up Osseo Trail with the most elevation gain to start. It was a slog to Flume with a socked in summit but still beautiful to be up there. Onto Liberty and still no views but we felt the fog would burn off.

By the time we hit Haystack a gorgeous 360 degree view of the Pemi Wilderness and Franconia Notch made all the suffering worth it. 

From Haystack looking toward Lafayette

At this point everything hurt. The first eight miles my ankle was sore from spraining it last week and my balance seemed off. I used poles and they kept me balanced. 

The hike to Lafayette makes you forget all your ailments with spectacular views and rocks formations. At the summit a light wind kept the bugs away. As we headed toward Garfield I struggled with leg pain every time I lifted my right leg. I didn’t feel great but I was happy to be there.

I began thinking about what my hiking partners said, that the hike would be about 18 hours and we wouldn’t get off the trail until 10:00 or so. 

When I started the day, for some reason I was thinking we would finish in 15 hours. Mentally, I didn’t think I could end at 10:00 or later. So many things conspired to make this a day of not finishing what I started. 

I really want to finish what I start but many times over the course of my endurance-athlete-life I get mental blocks. My legs are dead or I’m having a bad race and I just want to be done. I’ve talked to other athletes who didn’t finish what they started, whether it was a 100 mile race or a marathon and they told me – they just wanted to go home and be around their family. When I’m stressed or think I can’t finish I just want to go home. 

When we arrived to a closed Galehead Hut where we were hoping to resupply food, I decided that I didn’t have enough food to make it over Twin and the Bonds. So I took the bailout option well….. And … because .. I couldn’t fathom getting off the trail at  midnight. 

As I hiked/ran down Twin Brook and Franconia Brook trail I was nervous. I didn’t want to hike alone at night so I ran as much as I could. My thoughts go to a dark place telling myself I would never do this again. I thought of all the things I did wrong: how I need to fix my injuries, train harder and keep working on mental strength. I hiked/ran about 26 total miles but my Garmin, that died at mile 19 didn’t synch to Strava so I have no elevation gain for the first 19 miles it recorded before arriving at Galehead.

Today, Sunday, I completed every run on my training plan that included 21 miles of running this  weekend. And I talked to Mark about running a Pemi Loop in the fall. 

I’m getting there – back to where I want to be: super fit.

Here’s Vicky on the Franconia. Ridge – a fun hiking partner. It was a great day to be above treeline.