The Pemi Loop, Lincoln Woods Trailhead, NH
By: Jennifer Hansen
Route: The Pemi Loop, Lincoln Woods Trailhead, NH
Percentage Runnable: 60%?
Distance: around 30 miles
Elevation change: around 10,000 feet
You can read a lot of trip reports on this increasingly-popular one-day effort. I like this one the best: https://notchhostel.com/blog/the-single-day-pemi-loop/
On Aug 3 I ran a solo Pemi Loop. I had done it twice before with others, and was looking forward to being out on my own for the long day. I decided to go counter-clockwise, and this enabled me to really enjoy the Bonds early in the day, and to run the most boring, flat 4 miles at the beginning of the day, leaving the shorter, flat run segment for the end of the day.
At this time of year, the trail is quite busy with backpackers, AT through-hikers, and folks doing sections of the trail (especially the Franconia Ridge). I played tag with two other parties going the same direction as I, and passed a couple folks going in the other direction. I prefer to do this loop as a run, instead of a hike, as there are several miles at the beginning and end. Many of the middle miles are challenging hiking trail, and while I always see some folks really running up and down the most technical portions, I usually hike them fast instead, for my own safety and energy management. The main difference between a hike and a run is which backpack I wear. The hydration backpack enables me to run easily when I feel safe doing so.
The weather on August 3 was cool and comfortable, with low humidity, so I just wore shorts and a t-shirt and brought my raincoat and headlamp just in case. I brought plenty of lightweight calories and refilled my water bladder at the Galehead hut, which is pretty close to the halfway point. I also had my water filter in case I needed more water later in the day (which I didn't). For this year's Loop, I tried doing a strenuous hike the day before on Mt Washington to see how my body would tolerate back-to-back challenging days, and I might have been OK if I had slept better in between them. As it was, I only got about 4 hours of sleep, so I battled nausea on the second half of the Pemi day, which made my run less enjoyable and certainly slowed me down as the day went on. I also might have consumed too much water early on, and not balanced it with enough salt, although I did have plenty of electrolytes and sugar.
I started at 4:40 AM and finished up about 7PM-so around 14.5 hours. I ran the last 1/2 mile or so with a fellow who was coming in just under 12 hours for his day. If I want to go faster the next time, maybe I'll rest the day before. But it was a good day, an enjoyable solo challenge. Next time, I hope to go with someone who would enjoy trying to do it in 12-13 hours. Maybe it will be you - let me know!