After staying the night at the Notch hostel, I was up at 3:50am, and headed to the trailhead by 4:15am. I parked, paid for my parking, got the last of my gear on, and headed across the Pemi River bridge at 5am on the nose.
I made quick time for the first few miles, heading down Lincoln Woods to the left split for the Osseo trail, where it slowly ascends to Flume. I passed by a number of people on my way up and made the summit of Flume after only a few hours; the early morning view of Lincoln and Lafayette wreathed in clouds was beautiful.
I then scampered over to Liberty, and continued onward through to Little Haystack.
Along the way, I stopped for a quick 6-inch-hole kind of bathroom break. From there, I cruised along the ridge, summiting Lincoln and then topping out the day on Lafayette.
Lincoln, Lafayette, and North Lafayette were intermittently wrapped in clouds, with beautiful views as they passed through, offering small peeks across the mountains. At Lafayette’s summit, I saw the two trail runners I would end up paralleling for the rest of the day.
I followed them down past the summits and into the valley, where some of the most technical trail of the day greeted us. I was mostly out of water by the time I passed by Garfield Pond, and decided to take a quick side trip. The area around the pond was marshy, muddy, and fully saturated with water. I ended up soaking my feet but got a fairly clean catch for my filter. I filtered 3/4 of a liter and hiked onward. Despite the side trip, I arrived at the summit of Garfield by 10:30, and took a quick 15 minute break, with the two trail runners leaving just after I arrived.
From there, I descended past the Garfield campsite, stopping for another 3/4 liter of water at the start of the spur trail for the campsite, joining my trail running buddies. Then it was onward to Galehead Hut, arriving by noon. I took a quick break, said hi to my trail running buddies from NYC as they headed out, filled up on water, and then headed up South Twin. It was steep and technical, but it was very civilized compared with what I’ve been climbing lately.
The summit came into view sooner than I expected, and then I headed down into the long, mostly flat 2+ miles between South Twin and Bond. I ended up catching up to the two trail runners and passing them at the summit of Bond. I then headed down and over to Bondcliff, where I took a 10 minute snack break and then headed downward.
After a few miles of descent, I stopped for water and the two trail runners caught up to me. They refilled as well and then headed out, finally running. I was inspired, and once I hit the flat railroad section (last 3-4 miles), I started running. I ran until I couldn’t breath or tolerate the rubbing of my backpack and then would walk until I caught my breath and run some more. I managed to make it to the bridge where I’d started at 5am by 6pm on the nose, with 11 hours and 54 minutes of moving time!