Sunday, July 16, 2017

RACE REPORT: 2017 HMF Litchfield Hills Olympic Tri

Hartford Marathon Foundation

July 16th, 2017


This was my 7th running of this race in 8 years.  Sorry 2011, I was busy.

My first was in 2010, seven days after my very first Olympic triathlon; apparently I was hooked.  I can't tell you that it was a wonderful experience (I've performed much better since then!), but I love the challenge, camaraderie, and community.  For many reasons, this race always feels like a trip back home.

Ok - An insight.  I consumed 90 mg of caffeine during the race (Aside from race day, I have not consumed caffeine in my normal diet since 2003), so while I would normally be sleeping right now, I decided to expel the energy with words instead.  You're welcome!

Honestly, I don't know how anyone lives on caffeine.  I would never get any sleep. 

Onto the race!


I was up at 3:45am.  (*cue non-morning people shock*)  That's still early for me, but it's race day - it's part of the package.  I put on my breathe right & tatoos, had breakfast (3 eggs, 2 toast, 2 bananas, and water), put on sun tan lotion, packed up the car and headed out.


I got into my car, punched in the address on my GPS, and away I go.  I stopped the car 5 seconds later.  Why are my headlights not on?  Are they dimmed?  I know they're not the brightest things in the world.  (*Turns high beams on*)  Okay, those work.  (*Turns high beams off*)  Where are my headlights??  (*Gets out of the car to make sure he's not crazy*)  Yup, both of my headlights decided to sleep in today.  I drove the whole way to the race (40 min) saying "sorry" to the 10 people I passed on the road for blinding them.  Gotta' get that fixed this week! 

I got to the race without driving someone off the road or getting pulled over and set up my triathlon team's tent (HEAT).  The race staff were busy getting everything set up and some friends were already on site for volunteering.  One is very much NOT a morning person.  Kudos Dennis!

Tent was up!  I grabbed my gear from the car, picked up the packet, got into transition, set my stuff up, and was ready to go!

You are no longer allowed to set your transition up outside of the bike racks.  I arrive early to this race because you get to set your bike up anywhere you'd like on the rack that lists your race number.  I choose the end, so that I can set my gear up on the end.  Nope!  USAT is not having it.  This year, USAT edited that wording to state that all transitions must be within the bike rack.  Good to know!

I headed down to the swim start (0.25 mile away from transition) with 20 minutes until race start.  I never manage to get down there by the time I plan to.  At least I'm consistent!  I downed a GU with caffeine, wipe the goggles with a Foggies, and into the water I go.


We stood in the water for 4 minutes while Wave #1 headed off.  I swam a few strokes out to the side and back.  I stopped just short of the group, go to stand, and subsequently sink right under the water.  I realized the bottom of the lake drops off rather suddenly right there.  That made a couple people laugh.  Great way to start race day!

You can't take life too seriously!
No, seriously... You can't.
It will spit that $^#* right back at you.

Swimmers take your mark - GO!  We were off.  As always, my swimmer ego takes over a bit and I head out hard to get away from the fray.  A few guys to my left (I started right - a tactic I'm employing to keep myself from veering left off course), take off with me.  They start to pull ahead, so I make my way over slowly like the socially awkward kid looking to blend into the "cool" crowd and wouldn't you know, two of the three guys fall off.  What is something I said??

I stuck with the lead swimmer for another 100 yards or so.  We were wide left of the buoys, but it was a draft, so I was fine taking a longer route.  Then I noticed that we were drifting FURTHER away from the buoys.  Nope!  I won't let he blind lead the blind.  I pulled back right and swam on my own the rest of the swim.  Loner!!

After the first buoy, I pulled back out of the anaerobic push and found a rhythm that did quite well for the rest of the swim.  As I made my way through Wave #1, it was surprisingly helpful for me mentally to do so.  All I did was focus on making it to the left or right of the next person so I didn't swim over them or scare them and it made the buoys go by quicker (in my head). 

The end of the swim was a little flat for me.  I tried to push, but my body ramped up the effort with little perceived speed gain, so I stuck to it and finished strong.  I grabbed an Olympic swim PR, so I can't complain.  Of course, I didn't know that until I saw the results afterwards (no watch on the swim), but it still felt good. 


Litchfield Hills has a notoriously nasty swim-to-bike transition.  The distance from the swim start to transition is roughly 0.3 miles.  Yes, it's a hike.  On top of that, it's mostly uphill.  Oh, and it's packed gravel.  What FUN!!!  Therefore, most athletes bring an extra pair of shoes to leave at the swim exit.  

I popped up out of the water, put the goggles on my forehead, unhooked the wetsuit, and ripped off the top all while finding my shoes.  I leave them towards the end; get me out of the fray.

I got the wetsuit off, put on my shoes, and ran up the hill.  A video of said "run" may have looked more like a hobbling penguin, but to my knowledge no such video exists so I will continue with my fantasy. 

Once in transition (a beautiful grassy area to make up for the packed gravel run), I swapped the shoes, suit, and goggles for a helmet, sunglasses, and bike.  And off onto the bike I went. 


The goal for today was to make the run fall apart.  Not in the way a delicious apple pie crumbles when correctly put together, but like when a bridge begins to collapse while you're stuck in rush hour traffic. 

The plan was to push the swim and the bike so that by the time I got to the run, my body would be like your old dog Fluffy who would just sit down when he decided today's walk was over.  The swim was done, so it was time to crank it on the bike.  Once I was strapped in, I found a comfortable rhythm in the 80-85 rpm range and went to work.

The above is a 100% legal way to make your way through the bike course.  It might not lead to a PR or even a finish, but feel free to give it a try.  40k "Run with Bike."

Bee Attack!!

Not even 1 mile into the ride, I get pelted by two small items.  It's happened before; usually bugs of some sort Jay-flying across the street directly into oncoming traffic.  They were solid enough that they gave me a momentary sting and then I was good.  ...until I wasn't.

I kept pedaling and the spot I got hit on my left quad kept stinging.  Once I was over some rough pavement, I looked down.  Maybe it was a thorn or just my imagination.  Unless my imagination comes in black and yellow stripes, I was sure this feeling had more substance to it.  In that moment, years of being afraid of bees flashed before my eyes as I swatted the bee off of my leg, who was likely having just as much of a fearful experience as I was.  I had mild reactions as a kid (nothing life threatening but I swelled a good amount), but I list bee stings as an allergy for that reason. 

I continued on thinking "Well, we're going to find out one way or another if I still have a reaction to bees."  Luckily, it didn't go past an unpleasant sting.  Phew!!  On the side of the road struggling to breathe and covered in hives was not how I planned to spend my Sunday!

Onward I rode!  The first 14 miles of the course are net downhill.  There are some rollers, but for the majority of the ride, I cranked out the big gears on flats and downhills attempting to keep the effort level up as I kept riding down. 

More caffeine into the system - 2 gels; one at mile 5 and the second at mile 15.  Still riding the high 12 hours later.  

Then I turned onto 202 and the uphills began.  Again, I stuck to the 80-85 rpm range and cranked it out as best I could keeping the effort up.  Remember, I wanted my run to blow up and I can't do that as easily if I take it easy on the bike. 

One gentleman did pass me around mile 16.  I worked to keep him in sight up until the final 5 miles and he was gone.  I told myself I would catch him on the run.  I did! 

There is one part of the Litchfield Hills Olympic bike course you will hear about; Bruning Road.  This is the 2nd to last road of the day with several climbs/inclines including the final

And then 0.25 mile from the bike finish...

Dropped Chain (Ugh!!)

After the killer finish to Bruning Rd, we ride down a quick descent with a subsequent ascent before the dismount area.  As I approached the incline, I shifted both the front and back derailers and OFF goes the chain.  For a brief second, I think 'Maybe I can coast in or get it back on without stopping.'  Short lived.  The incline brings me to a stop. 

Quickly off, man-handle the chain, reset it, back on, and GO!  Maybe 20 seconds lost at most.  And a laugh.  I told the spectators standing there watching me "This is an omen for sure!"

Finished up the bike without any further issues (the final 0.25 mile), dismounted, and off to see if I was going to blow up. 

This is my trademark Uber Aero bike dismount.  Or maybe I'm just riding a really awkward version of side saddle.  The jury is out!


Straight forward as always.  Bike racked, helmet/glasses off, socks/shoes on, grab everything else, and run.

As I entered transition, a friend yelled out "Only a relay and duathlete ahead of you."   Even the announcer said "And here is our first triathlete into transition."  I did my best to push that out of my head and keep pushing.  Placement wasn't going to do me any good.  ...but who's gong to complain about being in first??

I actually have before.  My dad has video proof.


This is it!  Show time. 

Mile #1 goes "okay."  I stopped to pee quickly (10s) and I had the same gravel road from the swim-to-T1 run to deal with.  Throw that one out!

Mile #2 clicked off much faster than I expected (albeit downhill), so I let my body do its thing.  It did not continue to impress me. 

Mile #3 was on par with my perceived effort.  The heat along with the swim/bike push started to take a toll.  But I managed to push on for another 3.2 miles. 

I reeled in one athlete at 1.5 miles.  I reeled in a second athlete (relay) at mile 2.  But then there's another up ahead.  'Did my friend back in transition count them wrong?'  'Who else could be out here?'  I catch up to the taller gentlemen - the only person to pass me on the bike today - and we exchange "Nice job"s.  He also has a bike escort. 

I've now commandeered my very own bike escort.
Or at least I will once he catches back up
I just passed him.

Despite my run falling apart (aka. running much slower than I would expect and pushing harder spikes the effort level WAY high), I am still able to pull close to the bike as we hit an incline.  This becomes a little mental game for me as I tick off the last 2 miles.  I will take anything to distract me!

As I pass mile 4, I try to push harder (make it HURT!) and I do speed up (though my data doesn't show it - lying data! #alternativedata).  Again at mile 5, I dig in and push harder.  The HR went up 1 bpm; more likely cardiac drift given my oncoming headache and the rising heat.

As I come up to the finish, I kick it in for the final 0.2 miles and I get to break the tape for the first time ever.  Then Bill, who started in Wave #3 four minutes behind me, comes up 3:14 later and beats me by 46 seconds. 

No complaints here!

We both had good days.  I hit all of my process and target goals.  I took home a pie (which is delicious!!).  I had fun racing and hanging out with friends.  It was  darn good day all around. 


Onto Rev3 Poconos Olympic on August 13th!


1.  What is the best race award you've seen or heard about?
I've seen Thule racks, free race entries, very crafty homemade medals (always cool!), but I personally love the pies that you get at Litchfield Hills Olympic.  Now that's a prize I can put to good use!

2.  What non-day ending "fun events" have happened to you on race day? 
Flat tires, going off course, dropped chains, throwing up for 16 miles, bee stings, falling off my bike trying to unclip... That's all that I can recall. 

3.  Does anyone use caffeine only on race day and have the side effect of being wide awake 12 hours later?
Please tell me I'm not the only one!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

ADVENTURE REPORT: Pemigewasset (Pemi) Loop

Pemigewassett Loop
Lincoln, NH

July 2, 2017


The Pemigewasset Loop (called "Pemi Loop") is a mixture of various connected trails (it is not a trail itself) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that encircle the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  The trip is tackled by many as a multi-day hike using various huts along the way as shelter or as a day trip for faster hikers (also read: lighter packing, those who do not want to spend a night in the woods, or those naive enough to think they are 'ready'). 

The loop includes 9 of the 48 New Hampshire 48 4000 footer peaks with options to include others on side trails.  Each peak and the ridges along them offer picturesque views of the surrounding wilderness (when the weather cooperates).  But don't be fooled, the loop was rated as the 2nd hardest day hike by Backpacker Magazine in 2005.  At 31.5 miles with approximately 18,000 feet of elevation change (9k up, 9k down), this is not a simple walk in the woods (as I found out the hard way).  However, for those seeking adventure, amazing views, and lots of like minded outdoors-oriented friends, I highly recommend it; or just parts of it. 


The views tell 90% of this story, so I am going to let them do just that.  I'll interject with words to fill in with funny or background stories, but feel free to browse through the pictures.  

I want to start by saying that I am incredibly thankful that my friend Jenn let me tag along on this adventure.  The plan was to trail run/hike the Pemi Loop.  We've both done ultras - 50ks, 50 milers.  We both love to run and be outdoors.  We both love adventure.  The Pemi Loop seemed like a great idea.  ...until about 15 miles in. 

I (and I do believe we, though I won't speak for Jenn herself) found out the hard way that this is one tough day.  But don't let that deter you because I would sign up for another round in a heartbeat (once my legs recover).  I could go on for days about the views, the fun of the terrain, the people we got to meet, and the sheer adventure the trail provided (through the good and bad moments).  I won't be able to expel all of my emotions into words, so take to heart that I sincerely hope that these pictures are all worth the words I am unable to find.  Let the adventure begin!

The Pemi Loop Adventure

This adventure almost didn't happen thanks to the weather forecast.  I returned home from Lake Placid, NY to find Thursday through Monday full of rain.  The plan was to find a day over the weekend to head up and make a day trip of the hike; we were flexible on what day.  Thankfully as we hit Friday night, Sunday began to clear up.  We both packed all the gear we MIGHT need (overpacking for sure) and headed up Saturday afternoon.  

On our way, we hit a storm cloud that was incredible.   The car was hydroplaning on the flat highway within minutes of the storm hitting.  Hikers on the trail had plenty of stories about being caught in it and how it was the worst storm New Hampshire has had in a long time.  

Once we arrived, we unpacked, got dinner at Enzo's (delicious pizza!), and spent the night going through multiple versions of what to pack.  Sure, we've both done ultras, but this adventure was going to be unaided except for one hut halfway through.  We planned for the worst and went to bed.

A good friend of mine who knew the Pemi Loop really well mentioned that he completed it (hiking) in 15 hours.  We used that as a reference and planed on roughly 14 hours total.  We were going to run what was flat anyways!  Oversight #1.

As a racer (triathlete), I tend to stick to the rule "Nothing new on race day."  Today had multiple exceptions.  My shoes had only been tested for one hour.  I wore a brand new pair of shorts.  I wore a pair of socks I've only ever used during a normal day walking around at work.  Thankfully, all of those worked out perfectly!!  I should try more new things!!

With 14 hours in our heads, we got to the Lincoln Woods parking lot and headed off at 5:20am.  We'd be back at 7:20pm if all went well.  Sunset was at 8:30p, so we had roughly an hour to play with.

The map at the Lincoln Woods trail head

You Are Here.  Be back in 14 hours (we think)!

Essentials?  We had 7 if you count a makeshift first aid kit.
Here we go!

Three days of rain made for fast moving water!

You start with 1.4 miles on the Lincoln Woods Trail
The plan was to run as much as we could, walk when we got tired or the terrain became difficult.  I'd say we ran roughly 8-9 miles total out of approximately 33 on the day.  

Turn onto the Osseo and head to Mt. Flume

Follow the Yellow blazed trail

The beautiful part about trails is that time goes by so quickly!  Jenn and I chatted once we hit terrain we couldn't run heading up to Flume and before I knew it, we began to start popping up above treeline.

And 2 hours had already gone by!!! 

There are some steep sections to get up to Mt. Flume

New growth on the trees

A side trail (we didn't take) - continue on Osseo

Panoramic view from on top of Mt. Flume (for the moment the mist went away)

Unfortunately, we had quite a heavy mist/fog atop most of the initial peaks and Franconia Ridge.  I kept taking pictures laughing at the "gorgeous view" that was certainly beyond it. 

Every so often, the wind would blow it away for 5-10 seconds and we'd get a glimpse, but then it was gone.  

Mt. Flume (#1) done!

At the top, we met a group of three hikers doing the loop as a multi-day adventure.  This was our first comment of "Oh, wow!" from hikers when we said we were doing the whole loop in one day; a sign of what we'd learn eventually - it's an undertaking.

We also met a couple who were hiking Mt. Flume and Liberty.  They had started at 2 am.  Not only did they hike a decent amount of the climb up Mt. Flume in the dark (impressive), but they told us all about the moose that they came across on the trail.  Scary!!  On top of it, the guy offered us food when he heard we were doing the whole loop.  We brought our own and declined the offer.  Thankfully we did in fact bring enough food. 

I loved hearing the stories so much that I kept this up with most everyone I came across - asked them what they were doing, where they were coming from, etc.  A few were rather quiet (maybe just hungry or rushed), but most were happy to sit and chat about their adventure and ask us about ours.  What an incredible day chatting with absolute strangers.

Very different growth heading to Mt. Liberty

Geological stamp for measuring height on Mt. Liberty

Views from on top of Mt. Liberty

 Mt. Liberty (#2) done!

Note how quickly the mist comes and goes along with the noise from the wind.  

Again, another change in surroundings heading from Mt. Liberty to Mt. Little Haystack.

Changing now to the Franconia Ridge Trail.  This is part of the Appalacian Trail (AT) and quite a popular ridge to hike as a single day adventure.

Onto the AT

Shelter!!!  ...just in case.

What a view atop Mt. Little Haystack!  Haha

Mt. Little Haystack (#3) done!

Then it was quickly off to Lincoln.  To be honest, in the mist, we had to ask other people if this was it.  Agreement among our peers nearby was Yes, this was Mt. Lincoln.  "We'll take it!"

Mt. Lincoln (#4) done!
Oh, the wind!!

Onto the ridge!

Heading to Mt. Lafeyette

Misty views on the Franconia Ridge

A moment the mist blew away.  Pictures!, quick!!

See!  We did run (some).

Partially misty views on the Franconia Ridge

Geological stamp on Mt. Lafayette

Mt. Lafayette (#5) done!

Off to Mt. Garfield

Lots of rock cairns on the trail as markers.

Nope!  Not runnig down a rock cliff.


Not misty!

Can you tell which way the wind normally blows?

 Three days of rain gave us a lot of puddles to maneuver around.  Which at times just became ways to cool our feet off. 

 Mt. Garfield!

Trail stalkers!
Back on (I think it was) Mt. Lincoln, we met a group of three hikers (above).  From left to right, it's Brian, Rick, and Ashley.  As with all of our encounters, we expected to see them, chat, and be on with our day.  They had other plans.  Every time we stopped to take photos at the top of a peak, they'd come walking up behind us.  These guys were making great time!!  We also began trading services - we took their picture and we took theirs.  Then "See you at the next peak!"  It got to be pretty funny!

Mt. Garfield (#6) done!

The view from Mt. Garfield

Onto the Galehead Hut (halfway point)

One of the multi-day hikers told us about being caught in the storm the night before and because his group HAD to get to the next hut, they were forced to climb these rocks as it felt like a river was roaring over them.  Their packs were soaked, clothes were wet, rocks were slippery, and it was getting dark.  What a story and we began really admiring those who were out in the storm no matter what terrain they were on at the time.

But then we got to said rocks and OMG!!  It was a bit tricky climbing down them with water running over them (trying not to slip as they were really steep).  But if there was a river running over them, we may have turned back.  

2.2 miles to go.  That's... 2-2.5 hours?!  We got this!

The mist had finally disappeared for good.

Snack time #2.

For the first half of the hike, I got through 2 pb&j sandwiches and 1 clif bar with nut butter.  It was great, but I did notice that we weren't chatting as much in this push from Mount Garfield to the Galehead Hut.  It was a climb, so I figured we were just saving our energy.  I learned differently once we got there.  


The first 1.4 miles of this loop on the Lincoln Woods Trail was pretty quick.  The 1.4 miles from Garfield to this sign was LOOOOONG!  We were so happy to see this sign.  Only 30 minutes or so now.

Then I ran out of water.  haha  What timing!

We made it!  

 The Galehead Hut was incredible!!  Bathrooms, potable water to refill, baked goods, and if you had reserved a bed, a place to rest for the night.

Jenn and I hit the bathrooms, had some baked goods, and refilled our hydration packs while we rested for a bit.  

And without doubt, along came our hiking stalkers.

Our one side trail for an additional mountain.

View from the Galehead Mtn Overlook

Galehead Hut from Galehead Mtn overlook

Mt. Garfield (#7) done!

If you climb Galhead Mountain, know that the overlook is much better than the peak.  We got to the peak and it's surrounded by trees.  There are no views, but it still counts.  Seven mountains climbed so far.  

On our way up, however, Jenn pointed something out to me. 

"Kurt, you're on a sugar high."

Two blondies from the Galehead Hut, a solid refill of water, and I was back to being chatty Kathy.  If she hadn't pointed it out, I wouldn't have realized it.  I must have had low sugar coming up from Mt. Garfield.  I made a plan to try and drain my pack (2L) before making our way back past the hut as well - I'd like to rehydrate before finishing the day.  I may very well run out of water again by the end.

I got about 1L in me on the Galehead Mtn side trip.  Then we refilled water again, I had a number of extra cups, I ate one more blondie (wow were those delicious!), and we hit the bathroom before heading off for the 2nd half of the trip. 

Off to Mt. South Twin

Jenn warned me before starting; this was roughly 1200 feet of elevation gain in the 0.8 miles to South Twin.  And it was certainly UP!

Really cool wood!

Looking back at... Mt. Lafayette?

Climbing up, up, and up!

The option for North Twin.  No thanks!

South Twin Mtn (#8) done!

Off to Mt. Guyot

Gorgeous trail!

Too many good views to stop taking panoramics!

Snack break!

Marks from mud slides on the mountain.

Where we're headed

Marble atop Mt. Guyot

Mt. Guyot (#9) done!

Mt Guyot technically does not count as one of the NH 48 4000 footers due to something about how the elevation change from either side trail is not great enough.  Either way, it's still over 4k feet tall.  I count it!

Off to Mt. Bond

The Pemi Loop actually only barely touches the Pemigewassett Wilderness, but you do get to see it on the western side.  They even mark it for you. 

An option to hike to West Bond.  Not today!

Mt. Bond (#10) done!  Only one left to go.  And you get to see it the entire time from Mt. Bond to Mt. Bondliff.

The above view of Mt. Bondcliff from Mt. Bond allows you to gauge how far (aka. slow) you are traveling.

Caught ya!!

I only have ten fingers, so restart!

Oh, wait!  I got something.  Nope, I can't balance.

Got it!  Ten fingers and one toe.
Mt. Bondcliff (#11) done!  Mt. Bondliff was it.  Now it was time to head back down to the car.  Only... 12 miles to go?  I think.  haha

At the top of Mt. Bondcliff, a couple turned to us and asked "Are you Jenn and Kurt?"  (*Queue that weird feeling that you're being watched*)

Our hiking stalkers who had not added Galehead Mtn to their trek were out ahead of us.  They had told this couple that we were coming behind.  It was hilarious!  They told us we were only 5 minutes behind them.  However, as with most of what people had told us throughout the day ("Just around the corner," "Oh, about half a mile more," "You're getting close," etc), we took it with a rather large grain of salt.   The "Just around the corner" comment from a hiker when we were looking for Mt. Garfield turned out to be a 30-45 minute hike. 

The trails truly do mess
with your sense of time or distance!

As we've been hiking throughout the day, meeting people, chatting about our respective adventures, we kept being told "Oh, so you're going to hike into the night" to which we respond "Uuhhhh, no.  We should be good."  Remember, we left ourselves a one hour buffer!

By the Galehead Hut, we both knew that our goal time (14 hours) was a bit out of reach.  Yes, we added an extra mile for Galehead Mtn, but even with that discounted, we were not keeping up to pace.  We didn't talk about it much until after Mt. Bondcliff. 

We had 10-12 miles to go.  About 5-7 of those were downhill.  Then we'd hit the Lincoln Woods Trail and have 5 miles of flat trail.  Our goal was to hit the flats before sunset.  We didn't particularly want to get caught on rocky terrain in the dark. 

We began jogging any terrain we could as we quietly (yes, likely another low blood sugar span) made our way down Bondcliff. 

Cooling off in the cold river water!

I'd say halfway down the trail, we ran into our hiking stalkers again.  They were so happy to hear that the couple on top of Mt. Bondcliff had called us out like they told them to.  Haha  Adventures in the woods with strangers!!  The best kind of adventures.

We wished each other good luck and headed off.  We both were racing daylight.  They had targeted 20 hours or less for their day (having started at 4am) and we had naively targeted 14 hours (at that point likely already over 14 hours).  

On we ran/hiked.

The trail became a very slow decline with a lot of mud.  As many points, I began not caring to skirt the water or mud and walked right through it.  We had to walk through three (or was it four) river bends.  They were nice and cold on the feet and woke us up a bit. 

And then we made it!!

The Lincoln Woods Trail!

We were not home yet, but we knew that we had only flat mileage left and we had beaten the setting sun.  We took a quick break to grab a snack, pull out our headlamps, and were on our way.

Jenn would later tell me that around this time (as we finished the Bondcliff Trail and as we started the Lincoln Woods Trail), that I had been slurring my words.  I can't imagine what may have gone through her head.  haha  I didn't notice a thing, but I did know that my energy was fading.  I ate a pack of Clif energy chews before we started running and my mood picked back up enough to get me through.  

We headed off at what felt like a brisk pace.  We were roughly 4 minutes over either of our natural easy paces.  The mountains had certainly done us in. 

 Roughly halfway back, we came up on a bridge.  Jenn yelled out as it momentarily fooled her.  She thought for half a second that it was the bridge back to the parking lot.  We still had 2.6 miles to go.

I could have laid there and listened to the water rush by all night long!  I was beat!

Onward we ran into the night.

As we made our way, we ran into a few last hikers of the day.

The first guy was rather unhappy to hear how many miles we had left.  He had a large pack on and had been hiking 22 miles already.  We tried to cheer him up, but didn't linger long.  We wanted to get home too!

Then we ran into Andy.  We had met poor Andy on our climb up to Mt. Garfield.  Two of Andy's friends had convinced him (rather easily I believe) to come for "a hike" with them.  They did warn him of the elevation, but Andy was a good sport and headed out.  Compared to his two friends, Andy was having a rough day (as we were!) while his friends looked to be out for a stroll.  Andy was doing AWESOME!

We ran into Andy's friends at the Osseo Trail turnoff.  They were waiting for him to come through.  I seriously hope that they bought Andy a beer, dinner, AND a solid breakfast the next day (if not a future knee replacement).

The last group we came upon were three gentlemen with large packs.  They were quite happy to hear there was only half a mile left.  We didn't catch names as we were all eager to push on, but we enjoyed each other's excitement in being so close to finishing the adventure.

And it was done!!

We made it back to the bridge at 9:30pm, a total trip of 16:10.  My GPS had died after 14:41 total time, but Jenn's watch clocked 30.3 miles.  All the maps tell us the loop should be 31.5 miles plus the extra 1.0 mile up to Galehead Mtn.  At the time though, neither of us even thought to care.

My legs had agreed to run the final 5 miles and my body surprisingly felt good.  As soon as we got to the bridge and I mentally knew I was done for the day, my body sent me a message....

"We're going to shut down now."

Hahaha.  The 0.25 mile walk to the car may have been the toughest part of the trail, but it was worth every moment. 


 If you ever get the chance, itch, or call to head out to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I strongly encourage you to visit the Pemi Loop.  If you'd like something smaller, check out the side trails that go up to the Franconia Ridge.  As long as you avoid a foggy day, the views are incredible!

Plan out your post-adventure food beforehand!

For anyone who does tackle the Pemi Loop, I encourage you to plan your post-adventure meal beforehand.  As two people from urban environments, we are used to a number of places being open quite late!  We did not think about it being a small town, on a Sunday, going on 10pm when we left the parking lot.  Thankfully, one place did offer to make us a takeout pizza.  Glorious!!  We then rested and downed two breakfasts the next morning before hobbling home. 


1.  What is your next adventure?
Right now, I am back to triathlon season, though I may see about the Presidential Traverse later this year.

2.  Have you ever done a long single day hike or maybe a multi-day hike?
This was my first long hike.  I've done 3-4 hour trips before, but nothing even close to this.  I'd do it again without question though.  What an incredible experience!!