Semi Pemi Overnight Fun

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I had the pleasure to tag along with some good folks along their 3 day loop hike around the Pemigewasset Wilderness. I had a prior engagement on the third day so I planned a bail out point for the end of the second day.
I dropped my car off at the final trailhead and prearranged for Notch Taxi to pick me up and transport me to the starting trailhead. The drive in the AM was quite nice seeing the sun rise shine upon the mountains as I drove through Franconia Notch.
Met up with the others at The Basin trailhead. This is the first time meeting Jake and Adam(Joel’s friends). The jokes and mocking begin early and I can tell this will be a fun trip.
The goal for me is to hike, in this order, Mt Flume, Mt Liberty, Little Haystack Mt, Mt Lincoln, Mt Lafayette, Mt Garfield, South Twin Mt, Mt Guyot, and Zealand Mt. We start off down the paved bike trail to the trailhead with packs locked and loaded.
The route chosen begins up the mildly aggressive Flume Slide Trail. This starts off sharing the Liberty Springs Trail and is a nice walk in the woods. After a couple of miles and stream crossings, this trail changes its mood. This is a bit challenging with some steep and wet slabs to negotiate. I dart into the side woods when I felt the need. Exposure is not really my thing. The others press up the main trail. The quick elevation gains us some views as we stop to rest and look behind us.
Once to the first look out, the views are amazing. We have great weather slated for the entire trip. We dip down and up the rocky ridge to the summit of Mt Flume and enjoy some water and a snack. Only a brief stop as this was the first of many summits and Mt Liberty is just ahead. Once on Mt Liberty, we rest and enjoy lunch.
We push on to a new trail for me. I had not been on Franconia Ridge Trail between Liberty Springs Trail and Falling Waters Trail. It is a short 1.7mi and we are quickly on Little Haystack Mt. This begins the very popular stretch on the Franconia Ridge Trail, but it’s a Thursday so not quite as busy.
We seem to hit Mt Lincoln fairly quickly taking in all the views on both sides of the ridge. The first time I had done this stretch it was overcast and I couldn’t really see more than 50 feet in any direction. This trip showed why this loop is so popular.
After Mt Lincoln is a bit longer stretch with some elevation gain. I start to slow down here as my feet begin getting sore in an odd place, the front of my ankles. Suspecting I tightened my laces too tight I loosen them a smidge once on Mt Lafayette. We took some time to relax on Lafayette knowing we had a long descent coming. Basically, much of the elevation we had gained thus far will be lost as we drop into the void between Mt Lafayette and Mt Garfield. Our planned camp site should be somewhere down there at Garfield Pond.
After the long descent we reach the pond and poke around for the camp. It is huge and spread out with many options. We are not certain we will have it to ourselves, but we are hopeful as it’s already about 5pm. We setup 3 hammocks and one tent spread out like we own the wilderness. We fetch and filter water, a fire started, and dinner made. Enjoyed dinner by the fire and enjoyed the rest and company.
Now was time to climb in my hammock. A brief note about my setup. I am new to hiking and camping. I decided to shave costs by DIY’ing what I can for some of my gear. Hasn’t really shaved any costs in the long run, but I now have a full DIY sleep system and I don’t have to learn to tie any knots 😉 .
– 11′ gathered end double layer hammock
– down top quilt (14oz 850)
– new for this trip, full length synthetic underquilt with 5oz Climashield
– new for this trip, 12′ winter tarp, it is a bit roomy
With this setup I was finally able to have a warm night, but it is far from ultralight. It will need some tweaking.
The morning came and I was awake early, I think about 5am. I could hear someone else up, but I was too toasty to climb out. After resisting for a bit, my bladder convinced me to get up.
Enjoyed a quiet coffee and breakfast with Jake before the other 2 woke.
Once everyone was up and fed, it was time to pack up and move on. The others had relatively short mileage to Guyot campsite, but I was looking at a bit more(~double) to bail out to my car. I didn’t have a serious deadline, but needed to be aware of my timing. It all worked out perfectly.
Once packed up, our day began with a short ascent up Mt Garfield. It was a bit chilly to start the morning and I fussed with layers on the way up. The views from Garfield are some of the best to look across the entire Pemi. We could see all we completed the prior day and all we needed to accomplish today.
The descent from Garfield starts a bit steep and begin the ups and downs (some refer to them as PUDs, pointless ups and downs) along the Garfield Ridge Trail all the way to Galehead hut. Not too far into our descent when someone found a dropped camera who we believed belonged to a woman who passed us, planning to finish the loop today. Jake packed it and made it his mission to get it back to it’s owner. He did ultimately return it to her after racing mach 7 or 8 to catch her.
Joel and I cruised at our own pace across Garfield Ridge Trail and met up with Adam and Jake at Galehead hut. Jake bounced up the spur trail to Galehead Mt while the rest of us rested and ate lunch. A decent food and rest break before the march up the short but steep Twinway Trail up to South Twin Mt.
This was some more new trail for me as I hadn’t been up to South Twin from the hut before. It was really steep. I took many rests on the way up. Once we poked out of the trees, amazing views in all directions. It was really quite amazing. I have a 360 degree panoramic photo including views to Mt Washington and back into the Pemi. It’s too large to upload but spectacular. Adam, Joel, and I actually napped on top of South Twin while Jake remained in beast mode and bounced out to tag North Twin Mt.
Once Jake returned, we chatted a bit and head out down the Twinway toward Mt Guyot. This was a nice stretch and we covered it quickly. Though Jake and I seemed to take our time, but I think we were at a normal pace while Joel and Adam sort of turned it up a notch. We caught up to them sitting at the junction of the Twinway Trail and Bondcliff Trail.
From here, we parted ways. Those three headed down Bondcliff Trail to the Guyot campsite for another night and will hike out over the Bonds and out Lincoln Woods the next day. I headed over Mt Guyot aiming to make it out of the woods at the Zealand trailhead.
Knowing I only had to make it out sometime in the next ~12 hours, lol, I settled into a slow pace. My feet were still sore from boot issues and wanted to ensure good footing. I barely caught up to a gentleman who allowed me to pass, but we would leap frog the rest of the way out. I stopped at the Zeacliff view to rest, snack and change up socks. I chatted briefly with an AT thru-hiker at the hut. It was tough to linger at the hut because they were serving dinner and smelled wonderful. I pressed on and made it out after an easy walk on the mild descent.

The early drive up to my final hiking destination.  Caught some beautiful views as the sun was coming up over Franconia Ridge shining on Cannon. A quick 'Thank you!' to Notch Taxi for the prompt and pleasant service. http://www.notchtaxiservice.com/
The early drive up to my final hiking destination. Caught some beautiful views as the sun was coming up over Franconia Ridge shining on Cannon.
A quick ‘Thank you!’ to Notch Taxi for the prompt and pleasant service. http://www.notchtaxiservice.com/
Cannon Mt glowing in the rising sun
Cannon Mt glowing in the rising sun
Driving past the starting trailhead on my way to park at the end.  Taxi back here to begin the trip.
Driving past the starting trailhead on my way to park at the end. Taxi back here to begin the trip.
Cannon up close on the way through Franconia Notch
Cannon up close on the way through Franconia Notch
The start fo the hike seems easy enough. Is this whole thing paved walkway? 20mph?
The start fo the hike seems easy enough. Is this whole thing paved walkway? 20mph?
How I read this.. Easy way, left ; Hard way, right. Guess these guys are hard core. Jake and Adam lead the way
How I read this.. Easy way, left ; Hard way, right. Guess these guys are hard core. Jake and Adam lead the way
Still easy, maybe I was wrong about this trail
Still easy, maybe I was wrong about this trail
One of the brook crossings.
One of the brook crossings.
Ok, found the tough part.
Ok, found the tough part.
Up the slide gains elevation at a good clip presenting some nice views early.
Up the slide gains elevation at a good clip presenting some nice views early.
Ruined the view behind with my ugly mug
Ruined the view behind with my ugly mug
My fondness for trail signs.  So many that I don't post.
My fondness for trail signs. So many that I don’t post.
Joel taking it all in once we pop out of the trees. Looking out to the Kinsmans(center) and Mt Liberty(right)
Joel taking it all in once we pop out of the trees. Looking out to the Kinsmans(center) and Mt Liberty(right)
Yes Mom, that is the blue trail marker up to Mt Flume.
Yes Mom, that is the blue trail marker up to Mt Flume.
Summit cairn on Mt Flume.
Summit cairn on Mt Flume.
Tadah! already made it to Mt Liberty.
Tadah! already made it to Mt Liberty.
Perspective.. going to end up over on the range in the distance. A few more miles to go ;-)
Perspective.. going to end up over on the range in the distance. A few more miles to go 😉
The northern view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness from Mt Liberty. The hump in the near center is Owlshead Mt, to the left is Mt Garfield. Continuing on the range is Galehead Mt, South Twin Mt, Mt Guyot, West Bond, Mt Bond, Bondcliff on the right. Off the distance in the center is Mt Washington
The northern view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness from Mt Liberty. The hump in the near center is Owlshead Mt, to the left is Mt Garfield. Continuing on the range is Galehead Mt, South Twin Mt, Mt Guyot, West Bond, Mt Bond, Bondcliff on the right. Off the distance in the center is Mt Washington
Strong little flower surviving above 4000 ft
Strong little flower surviving above 4000 ft
The three amigos descending Mt Liberty
The three amigos descending Mt Liberty
Jake checking out the Kinsmans.
Jake checking out the Kinsmans.
Up top Little Haystack. Trail named appropriately, some nice falls/cascades down that way. Not for us today, though.
Up top Little Haystack. Trail named appropriately, some nice falls/cascades down that way. Not for us today, though.
Amazing views each way across Franconia Ridge
Amazing views each way across Franconia Ridge
I think Adam is celebrating the summit.
I think Adam is celebrating the summit.
Adam and Joel making tracks.
Adam and Joel making tracks.
Cannon Mt summit lodge/tower. Can see a bit of the ski trails and the town of Bethlehem(I think)
Cannon Mt summit lodge/tower. Can see a bit of the ski trails and the town of Bethlehem(I think)
You'd think Joel poses on purpose, but this just happens.
You’d think Joel poses on purpose, but this just happens.
The classic Franconia Ridge photograph. What a great view.
The classic Franconia Ridge photograph. What a great view.
The three amigos(Adam, Jake, Joel) taking five on the summit of Mt Lafayette. Not looking forward to the great(big) descent coming up next.
The three amigos(Adam, Jake, Joel) taking five on the summit of Mt Lafayette. Not looking forward to the great(big) descent coming up next.
Looking back at the great descent. That was a long way down. My body felt every step.
Looking back at the great descent. That was a long way down. My body felt every step.
Wish this photo came out better. That moss was a lush dark green with amazing contrast. It came out too light. Guess I'll have to go back.
Wish this photo came out better. That moss was a lush dark green with amazing contrast. It came out too light. Guess I’ll have to go back.
Jake and Joel reaching the lower ground approaching our camp destination.
Jake and Joel reaching the lower ground approaching our camp destination.
Joel's new hammock.
Joel’s new hammock.
My DIY sleep system. hammock (with down TQ and synth UQ) and 'slightly' large 'winter' tarp. materials from : ripstopbytheroll.com dutchweargear.com / makeyourgear.com wildernesslogics.com
My DIY sleep system. hammock (with down TQ and synth UQ) and ‘slightly’ large ‘winter’ tarp.
materials from :
ripstopbytheroll.com
dutchweargear.com / makeyourgear.com
wildernesslogics.com
The sun setting on our water supply near camp.
The sun setting on our water supply near camp.
Amazing light as the sun sinks to the horizon.
Amazing light as the sun sinks to the horizon.
Aaand it's a new day. We have about 600' elevation to reach first summit of the day, Mt Garfield.
Aaand it’s a new day. We have about 600′ elevation to reach first summit of the day, Mt Garfield.
Letting the sun lead the way.
Letting the sun lead the way.
Looking up to the summit of Mt Garfield. Jake, Adam, and Joel near the old foundation of a summit fire tower.
Looking up to the summit of Mt Garfield. Jake, Adam, and Joel near the old foundation of a summit fire tower.
Adam enjoying the view in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. From this point, you can see just about every summit.
Adam enjoying the view in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. From this point, you can see just about every summit.
Looking northwest toward Bethlehem(I think ;))
Looking northwest toward Bethlehem(I think ;))
Adam taking a photo of his own with Jake looking on
Adam taking a photo of his own with Jake looking on
Next stop, that little white speck(Galehead AMC Hut) in the center of the photo. It's nestled in the col between Galehead Mt(foreground) and South Twin Mt up behind it.
Next stop, that little white speck(Galehead AMC Hut) in the center of the photo. It’s nestled in the col between Galehead Mt(foreground) and South Twin Mt up behind it.
The four of us atop Mt Garfield. All smiles, must be a great trip.
The four of us atop Mt Garfield. All smiles, must be a great trip.
Coming off Mt Garfield is a little steep for a short section.
Coming off Mt Garfield is a little steep for a short section.
See, steep. Yes, the white speck, still the next goal.
See, steep. Yes, the white speck, still the next goal.
Joel making his way on the traverse to the hut. Jake and Adam pushed ahead.
Joel making his way on the traverse to the hut. Jake and Adam pushed ahead.
We made it to Galehead Hut. Adam and Jake already here. Apparently Jake jogged the 2.7 miles to catch a woman who dropped her camera.. He did it, and delivered it to the grateful owner. Oh, and then still in beast mode, bounced up the spur trail to Galehead Mt and back just about the time Joel and I arrived.
We made it to Galehead Hut. Adam and Jake already here. Apparently Jake jogged the 2.7 miles to catch a woman who dropped her camera.. He did it, and delivered it to the grateful owner. Oh, and then still in beast mode, bounced up the spur trail to Galehead Mt and back just about the time Joel and I arrived.
View into the Pemi from the hut.
View into the Pemi from the hut.
Joel and Adam enjoying lunch/snacks and a rest.
Joel and Adam enjoying lunch/snacks and a rest.
Everyone taking in the needed rest and ensuring prepared for the next big push up South Twin Mt. The next leg is up ~1100ft in .8 mi. A little tough but doable. To the right is Scout Troop 3. They looked a bit beat but still pushing on and showing heart. Side note, to the left of Joel is a wheelchair ramp. Apparently, at 3780ft in the mountains this hut is ADA compliant :)
Everyone taking in the needed rest and ensuring prepared for the next big push up South Twin Mt. The next leg is up ~1100ft in .8 mi. A little tough but doable.
To the right is Scout Troop 3. They looked a bit beat but still pushing on and showing heart.
Side note, to the left of Joel is a wheelchair ramp. Apparently, at 3780ft in the mountains this hut is ADA compliant 🙂
Joel and Jake and I taking a break as we push up the neverending steep. Adam pushed ahead crushing every ascent like a boss.
Joel and Jake and I taking a break as we push up the neverending steep. Adam pushed ahead crushing every ascent like a boss.
Another break. Yes, these were needed.
Another break. Yes, these were needed.
Breaking above the trees. Jake enhancing the Pemi behind him.
Breaking above the trees. Jake enhancing the Pemi behind him.
Looking northeast to Mt Washington. Joel, Adam, and I took a nap on South Twin while Jake ran out to touch North Twin Mt summit.
Looking northeast to Mt Washington. Joel, Adam, and I took a nap on South Twin while Jake ran out to touch North Twin Mt summit.
The traverse from South Twin toward Mt Guyot (pron: gee-yo) is not bad, but my feet were sore by this point.
The traverse from South Twin toward Mt Guyot (pron: gee-yo) is not bad, but my feet were sore by this point.
A few bog boards to help over some soft spots. This helps slow erosion from the traffic.
A few bog boards to help over some soft spots. This helps slow erosion from the traffic.
From the junction of the Twinway and Bondcliff trail, looking back to South Twin Mt where we just were. Can also see Mt Garfield standing tall on the left.
From the junction of the Twinway and Bondcliff trail, looking back to South Twin Mt where we just were. Can also see Mt Garfield standing tall on the left.
Another shot of the slides on South Twin into the Pemi valley.
Another shot of the slides on South Twin into the Pemi valley.
I am branching off from the group to head out. Joel, Adam, and Jake are heading to Guyot campsite for another night and to hike out over the Bonds and out Lincoln Woods trailhead.
I am branching off from the group to head out. Joel, Adam, and Jake are heading to Guyot campsite for another night and to hike out over the Bonds and out Lincoln Woods trailhead.
So long. Thanks for a great couple days on the trail.
So long. Thanks for a great couple days on the trail.
On my own to march out ~6miles to Zealand trailhead.
On my own to march out ~6miles to Zealand trailhead.
I've been on this stretch before which helps.
I’ve been on this stretch before which helps.
I bounced out the .1 mi again to tag Zealand summit. The cairn was built up again. Last time I was here, someone had tore it apart to use as a fire ring :(
I bounced out the .1 mi again to tag Zealand summit. The cairn was built up again. Last time I was here, someone had tore it apart to use as a fire ring 🙁
Stopped at Zealcliff to catch views and tend to my feet. A sock change and snack and back on trail.
Stopped at Zealcliff to catch views and tend to my feet. A sock change and snack and back on trail.
I leapfrogged with this kind gentleman the whole way. He made a day trip out to the Bonds(Mt Bond, West Bond Mt, Bondcliff) and was on his way back.
I leapfrogged with this kind gentleman the whole way. He made a day trip out to the Bonds(Mt Bond, West Bond Mt, Bondcliff) and was on his way back.
The beautiful/refreshing falls near Zealand hut.
The beautiful/refreshing falls near Zealand hut.
Zealand hut. They were serving dinner. Dang it smelled great. I poked in for another liter of water, just in case. Also chatted with an AT thru-hiker, 'Wantsachair'. Pleasant gentleman, apparently making great time as he's about a month ahead of the bulk of the other
Zealand hut. They were serving dinner. Dang it smelled great. I poked in for another liter of water, just in case. Also chatted with an AT thru-hiker, ‘Wantsachair’. Pleasant gentleman, apparently making great time as he’s about a month ahead of the bulk of the other
Some more thru-hikers pitched tents just off trail below the hut.
Some more thru-hikers pitched tents just off trail below the hut.
Could spend several hours photographing this area below the hut. The mountain/marsh/pond combination makes for amazing shots.
Could spend several hours photographing this area below the hut. The mountain/marsh/pond combination makes for amazing shots.
Long bridge across a stretch of water.
Long bridge across a stretch of water.
End of the trail, I have about a mile to road walk to my car. On the last couple miles I had walked with the gentleman I leap frogged earlier. Enjoyed good conversation. He was quite an inspriration as he was previously told he'd not walk again, but is now out hiking. His car was at the first lot and offered to pick me up if I was still walking when he started driving out. He came along about .5mi into my road walk and I jumped in the open gate of his jeep. Grateful for sharing the time on the trail out and the ride the rest of the way to my car.
End of the trail, I have about a mile to road walk to my car. On the last couple miles I had walked with the gentleman I leap frogged earlier. Enjoyed good conversation. He was quite an inspriration as he was previously told he’d not walk again, but is now out hiking.
His car was at the first lot and offered to pick me up if I was still walking when he started driving out. He came along about .5mi into my road walk and I jumped in the open gate of his jeep. Grateful for sharing the time on the trail out and the ride the rest of the way to my car.