Contrary to the doubts I expressed two weeks back (Preparing for the Pemi – Part 2), my White Mountains backpack ran almost exactly to plan. That might be a first. The distance each day was about right for the rough terrain and a 40lb pack. The weather certainly helped, with the trails about as dry as they get (that is, still squidgy in places). Following the example of a friend’s trail diaries, I will post notes for each day under set headings. Here is Day One.
Start: Lafayette Place, Franconia State Park, 7:15am.
Finish: Franconia Brook tentsite, sunset (6:30pm).
Route: Falling Waters, Franconia Ridge, Osseo and Lincoln Woods trails.
Distance: 12.1 miles.
Weather: Sunny and warm.
Photos: Here (On Facebook, but you don’t have to be a user).
Breakfast: McDonald’s in Lincoln – Sausage McMuffin, hash browns, coffee.
Lunch: On Mount Liberty – tortillas and cheese, trail mix, dried fruit.
Supper: Franconia Brook – same as lunch (too tired to fetch water from the river for a hot, rehydrated meal).
Highlight: Breaking out of the trees onto Franconia Ridge at Little Haystack Mountain (and seeing Mt Lincoln – photo below).
Lowlight: Not finding the promised rough path to a rock-hop over the East Branch of the Pemi River to my campsite (but bushwhacking and wading instead was almost a highlight).
Wildlife: Black bear in Lincoln Woods (“Hey bear. I’m here bear”).
Worries: Slower than expected progress, and lack of water, along Franconia Ridge.
Best Bit of Kit: Super-comfortable new boots.
Memorable People: Jimmy, the only other camper at Franconia Brook. A bear had snuffled around his tent the night before, so he was pleased to have company (so was I). Jimmy was planning a 30-mile ridge run for the next day.
People Best Forgotten: Guy playing loud music on Little Haystack. No earbuds, pal?