So global warming may have a few good side effects (kidding), b/c this past Friday and Saturday turned out to be two amazing days to hike with perfectly sunny skies and temps in the 70's. With this unseasonably nice weather my fiancé' and I decided that we needed to skip the Ibex tent sale on Friday and make our third attempt on a 2 day Pemi Traverse. For those unfamiliar, the route runs over ten 4000' peaks with over 9000' feet in elevation change in a distance of 31 miles. Last year an early May attempt put us above treeline in pouring down rain with snow up to our knees. In an almost hypothermic state, we were forces to turn around and head out making for a rather long 22 mile adventure. Later that night I fought off shivers that would not seem to leave me alone till the next morning. Earlier this year we had the route and our gear dialed down to perfection, easily making the first 15 miles over the Franconia Ridge and then up Garfield to sleep. Disappointment struck upon waking at 3am to a thunder and lightening storm which I have not seen the likes of in some time. With the majority of the following day above treeline we decided to bail. Once again a long slow hike out the Wilderness trail took us by swollen rivers of freezing cold melt water to bring us back to our car by 9am soaking wet. Last weekend our luck did a 180 and all of the rain we saw happened in the last 5 miles just in time for the technical rock and root infested terrain to spit us out onto the flats back to the car.
So with our 13 and 17 pound loads we were able to cover the first 11 miles over the Franconia Ridge in alittle over 5 hours. After finding a great AT backcountry spot we fired up some hot dogs over the Bushbuddy and settled in for 9 hours of sleep. The next day we got up and out at 5am and spent the first few hours in the dark finding our way across the incredibly painful Garfield Ridge (which was made much easier with the help of my new Fenix L1D Rebal). We were able to bang the final 20 miles out in 11 hours or so (which included a 20 minute stop at Galehead hut for $2 all you can eat leftover pancakes). We finished the final few miles on shaky legs and empty bellies with the rain coming down in sheets, but we were unfazed for we had just finished our first 2 day Pemi Loop together...