By Elliott Taylor – Part 2 – Click here for part 1
The last morning in the Pemigewasset Wilderness was COLD but much to our delight the rain had seized. The worst thing for me was that my 35-degree semi-synthetic mummy bag just wasn’t cutting it. In a hammock, specifically ENO, there is nothing to protect you from the cold air underneath you. I found myself waking up several times throughout the night. It was in the low forties when we got up and everything we had brought was basically soaked, but I ate a big breakfast and was eager to get moving. We split up from Jason and hit Mt. Garfield, our first peak of the day, two hours later. Finally, we got to see some of the gorgeous views that we went to the White Mountains for. The weather was fantastic for the final day, shorts and a tech tee was the outfit of choice. Since we were down to four guys we tried to stay close, but there was still quite a pace difference. By mid-afternoon we finally hit the peak of Lafayette which was breathtaking.
The clouds had moved out and we had a 360-degree view overlooking the Pemigewasset Wilderness. With time running out we regrouped and headed over Franconia Ridge, all with smiles on our faces, and moved on until we hit the Falling Waters Trail. After going down the trail for about 15 minutes we were surprised to see Jason coming back up towards us.
And the best part… he had beer. After celebratory brews, Jason expressed that we were on a time crunch and that I had been volunteered to fast-pack down the last 2.5 miles to the parking lot. I summoned up some energy and we took off at a solid pace, stopping briefly to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls. About an hour later we reached the parking lot and the Pemi Trip was over for me. I grabbed the car and picked up the rest of the guys about an hour after that.
All in all, the trip was a great time. It was physically demanding but not to the point where any of us were miserable by any means. One big surprise for me was how much I found myself using trekking poles. Since there was a lot of elevation dipping and gaining, and I had about a 25 lb pack, the poles really helped take the load off my knees and transferred some of the energy expenditure to my arms. If I could do it again, which I plan to do within the next year, I would give myself some more time and plan out specific spots to regroup so that we could keep our individual paces. I would also consider getting an underquilt for my hammock to minimize heat loss from the underside. Despite the weather the New Haven Crew encountered, the Pemi Trip was an awesome experience that I’m sure we will all be talking about for a while to come.