The Semi Loop 8/4/12

Josh and I left the parking lot at Lincoln Woods at 3:20 AM Saturday morning.  I chugged 32oz of Gatorade and ate 4 Eggs.  I had been struggling with a stomach bug all morning and had to make a few pit stops on the way up but figured it would pass.  We made it to Flume just around sunrise at 5:53AM. It felt nice and cool above treeline still but we could tell it was gonna be a scorcher today. I had 2 32oz water bottles that had to last me till Garfield Spring. Last time I did the Pemi Loop in a day that had been adequate. But today ended up being a lot hotter and more muggy than last time.  Our pace was similar to last time when I did the Loop with Clif.  Liberty- 6:38 Lincoln-8:07 Lafayette- 8:42 Garfield- 10:35 Galehead Hut 12:30.  I finished the last of my rationed water around Garfield Pond and by the time I got to the spring I was pretty parched.  I filled my bottle to the top and drank it down, filled it again and drank it down. Then filled both my bottles and mixed in some G2 for the trip to Galehead.  Josh had been mixed Gatorade into all of his water up until Garfield and in hind sight Ishould have too.  Near the jct of the Gale River Trail my quad muscles started to ball up and spasm.  Josh gave me some of his Cheese-its and it seemed like the salt infusion worked immediately. I felt good from there until Galehead.  At Galehead Hut I got a bowl of lentils that were extra peppery and I sprinkled on a bunch of salt, but it was probably too little to late.  2 more bottles of water into me at the hut and 2 into my pack we started up South Twin.  Completely aware of how daunting this section of the hike is from the last time I hiked the loop clockwise I tried to pace myself really slow for the steep climb.  About half way up S.Twin the spasms came back with a vengeance.  I would climb about 100 feet and rest, and then repeat again until we were just where the treeline is almost at the top.  I’m pretty good at ignoring pain but the muscle spasms were getting just too bad to enter into the next part of the hike without escape routes.  I apologized to Josh for messing up his loop and told him I had to pull the plug, fully aware that we were past the crux of the hike.  I felt bad but then I felt a little better after remembering it was his injury that caused us to bale out in the northern Presidentials last time we did a big hike. Going downhill wasn’t nearly as bad for my quads as going up so dropping down Twin Brook seemed like the best and only viable option at this point.  Plus 13 Falls would be like an oasis on a day like Saturday.  Hiking back down Twinway I had to eat crow passing all the people whom I told (bragged to) that we were doing the loop at the hut. That was a bit humiliating.
It was lovely to arrive at 13 Falls and take a soak in the cold pools.  My quads felt so much better afterward.  As always the 8 miles out from 13 Falls took forever and the prospect of hot pizza in Lincoln was the thing that made us move faster.  We got back to our car around 6:30 the total mileage of what we hiked ended up to be about 28.5 miles not much less than the 31.5 of the entire loop.  But I had to make a judgment call on this one, and it was the right call because with no supplies to spend the night in the woods, the Bonds could have become a pretty lonely place to realize I wouldn’t be able push myself any further.  I truly believe my problems were purely from not enough salt, and I’m sure the stomach bug dehydrated me a bit too, I’m am more trained now than when I completed the Loop in a day last time, but this time was a scorcher.  I should have been mixing more Gatorade into my water.  It was crazy how much I drank and never needed to pee. (sorry TMI) I drank 288oz and only 64 oz  of that were mixed with Gatorade I took a bunch of pics up until I started to hurt, then I put my camera away so my pics are only from the first ½ of the hike
Sunrise on the Osseo
Josh on Flume:
My Favorite Trick on Liberty

Lafayette from Lincoln Me on Lafayette Josh and his secret to success (cheese-its) The hike from Lafayette to Garfield Garfield #5
Our Proposed hike (31.5 miles) and our actual root in yellow (28.5 miles)