Inspired by my brother Spencer's FKT on the Super Pemi Loop last summer, I noticed that there wasn't a record of a female attempt, so, ladies, this one's for you! I left the Lincoln Woods parking lot at 3:50 am, the beginning of what would be a total of approx. 5 hours under the light of my headlamp. The woods were tranquil the entire day. The temps were very mild for October, and the only wind I experienced was on Franconia Ridge.
Like many others, I've become most comfortable with the counterclockwise direction of the Pemi. After 2ish hours of briskly jogging and hiking in the dark, I summitted Bondcliff just after 6 am and relied heavily on the cairns to find my way through the darkness and clouds. I tagged Bond at 6:37 am, retied my shoes, and arrived at West Bond at 7 am (after Spencer's ordeal, I made sure not to miss the turnoff!). The run to Zealand was fun, a mix of muddy and dry trails, and I finally saw another hiker (one of about 20 the entire day). I got to Zealand at 7:58 am, descended to Zealand Hut, and refilled my soft flasks from their water tap. The view from the hut was the best one of the day! The climb up the Lend-a-hand trail went by pretty quickly, and I arrived at Hale at 9:51 am. The Fire Warden's trail was okay overall: perfection for the first few minutes, but it quickly turned into a leaf-ridden slope the rest of the way. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to experience it the week prior before all the leaves dropped- the path is really flowy! I refilled my soft flasks at Little River (I had my mini Sawyer with me) and made the climb up to North Twin, the most challenging ascent of the day for me. I arrived at North Twin at 11:56 am and at South Twin at 12:23 pm. I did a quick water refill at Galehead Hut before continuing to Galehead, arriving at 1:03 pm. Once I got back to the hut, I did a complete water refill from the tap, ate my snacks, and chatted briefly with two other Pemi loopers,- the break was no more than 13 or so minutes. Garfield Ridge was mainly dry and uneventful, and I know what to expect from it after several Pemi loops. I got to Garfield at 2:54 pm and could just make out Franconia Ridge through the cloud cover.
I always forget how long the climb is up to Lafayette, and this day was no different. I think that I reached the true summit around 4:30 pm. By this point, I had my long layers on but still felt very comfortable. My running style was more like a shuffle on the ridge, but I never paid much attention to my pace anyway. On this kind of day, I went by feel and tried to maintain a steady level of effort. I summited Lincoln at 5:02 pm, Liberty at 6:12 pm, and Flume at 6:48 pm (after sunset).
The descent down Osseo was one of my slowest to date, but safety was my number one priority on the now wet, dark, and leaf-covered trail. This was the only section where I turned on my phone for some audio company. The last section back on Lincoln Woods trail felt really good, and I finally made it to the car at 8:47 pm. While technically, this was an unsupported FKT, I couldn't have done it without the support of my friends and family throughout the many months of training! I'm so grateful!