It seems the only thing you can count on in the Whites this summer is slick trails and thick air, so we are making the most of the hand we've been dealt. We counted our blessings that at least on this day, there wasn't even a chance of rain in the forecast. We set out early in the morning heading clockwise around the loop and had some neat clouds and undercast to start off the day on Flume and Liberty. We enjoyed quiet trails all the way to Garfield, but after that the holiday weekend hikers showed up in droves. The trails were extremely muddy and slimy, and somewhere along Garfield Ridge a random slip caused me to bash my ankle on a rock, and it bruised and swelled as badly as if it was sprained. It hurt every step of the next 30 miles. The middle of the day was sunny and hot, and the haze from the Canadian wildfires joined with the humidity to make the air difficult to breathe. The long descent off of North Twin made us question our sanity, but we focused on one piece of the journey at a time. The climbs up Hale and Zealand were definitely the toughest of the day. Thankfully the skies clouded up by the time we reached Guyot and a light breeze made our last few summits much less stifling. Jason struggled with cramping legs on all the ascents through the Bonds, but we both felt really strong for our final descent and run out to Lincoln Woods. Our goal was to complete the loop in 16 hours, but we felt so good at the end that we pushed hard and made it in 15:30. We carried all our own food from the start, and refilled our water frequently from streams along the way. We're happy to finally put a check mark on this monster of a route that we've been wanting to do for a long time!
15h 30m 0s