FKT: Lexi Jackson - Presidential Traverse (NH) - 2023-08-23

Route variation
double traverse
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 34m 46s

This has been on my bucket list for a long time and I finally found a good time within my training and a good weather window to do it. I've never actually really "run" a presi traverse in Summer outside of fun days with friends and/or my dog or a few times in the winter I've sent it in super fast conditions without rocks so I was very intimated by the route. I started early, 4 am hoping to not be in the dark again later. It was very windy and cold on Eisenhower until Washington, and then down the other side of Washington it started warming up but I still occasionally had to put my jacket back on. It was beautiful and quiet until I started down Jefferson. I was so worried about my knee so I kept the pace and effort conservative, still hoping for a 6:30 finish on the first traverse. South to North was mentally hard for me because once I reached Jefferson the pace started slowing down. I was so focused on getting to Appalachia, I wasn't even worried about the second half of the day yet. I was moving well until Valley Way. The trail was a muddy, wet mess loaded with people. I was so worried about falling and was moving much slower than I wanted to. I got to Appalachia at 6:36 (S-N record!). I was pretty bummed about those 6-minutes but nonetheless I reorganized my pack and headed back up. It was very slow going back up to Madison. It felt like I ran into a wall. People were asking me a million questions about what I was doing having seen me a second time, which honestly was a mood booster being able to brag a bit. It wasn't until I was past Adams I was finally able to get into a groove again. Climb to Jefferson felt really good. Forgot to mention, I KISSED every single summit this far, even Clay, which meant having to occasionally ask other hikers to step aside for moment so I could do so. Kissing Jefferson felt extra special because I knew after that it would be a breeze. I felt so strong going over Clay and getting up to Washington. Washington was a zoo given the good weather even though it was a Wednesday. I very kindly but very loudly squeezed my way in to kiss the summit sign and then run off like a lunatic in front of a long line of people waiting to take a picture with it. I now had 3 hours to get to Crawford Notch if I wanted a 14 hour finish which was my goal. I was totally in the zone. After Eisenhower these two guys I saw way earlier and the day were like "holy cow! you're still going!" and that felt really good. After Eisenhower my husband sent a picture of my dog I missed so much and that made me cry and push harder. Kissing Pierce was the cream of the crop. The miles down Crawford Path were HORRIBLY slow and there were so many people and I just really didn't want to fall with so little mileage last. I was mentally exhausted from rock hopping all day. My body didn't even feel that bad but it was like I could barely see or focus. When I finally finished I collapsed on the side of the road sobbing and praying no one would pull over to see if I was ok because I couldn't help myself. I've done a lot of hard days but that was one of the most mentally exhausting runs I've ever done. I took a couple minutes between traverse to organize my pack. The second traverse took 6:55. Two sub 7-hour presi traverses in one day. I still can't believe I did it.