The Cold River Loop is a popular backpacking trip but there was nothing online about anyone ever doing it in a single day!
This loop would be a fantastic trail run, but we have not been running much so we hiked it to avoid injuries. We went counter-clockwise which was a good decision: there's a swamp 8 miles from the end where Paul and I got our feet wet.
We started just after 5:30AM on Saturday, 9/19/20. The 30 mile loop is broken down into three ~10 mile sections each. We started in the dark and headed up the Calkins Brook Trail into a peaceful pine forest. We eventually hit the Northville Placid Trail to complete the first "section". This next portion of the NPT follows the beautiful Cold River. Water is plentiful here and we stopped to refill at one point. It is scenic and remote. We only saw one other group on this ~10 mile section. Be prepared because it could take a while to get help and there are no bailout points!
The Cold River section of the Northville Placid Trail is amazing. You pass a lot of "landmarks" such as interesting river features, lean-tos, a suspension bridge, and even Noah John Rondeau's old hermitage. This breaks up the hike nicely and keeps it far from monotonous. Shortly after taking the Ward Brook Truck Trail to leave the NPT, we crossed the aforementioned swamp. The trail climbs briefly before returning to a moderate grade.
My boyfriend Greg hiked in some supplies (snacks, extra warm layers, a sleeping bag) in case something went wrong. However, things went so well that we met him only 2 miles into his hike instead of the planned 6. I gave him my small trail running pack to carry because I was getting my supported attempt's worth. My Garmin watch incorrectly logged our elevation gain as ~6000ft instead of ~2000ft so I edited that error to Strava's corrected elevation gain.
Our pace was respectable but definitely could be beat, even without running. We stopped a couple times to refill water, eat, and apply moleskin to blisters. This is a beautiful and classic Adirondack hike and hopefully someone else will claim the FKT soon!