Weekend in the Whites


October 2nd, 2017

Hello! This is Jack O’Malley, the newest addition to the T3 staff giving an update on work at T3 and life in Maine so far, including my latest adventure last weekend!

Last week marked the end of one full month at T3 for me. The month started off with a bang with my first official day being the second day of the Life Happens Outside Festival. This month has been a pretty busy one, filled with settling into a new place and a new job along with getting used to not going back to school. Being in Maine during the fall has been a terrific experience so far. Almost every weekend I have managed to get outside and go hiking. This last weekend I decided to try my hand at the Pemigewasset Loop -- a 31 mile beast with 18,000 feet of net elevation change.

In the end it turned out to be harder than I was expecting. I planned on doing the hike in two days, with each day being around 15 miles. After driving to the trailhead late in the night and spending a night of not very restful sleep in the back of my car and getting up at the crack of dawn, I began my hike. The first part of the trail was a flat walk out on a trail which used to be a railroad from the days when the Pemigewasset Wilderness was a hotbed of logging activity. Then I began to climb the first of what would be five 4000+ ft peaks with the (literal) high point being Mt Lafayette. I was lucky and had nearly crystal-clear views of the surrounding area and was able to see Mt Washington looming in the distance.

At that point I was getting tired and my foot had started to hurt. This worried me a little because I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis on and off for about a year. I figured a break and some stretching would hopefully fix it. The next part of the hike, between Lafayette and Mt Garfield, was deceptively challenging. When you look out towards Garfield from the peak of Lafayette it seems like a pretty simple hike down and then back up to the next summit.

However, I quickly found out that there is a good deal of ascending and descending before I got to the top of Garfield. At this point my foot was really starting to hurt and I was questioning whether it was a good idea to keep going. I started to head to the Galehead hut (my intended destination for the night), but about halfway there I decided to call it quits and find a spot to backcountry camp instead of pushing on. That night I made the tough call to bail out of doing the rest of the loop the next day. Instead of hiking across another range of mountains, I hiked down the ridge I was camped on and through the middle of the Pemigewasset Wilderness to get back to my car. Even though the views were not as spectacular, the hike through the woods offered it’s own kind of beauty and solitude as I was hiking along abandoned railroad tracks.

Even though I didn’t finish the hike, the Pemigewasset Wilderness was an incredible place to spend a weekend. Being able to look out from the top of Mt Garfield and not see a single man-made object was a pretty powerful thing to see. I can’t wait to get back out there and finish the hike (although this time with more supportive footwear).