Stillwater Junction

I felt compelled, although now I only have 4 days to recover. It was about 21.5 miles total and it took 7:05. The route was from the Willey House Station Site on 302 (about 4 miles past the AMC Highland Center). I took the AT (Ethan Pond Trail) to Shoal Pond Trail, to the Wilderness Trail and returned via Thoreau Falls Trail->Ethan Pond->etc.


  1. I only took my little Black Diamond pack. I brought very little food and 2L of water. I had two ounces of trail mix, 50% of a hammer flask and an entire flask filled with something I'm not going to tell you about right now - kind of low calorie, but protein-filled and nutritious. Think Perpetuem.
  2. I got lost. That's the downside to not bringing a map or compass into the Pemigewassett Wilderness. I got lost at Stillwater Junction itself. It's remarkably easy to go the wrong way there, and upon entering a small clearing, looked left, looked right, and headed left. It only took 10 minutes and I knew it was the wrong choice. I made it back to the clearing and heard a 'woof'. Amazingly, the first people I encountered (and the only ones I would encounter in the Pemi it turned out), were lost like I was, only they had come from the Wilderness Trail and were trying to find their way to Shoal Pond. Apparently the confusion was profound from either direction. Needless to say, we helped each other by describing how to get back where we had come from. It was like chocolate and peanut-butter colliding. The 'woof' was from a beautiful yellow lab.
  3. I got lost again. This time it was on the Thoreau Falls Trail, which parallels the North Fork of the Pemigewassett River. It's a pretty substantial river - almost exactly like where the bridge from Lincoln Woods Campground crosses (where tMail, the MPM and I soaked after Owl's Head). It was swollen from all the rain, and somebody had placed saplings across the trail indicating a river crossing. After finally crossing, I found myself on an old railroad grade where people camp - so there was a trail paralleling the river so it all seemed fine.... eventually I had to cross back.
  4. I had major intestinal problems. I dropped two Screaming Steamers off the trail - probably scared away a bear or two. By the time I was back on the AT, I was dehydrated and miserable and was just dragging myself along. All I could think of was Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk who protested the US occupation of Vietnam and set himself on fire while sitting in the lotus position and never moved (back in '63). Oh yeh, that and "Touching The Void". I was convinced that if I only thought about those two things I would make it back to the car. I was so out of it I passed two streams before realizing that I could refill.
  5. Shoal Pond itself is beautiful. The trail goes through a few miles of thick marsh, both open and woodland. I was ankle deep in thick black mud, but the blooming iris made up for the fucking mosquitos.
  • Left map and compass in car on purpose.
  • Put on bug spray at car, left bottle in car on purpose. Because of mosquitos, couldn't stop at all other than to drop a mutha-bomb or two and refill water.
  • Haven't gotten the intestinal thing figured out. Will sterilize camelbak and hammer flasks before Jay.
  • Should have brought Immodium.
  • I tried carrying the Hammer flask in my hand whenever I could run so that the holster didn't wobble. I did that over about 15 miles and learned to hate the Hammer flask.
  • The little pack was plenty. The only gear I brought that I didn't use were a cell phone and a spare pair of socks.
  • I brought my MSR water filter. Damn good thing. I drank 4L of water and used it twice.
  • I brought an empty nalgene (for the filter - I don't have a camelbak adapter) but put food in baggies in it. It's so light it was a great idea. Because the food was in baggies, I could put it back in after using the nalgene for water. I actually carried it in my hand for the last 3 miles.
  • Had food waiting in the car (2 bananas, chocolate milk, raisin oatmeal cookie, beef jerky and other beverages in cooler). Smart move.
If I hadn't gotten lost twice and had to drop two screamers I think I could've done it in 6 hours. I think as long as I don't have this shits on Saturday I can hit 10 hours. I still feel pretty crappy, but better. Now it's recovery time.


  1. pretty good. no real aches or pains except a little in my hip joints - the same pain i get in marathons. oddly, my trapezius muscles ache. even so, i'm going to take it easy for the rest of the week. i have to put up a hay storage shed and some other physical things, but i'm not going to run at all.

    i decided for sure that i'm going to use the black diamond pack at jay.

  2. My legs need 2 days of rest and my anus needs at least 24hrs of recovery due to a visit to "Buffalo Wild Wings" last night in TX!

    Looks liek rain for Jay... bring your umbrella and your rubbers.