Zealand Notch to Mount Carrigain Trail Run

Date of Hike: 9/29/13

Zealand Tail:  2.5 miles  /  Ethan Pond Trail: 2.6 miles  /  Thoreau Falls Trail: 0.2 miles  /  Shoal Pond Trail: 4.0 miles  /  Carrigain Notch Trail: 0.8 miles  /  Desolation Trail: 1.9 miles  /  Signal Ridge Trail: 5.0 miles
Total Miles: 17.0 (3,250 elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- On Sunday I went for a nice long trail run with Bob & Geri, their dog Dusty, Denise, and Steve.  Our route for the day would take us through some of the most picturesque trails found in the White Mountains.  The highlights would be hiking through Zealand Notch as we made our way below Whitewall Mountain, making a side trip to the beautiful Thoreau Falls, and traveling along the secluded and lightly used ancient railroad corridor of the Shoal Pond Trail to the remote Stillwater Junction.
- For the second straight day the weather could not have been any better. This would be Steve's longest trail run (not longest hike).  He was sporting his really cool looking bright blue and yellow INOV8 trail runners.  He was having a blast and his energy made everyone laugh constantly, he even jumped in the Shoal Brook just for the hell of it!
- At one of the water crossings Bob spotted a wolf spider, it was really scary so I walked to the other side of the brook and stayed away, it was a monster.  Spiders fascinate me and freak me out!
- The Shoal Pond Trail is a really great trail; some sections are muddy, some sections are overgrown, and some sections travel through a very distinguished old railroad bed.  At one spot along the trail there is a beautiful sloping rock slab, with a tiny cascade and a gem pool beneath it making for a great place to relax and enjoy the wilderness.
- After relaxing at the pool we headed for Stillwater Junction and then jumped on the Carrigain Notch Trail to the site of the old Desolation Shelter before steeply ascending up to Mount Carrigain's summit.  Still Water Junction to the Desolation Trail junction is one of my favorite spots in the White Mountains, it's very beautiful and if hiking solo gives off a very remote and eerie feeling walking through the pine groves.
- The hike up to Mount Carrigain was a steep one but we made good time up to the summit tower.  Along the way there is an old telephone wire that snakes just off the trail, which is pretty cool to see.
- We took a nice long twenty minute break at the tower and enjoyed the great 360 degree views before booking it down the mountain.  I'm not a huge fan of the newly relocated section of the Signal Ridge Trail, it seems to add on a few tenths of a mile up a side hill before dropping to the Carrigain Notch Trail a few tenths further down from where it used to join the trail.  Miles off my life that I can't get back ;)
- At the car we drove back to Zealand and had some soda and crackers before I made the long trek back to Lil' Rhody, ending another great weekend in the White Mountains!
Beautiful day along the Zealand Trail 
 Zealand Trail board walk
 Zealand Pond
 Spider web on the water
 Pretty nifty water web!
 Geri running through Zealand Notch
 Denise and Steve trail running along the Ethan Pond Trail
 Ethan Pond Trail
 Tiny alpine meadow on the eastern shoulder of Mount Bond
Throeau Falls 
 North Fork
 Shoal Pond
 Shoal Pond
 Mount Carrigain
 Dusty, Bob, and Denise lead the way
 Shoal Pond Trail
 Running the Shoal Pond Trail
 A tiny pool of water along the Shoal Pond Brook
 A nice little gem pool right off the trail
 Dusty, Bob, and Denise enjoying the pool
 Taking a nice break
 Shoal Pond Brook Gem Pool
 Steven helping Geri cross the Shoal Pond Brook
An overgrown section of trail 
 Shoal Pond Trail
 Stillwater Junction
 Stillwater Junction
 Dusty leads the way up the steep Desolation Trail
 Pemi Wilderness Boundary on top of Mount Carrigain
 Pemigewasset Wilderness
 Zealand Notch
 Whitewall Mountain
 Shoal Brook
 Where we cam from
 Owl's Head and the Franconia Ridge
 Stairs Mountain
 Mount Lowell
 New Bog bridges on the Signal Ridge Trail
 Carrigain Notch / Signal Ridge Trail Junction

Carrigain Notch / Signal Ridge Trail Junction 

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