Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Stillwater Junction, NH
Trails: Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail, Wilderness Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 2, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: I was the third car at Nancy Pond trailhead in the morning (the end point of this three-day backpacking trip). Hancock trailhead was mostly full at 8:30 AM. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossings on Hancock Notch and Cedar Brook were trivial. The crossing of Crystal Brook on Wilderness Trail could maybe be rock-hopped by someone with a good sense of balance, but I was alone, carrying an overnight pack, and not too confident about the grippiness of the rocks, so I put my waders on for that one. The crossing of Carrigain Brook on Wilderness Trail is wide, but a line of rocks have been placed to the side to cross one part of it, and then there are enough rocks to cross the rest of the way - your boots (which should be waterproof if you're going this far into the wilderness) might get a little wet, but your feet shouldn't. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The upper part of Cedar Brook Trail north of the height-of-land is in pretty rough shape, with lots of mud, water running down the trail, and numerous blowdowns. There were scattered mudpits elsewhere as well, as one should expect since it's been such a rainy summer. Plenty of blowdowns elsewhere as well, but not an inordinate amount. Signs are all in place, and were new-looking. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: These trails should be fine for dogs. 
Bugs: Some - they were most noticeable whenever I would stop to eat something. Mostly black flies. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing. 
Comments: This was Day 1 of a three-day backpacking trip in the eastern Pemi Wilderness to redline 25 new miles of trails. I was driven from Nancy Pond trailhead to the Hancock trailhead in the morning. Hancock Notch Trail was straightforward and fast. Cedar Brook Trail is a bit rougher, and the relocation a few tenths of a mile in is extremely muddy. After the junction with Hancock Loop Trail, Cedar Brook Trail climbs moderately up to the height-of-land - this section was rough in places but not too bad. The first mile or so of the descent down the other side is in pretty bad shape - lots of mud and long sections with water running down the trail. But after that, the old roads and railroad grade that the trail follows were in mostly good shape, with only a few muddy areas. Wilderness Trail mostly follows an old railroad grade, and it was pretty straightforward. The sections off the railroad grade were somewhat rougher and muddier, but not terrible. Sections of the trail near Stillwater Junction run through beautiful forest groves - that area is definitely an attractive spot. When I reached the Carrigain Branch, I noticed a campsite just to the right of the trail. I went up to Stillwater Junction, where there are no obvious campsites without crossing the East Branch, and headed briefly down Carrigain Notch Trail but didn't see anything (Carrigain Notch Trail's campsites are closer to the junction with Desolation Trail), so I headed back to the campsite along the Carrigain Branch and camped there. There's another campsite right where Carrigain Branch flows into the East Branch, reached by a herd path to the left (eastbound) just before Wilderness Trail crosses the Carrigain Branch. Even though there were two hikers who camped at that other campsite this night, the whole area has an amazing sense of remoteness. It's in the middle of nowhere, and it feels like it.  
Name: GN 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-09-04 
Link: https:// 
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