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Indian Head. Is this place now a "thing"?

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  • Indian Head. Is this place now a "thing"?

    I paused on Indian Head yesterday to down a PB&J. Fifteen excited teenagers arrived for selfies, group shots, and to strike poses (including the victorious, full-body "X" pose). Has this place become some sort of go-to spot for Instagram and Facebook pics? Is it now a "thing"?
    • ​I was only slightly miffed by having 15 people reenacting "A Chorus Line" between me and the view from the lower ledge.
    • ​I was only mildly annoyed by the constant shouting to their friends standing at the higher ledge (and taking photos of their "victorious" pals on the lower ledge).
    • A threshold was crossed when two of them descended off-trail, below the lowest ledge, and began hurling rocks towards the lake.
    I got their attention to stop rock-throwing and motioned them to get back up. I turned to the chorus line, asked who was in charge and the response was "Nobody." I explained, in no uncertain terms, we're *all* standing on private land with rules of conduct. Their two pals were off-trail, violating the no-bushwhacking rule, and behaving in a way club members probably wouldn't appreciate. They were increasing the risk of having the club restrict access to this beautiful place. Most stood silent and only one said he had not seen the rules. I explained they're posted at the trailhead.

    ​Diminishing Indian Head's view into a mere backdrop for an internet meme is not likely to end well.
    Looking for Views!

  • #2
    Curmudgeon!

    (Rightly so.)


    FYI, when we were waiting at the spur to Rainbow Falls, my niece noticed something coming towards us. It was an old guy, looked like a sharply dressed day hiker. I asked where he was coming from. He told me that he had followed the pipe to find out where it went. (It went to the lake. Duh!)

    I didn't say anything to him, but should have. I need a little more Trail Bossing(TM) sometimes.
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 232/552
    Photos & Stuff

    Comment


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Because it was written, doesn't make it autochromatically true.
      /s

    • autochromatica
      autochromatica commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes it does!

    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Don't make me trailboss you.

  • #3
    The view from IH looking at the lake has become rather famous and therefore everyone wants to see it and selfies are the thing today. It's one thing for people to get outside, but I'm glad you said something to them. I've seen some things done on AMR property that are very much against the rules. I've always been thankful that they let us on their property and have never done anything to upset these nice folks.

    Comment


    • #4
      Given the recent example of Owls Head, it seems like a good idea to avoid providing private landowners with justification for restricting access to their property. I enjoy hiking in the AMR and it'd be a shame to lose access to it because of uninformed behavior.

      Even if it was public land, it's a bad idea to pitch rocks without knowing where they land because you have no idea who may be beneath you. I don't know if Ausable Club members climb or bushwhack below Indian Head and that's reason enough to avoid tossing rocks off the cliff.


      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • #5
        Buzzkill. (do the young folks still use that word?)

        I suppose Indian Head is the classic and most identifiable view in the Adirondacks. So yes... I guess it's a thing given the constant sharing of the view on social media. First off, easy hike. Second, for those who have seen the Adirondack 29 list floating around on-line Indian Head is one of the destinations. Not sure how many people are working that list but it's comprised of short-medium length hikes with great views. And third, for those not yet tackling the bigger/longer hikes of the 46 a spot like Indian Head is well known and recommended on just about every tourism web site for the Adirondacks. Unfortunately you probably hit it just at the wrong moment. Not to say there aren't countless other groups like you encountered out there but bad timing for you.

        Maybe it's time to line Lake Road with Burma Shave-esque roadside signs outlining the rules. Nobody reads them at the trailhead. Meting them out in bite-size doses as you walk the road might get people reading them. I'm only half kidding here. Other than direct interaction with every hiker entering any property, wilderness, or wild forest how do you get people to read/know the rules? Some strategically located eyesores for the first few hundred yards of every major trail might be the solution. I know it goes against all the rules of wilderness but better that than all the damage being done by those hikers breaking the rules/regs. My two cents.


        Comment


        • Trail Boss
          Trail Boss commented
          Editing a comment
          I wish I could claim having an excellent memory but it was a serendipitous reference. I recall seeing the original ads on TV (in glorious black & white and probably with a flaky horizontal-hold).

        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          haha... I figured you recalled it since you commented on it and posted an old Hai Karate commercial you found on youtube.

          The idea of signage like I'm suggesting is not new to the property. The "Stay back from the edge. Don't be a dropout" sign at the top of Rainbow Falls is kind of what I'm driving at. As I recall there are other signs like it around the AMR as well.

        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          Burma Shave, awesome. The first thing that came to mind was those South Of the Boarder billboards along the I-95 corridor, only with hashtags to get the attention of millennials.

          #no dogs
          #no cell phones
          #no headphones
          #hikers must stay on marked hiking trails
          #no swimming or fishing for non-members...

      • #6
        Good for you Taras! You did a public service and one that is uncomfortable to perform. It's amazing that people can't figure out what constitutes decent behavior and consideration for others on their own.

        Comment


        • #7
          Not sure if it's a "new" thing for groups of teenagers to hang out on Indian Head. Having spent leisurely afternoons / evenings there when camping at the nearby Gill Brook tent sites over the years it's not uncommon to see groups of Ausable Club kids having taken the bus up to the lake and throwing in an Indian Head visit. They'll sometimes arrive barefoot in dripping bathing suits.
          -Joe

          Comment


          • Trail Boss
            Trail Boss commented
            Editing a comment
            From lake to Indian Head with *dripping* bathing suits?

            Wow! They're fast!

            ... or is that dripping with sweat?


        • #8
          I'm not sure that the AMR has the authority to close any of the public trails that cross their lands. It would depend exactly on how the easement agreement is worded. Not that I disagree with anything that's been said here, there is definitely a certain amount of respect that that should be expected of all visitors onto AMR lands.

          For what it's worth, the AMR does have a rule prohibiting cell phone use, and the DEC repeats that rule on the DEC's webpage for the AMR and indicates that violation "will result in you being asked to leave the property." So feel free to let the selfie-taking crowd know about that next time.

          Comment


          • sendtomaz
            sendtomaz commented
            Editing a comment
            However, you might want to hide your GPS enabled smartphone first

          • Trail Boss
            Trail Boss commented
            Editing a comment
            Only the DEC's site mentions the no phones rule. It doesn't appear at the AMR's trail register nor on the pamphlets they provide. However, they do have a rule forbidding the use of headphones on the Lake Road. That one isn't on the DEC's site.

            PS
            Regarding the wording of their easement agreement, I'm sure they have more than 1 clever lawyer among their membership.
            Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-23-2017, 07:14 AM.

        • #9
          You are correct in suggesting that all who use the AMR property would have a certain respect for the fact that they are indeed, to a certain extent, "guests" on the property. I used a similar line on an earlier post regarding whether it was legal to stop and drop off hikers at the end of the Lake Road. Replied that it was "legal" since Ausable Road is a public road, but the reality is that if every hiking party did that on busy weekend the road would soon be jammed up with unloading vehicles. The final reply was to acknowledge that "etiquette" should be respected.

          As for the rule regarding cell phones, I think the Club has pretty much given up trying to enforce such a rule on its membership - or anyone else for that matter.

          That said, I was appalled by a Facebook post of the view from Indian Head that simply asked, "where is this and how do it get there". I hadn't realized that hike preparation had sunk so low. The poster did get some advice including "get a map".

          Comment


          • #10
            Cellphone use at the Club is prohibited except in private rooms, conference rooms, and cottages. Ditto for laptops, iPads, and other electronic devices. Enforcement is nil unless someone complains.

            Comment


            • Trail Boss
              Trail Boss commented
              Editing a comment
              If that's the case then they forgot to include that rule in the pamphlet they offer to the general public ... or on the signs posted at the trailhead.

              Do you know where else they may have this rule published so others can see it?


              FWIW, I have a vague recollection of seeing that rule posted somewhere on AMR land and it might have been along the Carry Trail (circa 2012). Effectively, it would've been seen by members traveling from Lower Ausable Lake to the inner sanctum of Upper Ausable Lake.

              Or I imagined it. :-/

          • #11
            I feel like social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) are exploiting our mountains in general and unprepared hikers are at an all time high. Anyone else feel that way? The video posted on FB by the Ranger of all the cars parked on the loj road on a Saturday morning just reinforces my thought. We saw at least three groups the other day on Marcy with minimal water, no way to filter fresh water, heading up with shorts, tank tops and a water bottle at 7 pm...one such group we had to steer away from the ski trail and point them to the correct route. On Facebook they are constantly expounding how "easy" a hike such as Phelps, Marcy & Tabletop in one day is. Now, for some hikers, that may be easy, but in my opinion, people are going out there totally based on what they have heard on the internet and not doing their own research. It makes me shake my head in wonder that there aren't more issues out there for the SAR teams. Things have changed even in the last 5 years.
            HPHikingmoo

            Comment


            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              hehehe... I do the same thing quite frequently.

              But yes... the number of people out there without a map or any idea where they are is staggering. Since this is a thread on Indian Head I will mention again (posted trip report a few moths ago) of how many people I ran into on my last visit there that had little to no idea where they were. We ran into 12 people on a cold/wet Sunday and helped 8 with directions. To Indian Head?!

              This is not confined to the High Peaks. Over the past three years I've been to maybe 75 different trailheads around the Adirondacks. Trails to big mountains, small mountains, fire towers, ponds, lakes, waterfalls, you name it. Seeing people with a map is a rarity. I've helped dozens and dozens of people with directions... on simple little trails. Maybe I'm a magnet for these kind of questions since I look the part of somebody who might know where they are. I've handed out extra copies of maps numerous times. Even "rescued" a couple on Crane Mountain who were bushwhacking around lost about 100 yards off-trail less than a quarter mile from the parking lot with no idea where they were. I'm surprised there aren't more people needing rescue. The research that people do is probably confined to where the trailhead is. Past that, the majority of people I run into are signpost hikers.

            • Trail Boss
              Trail Boss commented
              Editing a comment
              That's been my observation as well; many hikers navigate exclusively by trail signs.

              On the flip side:
              There's almost something comforting in the knowledge that despite the significant number of hikers who enter the woods with little preparation (or gear), almost all exit under their own power. Perhaps it's because for every umpteen unprepared hikers there's one prepared one, like Makwa and HPHikingMoo, who steers them out of harm's way. Or just beginner's luck.

              On a summer's weekend, you only have to wait a few minutes to meet another hiker in order to ask for directions/water/food/moleskin/etc. I'm not going to call that an advantage of "crowds" but it certainly does act like a safety net for the less self-sufficient members of the herd.

            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              The thing that would scare me most if I were still a newbie are the stories from all over the country of hiking deaths or being stranded for days. It seems I read one almost every other day now. There have been a lot of hiking deaths this year. Maybe the man vs nature aspect of the stories make for better headlines than deaths in other outdoor hobbies and that's why you see so many, but any halfway reasonable and careful person seeing these stories should have some awareness that hiking could be dangerous. You'd think more people would show up prepared. Or maybe I'm missing that unprepared hikers are probably unprepared with everything else in their lives as well and it's too much to ask they suddenly change their ways when it comes to a simple walk in the woods.

          • #12
            The video posted on FB by the Ranger of all the cars parked on the loj road on a Saturday morning just reinforces my thought.
            My car was in that video so I was definitely contributing to that scene. However, I see the problem as one of insufficient infrastructure more than anything else. Next to that is a lack of on-site education. The amount of resources (ie. money to pay for man-power and parking facilities) that NYS seems to be willing or able to allocate to improving the situation is clearly lacking. But, the uptick in the hiking population is relatively recent.

            Recently I was hiking a trail in Quebec that sees 40,000 people go up and the same 40,000 go back down every summer. The paved parking lots were very big and there was room for all the cars. The trail was a work of art in the stonework and it easily handled the flow of boots with no signs of wear. In spite of toilets at the very beginning and half-way up to the trail's endpoint there was a lot of TP trailside, which was a big disappointment for me. I collected a zip-lock full and will be sending a picture of it to the agency in charge (SEPAQ). There were several obvious and well-placed signs telling hikers how long the hike would take, and how much vertical there was and to be sure and carry 2 liters of water, to use use hiking poles, carry warm clothes etc. etc. In another park in Quebec there was very extensive planking across wet areas which was amazingly solid (3 4x6's wide atop 8x8 cross beams, solidly held together by hardware).
            One difference between Quebec and the Dacks is that in Quebec you have to pay either an annual or day-use access fee. All the money received, we are told, goes to trail facilities and improvements. Everyone simply has to pay and I heard no griping on the trail.

            There are challenges to establishing a similar set-up in the Adirondacks but they are far from insurmountable.
            1111111111

            Comment


            • Natlife
              Natlife commented
              Editing a comment
              Parking and privies are one thing, and I totally agree about the need for more of that, but the trails themselves are mostly fine, and honestly I believe the ruggedness is part of the appeal for many people.

              I'm digressing here, but I wish the SEPAQ would have more of less maintained and adventurous trails instead of almost perfect briddle paths. I want a route up the acropole des draveurs that is not following the most spaced contour lines. If we had that maybe the dacks would be less crowded by frenchies

          • #13
            See pic #1...

            http://www.timesunion.com/living/art...n-12302057.php

            Comment


            • Trail Boss
              Trail Boss commented
              Editing a comment
              Enough hashtags to choke a horse! :-/

              I don't imagine she got there in those polka-dot high-heels.


              Indian Head. Sure looks like "a thing" don't it?

          • #14
            I've often wondered exactly what AMR's "no cellphone use" actually means. I assume it means no using the device as a phone, because people talking on the phone are annoying others who are not part of the conversation. But I use mine as a GPS and a camera, and would like to know if there's any problem with that.
            Mike

            ADK 46r #8003; 6W
            2nd round: 16
            SL6r #596
            Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

            Comment


            • #15
              Originally posted by Neil View Post

              There are challenges to establishing a similar set-up in the Adirondacks but they are far from insurmountable.
              As a solution to overcrowding in the Dacks, you seems to suggest that put access fees is a solution...., I cannot disagree more with you on that suggestion . I am a paying member of a park administered by SEPAQ in Quebec, at this park that I frequent about 4-5 times a week for almost half a century......, I have seen what the administration does with the money we are giving them.

              A few examples

              1- They close an old trail to open a new one merely within a hundred feet of the old one and they use the tree they have cut to prevent access to the old one.

              2- The trails are always widened to allow the passage of their newer wider trucks despite the fact that the park has been designated as a preservation area.

              3- Opening a new lodge and at the same time closing an old one that was within 500 feet from the new one. to destroyed five years later the newly built one to construct another one where the old one was....


              I am glad that the Dacks are (mostly) free of fees as some people would not be able to pay the $8.50 per person per day as in Quebec. Obviously those with deep pockets wont have a problem with that, but I think it is a good idea to be able to give free access to public land.

              Once you give money to a public organization, then forget it , the fees will always increase and may not be use to the best.....
              Last edited by nangaparbat; 10-26-2017, 07:32 PM.
              8000m 0/14

              Comment


              • autochromatica
                autochromatica commented
                Editing a comment
                I regret that I can only 'like' this one time.

              • Trail Boss
                Trail Boss commented
                Editing a comment
                A SEPAQ park is like a US national park where user-fees are also collected. The operations in a national park are also quite different from what happens in the High Peaks (for better or worse).

                Perhaps a more accurate comparison would be to Canadian Crown land (public land) where there's little or no infrastructure.
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