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Let's talk about: Boquet Forks Trail

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  • #31
    Most of the swimmers are coming in during July and August, on sunny days, so they basically never encounter high water. But I am sure they would just muck their way around it a few feet up the slope; they are not going to unnecessarily climb way up a hill.
    So, in times of high water, it's not a viable alternative to the "old crossing". Which, of course, is moot to swimmers because they're not around in spring-melt conditions. For hikers who see a raging Boquet, they either take the High Ground and hope they can cross at Shoebox Falls or choose to start on the north side from the get go.

    But I understand mbowler's comment - this forum may not be the place for the final map to be published.
    I don't get your meaning there. The final map will be published on OpenStreetMap.

    Ideally, this information (map and directions) would be included in the ADK High Peaks map and guidebook.
    If you have the 12th edition, it's on page 224. In the 13th edition it's on page 204 (and shown on the accompanying map). I don't have the 14th edition but I imagine it's in there as well because it's on the latest map.

    I hope we get some input from some other frequent users - I know there are several people here who have been in that area at least as many times or more than I have.
    Me too but I think they all got to the bottom of their bowl of popcorn and have moved on to other threads.
    Looking for Views!


    • #32
      It's still viable - the side hill section is quite short, and then you are back to nice dry smooth flat trail all the way to Shoebox, with no hill climb. Although I do think that if we want to promote a "high-water" alternative, we should rehabilitate and promote the "north side from the beginning" trail. As Thomas pointed out, it can be followed; but it needs work. It's harder to use than it was 30 years ago.

      Well of course this is mbowler's comment, not mine. But I believe he is commenting on what appears to be the publication of a tracklog on the forum.

      Yes, I have the guidebook and the map, of course. But the information that is in there is very limited in detail. Many trails and features that are routinely used and popular are not mentioned or shown. As I said very early in the thread, this trail system has gotten popular enough that it now needs to be managed. To my mind this would include "on the ground" management (blocking false paths, consolidating braided multiple routes, adding a few signs and markers, etc.) to create a clear, visible trail system. (Much as has been done in other areas that have become riddled with multiple paths.) Then that new level of detail can be shown in the guidebook.

      I have watched the mazes of paths develop in there for a number of years, and I have thought for about the last ten years that it has been time for some management of this area, beyond today's "benign neglect" policy.


      • #33
        100% agree that it has grown in popularity and could benefit from management. Things have changed since the Dix Mountain Wilderness UMP was published in 2004 (PDF file). Page 83 describes the trail like so:

        Class II Foot Trail
        Name: North Fork Bouquet River
        Length: 3.3
        Marker: none
        Maintenance: use
        Notes: Herdpath

        It's map shows an abbreviated version of the trail network that now exists.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	DMW UMP Map.JPG Views:	1 Size:	45.1 KB ID:	481678

        I skimmed the UMP and it seems most of the focus at the time was on the Round Pond-Dix Mtn area and the unmarked trails in the Elk Lake area (on the western slope of the Dix Range).

        It's a beautiful area that's getting a bit dog-eared in spots because of unsustainable hiking/camping practices. However, I have my doubts the DEC has the bandwidth to make basic improvements in this area, let alone re-engineer the trails. In 2004 they identified "Maintenance" as being "use" and I think it sums up how it works today as well. I think "use" is another way of saying "benign neglect". :-/

        Looking for Views!


        • #34
          Thanks, Taras.

          Yes, Joe Cedar pointed that map out to me yesterday. It's a little sad, almost laughable that even in 2004, DEC couldn't get it right regarding this trail system. Even in the 1980s, before the development of all the side trails, the main trail extended all the way to the campsite at

          and this was described in the 1980s ADK guidebook. And I walked into that campsite in 1984, and the trail was faint but evident, as was the campsite.

          Looks like DEC did not even pick up and read the acknowledged definitive guidebook when they wrote the 2004 UMP.


          • #35
            Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
            First, I could not find an official name
            I don't know of an official name either, but we've always referred to the high ground trail (i think you mark it as #1) as Charlie's trail, named for Charlie Martin of Lewis. He's always maintained the trail, right up until his death about three years back. Since then, the trail has been pretty rough in places and could probably use a new adopter. The brook trail has really takes a beating in the summer with swimmer traffic and has been getting seriously degraded over the last 10 years. After that, Charlie's trail was the most ecological and feasible way to get in there.

            The whole area is locally referred to as High Bridge, named for the old bridge whose remains can still be seen when it towered above the North Fork.

            Does anyone remember the beaver pond that is now returned to meadow that once existed just above the Shoebox?

            Thanks for sharing the Heat map technology. Really interesting stuff.


            • #36
              Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
              There are, I believe, 2 designated campsites close to route 73 (not depicted in OSM) and one farther west about 2/3 of the way to Grace.
              Do you plan to add these to OSM?

              Did I read somewhere that there's a campsite along the high water route?


              • #37

                Many thanks for the details. Where exactly are the remains of "High Bridge"? I assume they're very close (beneath?) the existing route 73 bridge over the North Fork? Do you know when High Bridge was demolished?

                Originally posted by sendtomaz View Post
                Do you plan to add these to OSM?
                It depends. I only show designated campsites that I've visited and are clearly marked with a yellow "Camp here" disk. The only (two) exceptions I've made are if a DEC ranger confirms the diskless site is, in fact, a designated campsite.

                For the folks who say "Just use DEC's SLIM." as a guide, I say it's out of date. "State Land Interactive Mapper" (SLIM) purportedly shows the location of all lean-tos and designated campsites. However, in practice, it contains many omissions and errors. It shows the non-existent Bear Brook Lean-to, it doesn't show the designated campsite in the vicinity of Deer Brook Lean-to, and it shows zero campsites along the entire length of the Boquet Forks Trail (despite the DEC's UMP showing several).

                I've visited the campsite closest to Grace and it has a designated campsite marker, so I added it to OSM. I don't recall seeing a marker at the campsite on the esker and I have not surveyed the sites close to route 73 (so none of them are in OSM). Similarly, SLIM shows two campsites at Malfunction Junction, one is a car-camping site and the other is along the river. The riverside site is marked, and shown in OSM, whereas the roadside site is not marked and therefore not in OSM. Unless a DEC ranger confirms the site is legal, I don't know if the marker was removed officially or unofficially (or just fell off).

                Last edited by Trail Boss; 11-15-2017, 12:25 PM. Reason: Typo.
                Looking for Views!


                • #38
                  Dix Mountain Wilderness (DEC)

                  Five primitive campsites can be found along or nearby a 1.5-mile herd path along the North Fork of the Bouquet River leading to Lilypad Pond. These can be accessed from informal parking areas near the Route 73 Bridge over the river.


                  • #39
                    I like Taras's careful approach.

                    As pointed out earlier in the thread, the discussion in the DEC Dix UMP was woefully obsolete, even 20 years before it was published.


                    • #40
                      The DEC's web-page for the Dix Mtn Wilderness is very detailed and I wish I could just run with it but I can't. It explains a designated campsite has a "Camp Here" marker. It proceeds to say there are five of them along the North Fork. Where? Well, let's download the PDF map and find out. Oops! None of the five appear on the map. So we move on to looking at SLIM and discover it doesn't show them either.

                      I believe OSM should restrict itself to showing legal designated-campsites. It should not show legal primitive-campsites because they're permitted most everywhere by the 150' rule (and 3500/4000' ceiling). It should definitely not show illegal primitive-campsites. Therein lies the problem. Without a yellow disk, how can you tell a designated-campsite from an illegal primitive-campsite? You can easily confuse the two because there are several marked designated-campsites that do not comply with the 150' rule. That's why I restrict what appears in OSM to what is unquestionably a marked designated site.

                      For the folks wondering why I don't use what is shown in the ADK Mtn Club's High Peaks map, there's a simple reason. I can't by design. OpenStreetMap forbids you from using copyrighted material. I can't use the Club's maps (or Google's satellite imagery). In addition, all maps have a "shelf life" and eventually portions of them become stale. That's why I prefer to survey a campsite so I'm confident that, at least at the time of entry, I've added verified information to OSM. It may eventually becomes stale but at least I didn't blindly copy someone else's stale information (copyrighted or not).

                      I also believe bushwhack routes and shortcuts do not belong in OSM. I know of several in the High Peaks and will not add them. If they were to appear on a map, you're marketing them as being established routes ... and potentially contradict the goals of local land managers and other organizations. For example, drawing a route from Gray to Marcy would have me dodging darts from groups dedicated to preserving the High Peaks Wilderness. It's one thing to see it in Strava's Heatmap, it's altogether another to see it in OSM, a map that appears by default in almost every navigation app.
                      Looking for Views!


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post

                        Many thanks for the details. Where exactly are the remains of "High Bridge"? I assume they're very close (beneath?) the existing route 73 bridge over the North Fork? Do you know when High Bridge was demolished?
                        If you visit the trailhead on the north side of the river, there is clearly a rough road which was once part of the original road to Keene. Before you embark on the high water trail, there is a campsite, and a level above that where you can look across the river where the bridge was.

                        The old road is an interesting walk too from the south side of the river to Malfunction Junction. It parallels the current 73, and so on the other side of the river you can link up with it from where the old bridge level is and follow it right into the woods. I always wanted to walk the length of it with a metal detector.

                        It's definitely been a long time since that road was in operation, as there are 70 year old trees growing up through it. I don't know about the bridge though. It seems like it was used before the current bridge was constructed since the spur road cuts up there on both sides of the river.

                        As for campsites, there are a few marked campsites if you deviate from the usual trail at the obvious spot where it follows the bank down to cross the North Fork. If you stay on the high road above the North Fork it ends near a very nice campsite overlooking some falls. Just a reminder this place is a treasure trove of natural beauties to explore.

                        Has anyone explore the old logging trails up from the campsite where the falls are on the South Fork. Another branch of the south fork dumps into the main river here with a series of cascading falls at the campsite. There are a series of trails that follow the river up. I've never followed them all the way up, but would like to sometime.

                        EDIT: I've stumbled across some research indicating the current bridge was built in 1935. It must have been an engineering feat in it's day, along with the highway.


                        • Festus
                          Festus commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Kiwassa - 1935 sounds correct for the date of the High Bridge replacement bridge (current bridge) as that is when the current Chapel Pond Road was built (the third Chapel Pond Road). In 1812 the first road was built and it followed the trail to Round Pond and then generally followed Twin Pond Outlet Brook and crossed the North Fork of the Boquet just above the stream crossing sites being discussed in this thread (100 feet above Shoebox Falls/Swimming Hole). The second Chapel Pond Road was built in the 1860s and it actually stayed in the pass where the current Route 73 goes. Its' remains are what you followed from the High Bridge site to a little north of Malfunction Junction. The old logging roads up the North and South Forks are interesting. I've traced the logging roads way up the North Fork (both trunk and branch lines) but have had less success up the South Fork. The logging road up the South Fork is currently maintained as a hunter's trail and leaves Route 73 from the parking area just north of Malfunction Junction. It climbs up a small bank and heads up the South Fork on its southeastern side. This parking area was once referred to as the old gravel pit and was close to where the old junction of Route 73 and Route 9 were before malfunction junction existed. Ascents of East Dix started from here in the early 1950s and followed the old logging road. The old logging road crossed the South Fork to the right bank at a spot where the current herd trail runs into the stream and then makes a sharp left (thus not crossing the brook). This is perhaps 1.5 miles up the trail from the parking pull-off. Anyway, this logging road continued on the right side of the brook and then again crossed back to the left side and followed it up to the area that is the near the campsite you mentioned (and everyone passes as they climb East Dix). I lost the road perhaps 1 mile before the campsite on the South Fork but I remember 2 interesting clues. When I was a kid I distinctly remember bushwacking up Spotted (and my favorite peak - E'Town # 4) and somewhere during that day I came across a logging camp, stove etc. I can't remember where but am determined to find that spot again. The second artifact is a metal rod driven into a boulder at the head of the great swimming hole, 3 minutes above the fore mentioned campsite on the herd trail to East Dix (the rod is in a boulder just 5 feet or so off the trail). Definitely logging related...but why there and for what purpose? Dam maybe? Also one of my favorite beaver clearings is off to the right of the South Fork (NW side) perhaps 5 minutes before the spot where the trail makes a sharp left and the old logging road crossed the South Fork. Large boulders mark the spot to cross and after climbing a steep bank (with a dry outlet stream) one comes to a very nice spot (within 3 minutes of the South Fork). The fore mentioned 1812 state road crossed the outlet of these ponds...Beautiful area!

                        • Kiwassa
                          Kiwassa commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Wow, thanks. I'll have to continue my exploration here. I've been meaning to visit more of the south fork. I've only bushwhacked it from the pass south of Lilypad.
                          I've seen the rod in the rock on the south fork. That story of the lumber camp is pretty neat! Don't give up on finding it.
                          I can see how the road came down from Twin pond. There is a debris pile, and a pitchfork stuck in a tree on the outlet not far from the North Fork.

                      • #42
                        Yes, 1935 would be the date of construction for the current bridge. That was when the current two-lane highway was built through Chapel Pond Pass. It replaced a one-lane dirt road that was drivable, but apparently an "adventure" if one met another car at certain places. The protocol was for the vehicle coming downhill to back up on the theory that that vehicle would have better control. Also a minor error into a ditch wouldn't be that hard to correct when compared to backing into a ditch going downhill.

                        According to my father, the contractor building the road had a terrible time with the loose sand bank on the steep descent to the current Roaring Brook trailhead and apparently went bankrupt because the contract had been bid too low. Until the Northway was built, this route was designated as "86A", not "73".. It was also a lighter duty road with just sandy shoulders and slightly narrower travel lanes than are now there.


                        • Festus
                          Festus commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Interesting Tony - That explains why the old accounts of hiking East Dix mention starting at the gravel pit where Route 9 and Route 86 meet, (I always thought that was a typo)...I also remember your Dad stating that the blasting of that small road cut just north of Chapel Pond (but within site of it) was the final straw that almost sent that company into bankruptcy...

                      • #43
                        Just for fun, look here:


                        I stumbled across that looking for the Rock of Gibralter...
                        Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                        Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                        Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                        Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                        CEO Views And Brews!

                        Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to