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Dix Range Question

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  • Dix Range Question

    Planning to do the Dix range Saturday. I see Neil recently did this from Clear Pond. We are planning a round pond loop and returning to route 73 from Grace on the trail along the Bouquet.

    Does anyone know if the Bouquet trail is broken out??
    How about the stream crossings, any issues there???

    It seems like the route 73 access is shorter this time of year since the gate into Elk lake is closed......unless I am missing something.

  • #2
    Dix Range Loop from Clear Pond Parking Area
    ~30.1 km/~18.7 mi

    Dix Range Traverse from Round Pond Parking Area to Route 73 Stone Bridge
    ~26.2 km/~16.3 mi

    The traverse is 2.4 miles shorter but only if you have two cars, one at each end of the traverse. If you don't then the road-walk along route 73 adds 1.7 miles thereby making it nearly equivalent in length to the loop option.

    The traverse typically involves more route-finding because the Boquet Forks Trail is unmarked and less frequented than the Hunters Pass Trail, Beckhorn Trail, Slide Brook Trail, etc located on the west side of the Dix Range.

    The Traverse also involves water-crossings.
    1. North Fork Boquet near the former site of the Boquet River Lean-to. Usually frozen at this time of year.
    2. Western end of the South Fork Boquet River. Probably frozen now.
    3. Unnamed tributary of North Fork Boquet. Can be unfrozen even at this time of year.
    4. North Fork Boquet (northeast of Lilypad Pond). Can be unfrozen even at this time of year,
    5. Unnamed tributary leading out of Round Pond and into North Fork Boquet. Probably frozen.
    6. North Fork Boquet closest to Route 73 Stone Bridge. Probably not frozen. However, it's avoidable if you use the High Water Route (unmarked and faint even in summer; probably not evident in winter).
    The Loop involves retracing some of your own steps (handy if trail-breaking is involved). Obviously the Traverse involves no retracing (trail-breaking end to end).
    Looking for Views!


    • #3
      The Clear Pond road walk adds one hour (ie. one-way = 30 mins) onto the hike from Elk Lake . On Sunday (jan 14) the descent off the Beckhorn was very icy and we resorted to a bushwhack workaround and a short bushwhack traverse over to the trail.
      Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter.


      • #4
        From a risk assessment point of view, Boquet loop is higher risk:

        * You are totally committed when you descend Grace
        * You have no idea of the trail conditions farther down, broken out or not
        * You are totally dependent on the previous hikers, if "broken out", even if they had no idea where they were going or were lost and turned back
        * There are three major water crossings and several lesser crossings
        * Are you prepared to bushwhack if the water crossings are impassable?
        * Do you have backcountry navigation skills with map/compass to devise a route out
        * If you are following a GPS track, you are totally dependent on it to get out or not
        * At least a couple of hours of the Boquet exit will be in the dark; it is very easy to lose a trail in the dark

        In general, I prefer the Boquet route for a Dix traverse and have done it many times. But for these and other reasons, we chose to take the Clear Pond route this time. Once we were off the Beckhorn ice, we knew we had marked trails and road back to the car.

        Think about it.


        • #5
          Just to add to Joe's caveats above.

          A group of 5 of us had a very slow and difficult go of it one winter from Dix on (after starting at Round Pond) and omitted Macomb. We broke trail and wandered off and on the herd path continuously for hours and hours. We finally descended alongside the Great Slide in falling darkness and bullied our way out. I had a GPS (with no pre-loaded tracklog) so could at least follow our progress in the pitch dark. Then we hit a packed trail with only 3 inches of snow on it. Hallelujah! But then, after a crossing we thought it strange that we were ascending a fair bit so I re-started the GPS and lo and behold if we weren't on our way up Spotted Mountain! Using the instrument and our experience we bushwhacked in the dark back to the correct route and made it out OK. 'Twas a most memorable day!
          Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter.


          • #6
            Info is much appreciated, very good info and advice. Changed our plans and will start on the Bouquet trail......if dismal, we will turn around and head to Colvin/Blake.


            • #7
              my friends turned around the Bouquet trail on Sunday (by the lean 2). they didn't feel comfortable with the crossing. Another friend was ahead of them and managed to cross, buy decided to avoid the re-crossing in the dark and instead, did a traverse and made the arrangements to be picked up at Elk Lake.
              46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!


              • Neil
                Neil commented
                Editing a comment
                We ran into Francis during our Dix Range loop. We were surprised he made it across. We went via Elk Lake in order to avoid the crossing.

              • YanaLG
                YanaLG commented
                Editing a comment
                I was very surprised too! It had to be pretty bad for Marina and Jake to turn around. they can usually find a way!

            • #8
              We went in through the Boquet Foot trail today....the north fork was flowing pretty good. Ended up following some guys from Albany who went in on left side of Boquet and never crossed the north fork. Crossed several beaver dams and rejoined the main trail about 2 miles in. No water issues since we never crossed the north fork. South fork was semi solid with some sketchy ice bridges that we crisscrossed a couple of times. 10 of us tromped through so the trail is pretty packed and easy to follow. Lots of blowing snow today so the higher elevations are probably covered again.