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Bear Brook lean-to removed

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Festus View Post
    The trail originally followed the old logging road down to the logging header field where the ranger station currently sits and thus it did pass the Ranger Cabin. The old trail branches off (left) from the current trail about 5 minutes before the current campsite high above the Ranger Cabin...

    The link in post 10 is their directions to the lean-to.

    This link is their directions to the lodge and is identically outdated.

    I suppose it's possible that these directions have been copied from document to document since the 70's without anyone paying any attention. Did the two lean-tos exist in the 70's?

    The reference to the Bear Brook lean-to is amusing. But the instructions to follow the Phelps trail and then take the "trail past the Ranger Station" will actually send one in the wrong direction.


    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Both lean-tos used to be located next to the Phelps Trail so they also served as milestones. I slept in the Bear Brook lean-to around 1980. It was removed a few years ago and Deer Brook lean-to was relocated uphill and out of sight of the trail. Therefore it no longer serves as a milestone when giving directions to JBL. The sign indicating the spur trail to the lean-to isn't nearly as good of a milestone as seeing the lean-to itself.

      Besides a few bridges, the most obvious thing you see on the way to JBL is the trail-register (left for the ranger station, right for JBL) and that's at 95% of the distance to JBL!

  • #17
    I found a piece of an old ADK HP map and, lucky-lucky, it was the part containing Johns Brook. There's no date on this fragment but it predates the practice of numbering the trails to correspond with the guidebook's description. It can't be older than the late 70's because that's when I started hiking in the High Peaks and purchased my first ADK guidebook (and map).

    Sorry for the blurry photo but it shows enough detail to see how the Phelps Trail is portrayed.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	JBL -  Old ADK HP Map.jpg Views:	1 Size:	121.6 KB ID:	481712
    Looking for Views!


    • #18
      Nice find.

      Is the circle the ranger station? If so it shows the trail passing south of the station. But I imagine the trail passed north of the station and there just wasn't room to show the station there.

      P.S. Impressive that they built that bypass on Southside in anticipation of Irene ...


      • #19
        I believe the "circle" icon identifies the presence of a Ranger Station but does not necessarily correspond to its precise location. For example, Johns Brook Lodge is identified with a large "house" icon. However, JBL's precise location is the tiny black square, below the icon, that's partially obscured by the Phelps Trail. Similarly, the precise location of the Ranger Station is the tiny square that's partially obscured by the trail connecting Southside to Phelps (i.e. south of the Phelps Trail).
        Looking for Views!


        • #20
          OK, so we have confirmation from a couple of sources that what is now the Southside Trail connector north of the station was previously the Phelps Trail. So when was the Phelps Trail rerouted?


          • #21
            • In Bruce Wadsworth's "An Adirondack Sampler", printed in 1979, it describes the Phelps Trail the way it's shown in the old ADK HP map (above).
            • I have the 2nd edition (printed in 1985) of the PQ&C Associates map and it shows the Phelps Trail the way it's drawn in the old ADK HP map (above) along with (what looks like) a high-water route. Part of this bypass looks a bit like where the current trail runs.
            • I hiked there in the early 80's but can't recall that detail about the trail and Ranger Station.
            • I hiked to Saddleback and Basin in 2011 and the trail was in its current form.
            So it changed after the 80's and before 2011. Long enough to make the current directions to JBL quite stale.
            Looking for Views!


            • #22
              As I mentioned, I hiked through there the first time in about 1985, and I think that the re-route had just happened at that time.


              • #23
                As Festus said, the old trail went left about five minutes before one now reaches the junction and trail register. It followed an above-ground phone line down to the ranger station - called "ranger station" even though no true "ranger" was actually posted there. As tcd noted, it was quite muddy. As of 1968 (my third year working at JBL) the then-caretaker, Spencer Cram, did a reroute to avoid that muddy section that went a short way past the old turnoff, and then came down a somewhat steep bank right to the ranger station. That was the route for a few years before the current route was established.

                The bypass on the Southside Trail was created in the early 1960s for the purpose of hauling materials for the suspension bridge that was in use until 2004 or 2005. That bypass of course also helped the camp owners on Orebed Brook use and maintain their camps. The original lumber road along Johns Brook washed out in the 1920s in the middle of the construction of JBL. I seem to remember that most of the material had been delivered to the site of JBL, but some had to be hauled in by other means to finish the lodge.

                Finally, I forwarded a copy of the outdated directions to the Loj to let them know that they possibly had a problem. The initial reaction was that this description was not what they routinely sent out and that possibly that description came from some other source. I haven't heard back, but there is no question, given that it is a PDF document, that it circulated long after it was current. When that trail description was still current, "PDF" just meant "pretty darn fast."


                • #24
                  Do you take copious amounts of notes? Or just have a vault for a memory?

                  As I'm sure they'll discover, the email confirmation they send out links to (login required).

                  Guestfolio in turns links to the PDF on the ADK website (which contains a reference to 2017 garden parking):