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  • Lake Hell Hole.

    ​Late Saturday afternoon, I counted four violations of DEC camping regulations at Lake Arnold. I know it's August, peak hiking season, but on Saturday this place got it's unfair share of the uninformed.

    Two young hikers from my home province pitched their tent ten feet from the pond (and the same distance from the trail). I asked them if they saw a designated camping disk at their chosen site. They replied "No. Just the no-campfires disk." I explained that, without a campsite marker, they were effectively primitive-camping which requires them to camp 50 yards from water/trails/lean-tos/etc. They repeated the disk only said no fires. I explained the lack of a "no camping" marker doesn't automatically make every flat spot a legal camping site. I cautioned them that a passing ranger may direct them to relocate their tent. They stated "Yeah but how often does that happen?" OK, if you're going to play that game then explanations are a waste of time. I wished them good luck and left.

    The former site of the Lake Arnold lean-to is a large clearing. The designated campsite marker is not in the clearing but a few yards to the northwest. You must pitch your tent within 5 yards of a marker. Regardless, in the general hiking public's opinion, any open space is automatically assumed to be a legal camping spot; the entire clearing was occupied. In the center of this "yard sale" of gear burned a campfire. I was very direct and explained they were in the Eastern High Peaks zone where campfires are forbidden. I asked them to extinguish the fire and eliminate its remains. They put it out but I have no idea if it was permanent or temporary.

    I walked to the designated site where I found a hammock. North of the hammock I saw someone in the woods. I also noticed what appeared to be dog feces on the ground. I asked the fellow in the woods if they had a dog and could they please clean up after it. His reply was they had a dog but the droppings didn't belong to their dog. I asked what they were doing and the response was his buddy was hanging food in a tree. I reminded him where they were and that they had to use a bear canister. He answered they have one but extra stuff didn't fit in it. I conceded partial compliance was slightly better than none, shook my head and turned around. While passing the hammock I noticed the ground was streaked with toilet-paper. I left in disgust.

    Shortly past Lake Arnold, I collected discarded, torn underwear hanging from a branch. I think I know why they were thrown away. Fortunately the rain made them much less of a biohazard.

    I was about five minutes from Avalanche Camp when I passed a young couple ascending with overnight gear. I asked if they were heading to camp at Lake Arnold and the reply was "Maybe." I reported it was full. Full of people who can't be bothered to read the rules posted at the trail-head. OK, I didn't say that last part.

    Lake Arnold. What a hell hole.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk9a...youtu.be&t=55s
    Looking for Views!

  • #2
    Thanks for the report, it reminds me why I never drink water (filtered/treated or not) downhill from Lake Arnold.
    ADK 46/46W + MacNaughton, Grid 266/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Ditto. Even though I have a filter I seek water elsewhere. I'm turned off by the knowledge that Lake Arnold's water is stagnant and people who camp next to it behave like unhousebroken dogs. All those distasteful aspects run downhill into the brook.

  • #3
    Designated campsites and lean-to's tend to become slums. That said, I found the Kagel and Scotts Pond Clearing LT's and sites to be impeccable. Panther Gorge leaves much to be desired.

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    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      +1
      The old belief is that a campsite's quality is directly proportional to its distance from the trail-head. The farther from the car, the better. Sadly, for some sites, distance is no deterrent to bad backcountry habits. I think popularity is the key. Places like Lake Arnold and Panther Gorge attract a wide spectrum of hikers and not all know how to minimize their impact (or bothered to read the rules).

  • #4
    At Lake Henderson LT there was a group from Nols. They set up two tents about 10 feet from the water and left a bunch of bear cans overnight 30 feet in front of the LT. I asked them the next night to move the bear cans into the woods and they were very good about it. I didn't say anything about the tents. Perhaps but perhaps not due to the heavy usage around the LT (us and the NOLS group) the stench from the privy had a tendency to waft across the lean-to site. I didn't notice this any other time I've been through there but maybe the wind was blowing the other way.
    Trail Boss tell us about the Bradley Pond LT site.

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    • MTVhike
      MTVhike commented
      Editing a comment
      Doesn't NOLS stand for National Outdoor Leadership School? Not a very good example on their part!

    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Ah yes, the Bradley Pond lean-to a.k.a. the Santanoni Lean-to. When we saw it, after a Henderson Traverse, it was a mess. A discarded tarp (if not more than one), miscellaneous junk in and around the site, partly burnt trash in the fire-pit, all in the center of a sea of stumps illegally harvested for, what?, green wood for a smoky campfire? What a dump. I found a saw and hid it.

      I agree camping along the water's edge wasn't a sterling example of outdoor leadership. I'm sure the leaders had a valid reason for camping there: they didn't see any "No Camping" markers. /sarcasm

  • #5
    Speaking of lean-to's, look what these guys did to the fire place at Moose Pond. They cut live trees and shoveled dirt to create this pizza oven effect. They said they did it because the previous night the wind blew smoke into the LT.

    Click image for larger version

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    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      HAL said it best:

      Yes, it's puzzling. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before.

  • #6
    [QUOTE=Neil;n466425]...the wind blew smoke into the LT.

    That's what happens when all the trees in front of the LT are cut down.

    Stupidity is an epidemic and there's no cure.

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    • #7
      The west wind the night before was particularly strong and would have blown smoke into the LT no matter what. However, the evening of that oven creation the wind had swung out of the north so the smoke blew sideways. They removed the whole thing when after 15 minutes the roof began collapsing into the fire pit.

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      • #8
        People don't think (other than about themselves). And when the do they think, they think are the only ones and there's no long term problem.
        But they are one of thousands and every little bit ands up to a big hurt.

        If some of these things happened at home, in their front yard, they'd be furious.

        Don

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        • #9
          During last year's annualCannonball-90, when we arrived at the north end of 8th lake at around 4:00 AM (We begin in old Forge at midnight)rightat the carry trailandingl I discovered a still burning fire right on the shoreline with a tent set up immediately adjacent. empty beer cans littered the area and there was a large pile of brush debris piled a few yards beyond on the trail. note there is a leanto about 20 yards beyond, it was empty. I can only surmise he brush was set there as a bear barrier. I grabbed our boat bailer and proceeded to rather noisily put the fire out, all the while loudly talking about the rules and the ranger. nothing stirred from inside the tent. A while later( at a moe reasonable hour) i called he local range who i know to tell him what i saw. When i saw him some months later he said he investigated the site, but the perps were gone.
          Last edited by Nessmuk; 08-22-2016, 10:46 PM.
          "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell

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          • #10
            In June, I was at the Beaver Point Lean To at Lake Colden. Two young guys who looked like late nineteenth century unicylclists sat down in front of the lean to and proceeded to bust out zip locks filled with meat and veggies, followed by heavy cooking gear. I said, "no, no, no , no". And explained the rules to them. One of them looked at me with a death stare and the other was listening. They followed my instructions, but were resentful. They had a cast iron skillet 6 miles from the trailhead.

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            • #11
              You found my favorite pair of underwear!! I would forever be indebted to you if you mailed them to me.

              I think we need trailhead and campsite stewards in addition to those manning the summits. Anecdotal evidence suggests more and more people just don't care to learn the rules or openly & wantonly choose to ignore them. Trailhead signage isn't doing the trick and the rangers can't be everywhere at once.

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              • #12
                Originally posted by Makwa View Post
                You found my favorite pair of underwear!! I would forever be indebted to you if you mailed them to me.

                I think we need trailhead and campsite stewards in addition to those manning the summits. Anecdotal evidence suggests more and more people just don't care to learn the rules or openly & wantonly choose to ignore them. Trailhead signage isn't doing the trick and the rangers can't be everywhere at once.
                I've always been an advocate of having giving the summer rangers (Assistants) law enforcement powers. They're the folks who are actually out walking a beat, not the Forest Rangers (some exceptions) or ECO's. But then we'd get the union involved, pay scale and all that.

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                • #13
                  As I've hiked my 13 High Peaks and read this forum, I have learned a ton about what to do and NOT do when hiking. As I read the more experienced of the bunch on this forum, I always worry that my group will become the subject of one of these violation discussions. I constantly am watching my kids so that they don't break a rule. After reading about sh*t and toilet paper near trails, stuff left in leantos and fires where they are prohibited I am going to worry less. Don't read that as I'm going to care less about violations. These stories have shown me that my errors will be from inexperience and needing to hone my skills. They won't be from blatant disregard for the rules and etiquette in the woods. When you see me mess up feel free to let me know how I can do better. I hope you will find that I am receptive to your feedback.
                  As for the people who are doing these disgusting things with seemingly no care in the world, I wish I had a solution for stopping it. I'm afraid that part of the problem is societal as we continue to move more towards caring about just ourselves and want less to be told what or how to do things.

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                  • #14
                    This is very upsetting to read and see. I agree with the above, not everyone is going to familiarize themselves with how many X they need to be from Y in order to legally do Z. Signage at the major entry points I think is really really essential.

                    Ugh.. it actually reminds me of one of my early trips up to high peaks in college, we brought a fairly big group with us (8). It would have been fine, save one person in our group who seemed to take particular joy in snapping branches of live wood. We just couldn't understand it. Asked him several times not to do it and it seemed to only embolden him. Told us some nonsense stories about how his uncle was some big time mountain man as if it was his birthright to destroy the woods. Tragedy of the commons I guess. Needless to say he was never invited back ever. Destructive toxic egotistical people are really hard to change.

                    The thing with new hikers is when they come to an area for the first time, that is what they think "pristine" is. They don't see the damage which has accumulated over the years. To them, especially if they are urbanites, this is what the woods are. So the rules don't apply to them, right? Cause they aren't going to do anything bad. They don't see what a few missteps compounded by the thousands of visitors a year adds up to until they are years in.

                    The worst I have to say is organizations which have this blanketing effect of "but we are responsible!!" for it's members. I see this *all the time* with cycling organizations. Because people are with a group they defer the ethics to the leaders who are too busy managing a group of novices to actually care. Worst, they are often entirely indifferent to (in this case) other cyclists and road users because they've got this aggressive pack thing going on.
                    K

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                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Kind of a sidebar, but I laughed at this (or WITH this) comment. I'm an avid cyclist but when I'm in my car I hate cyclists.

                  • #15
                    Lake Arnold: the Armpit of the High Peaks.
                    Bradley Pond Lean-to the ***-hole of the HP's. When you sit in the lean-to the privy is directly in front of you to the west, the direction of the prevailing winds.
                    Panther Gorge: the garbage pit and slums of the HP's.

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