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  • Boquet Forks trail(s) question

    The Boquet Forks trail is the first unmarked trail I hiked, starting in the early 2000s, and I really love it. One of my first hikes up it followed Barbara McMartin's book. I went up the trail, passed Shoebox Falls (I didn't know its name at the time, but was a very popular swimming hole) and came to a point where the trail forks, with one branch going left, crossing the North Fork on it's way (eventually) to Grace (East Dix at the time). The "straight ahead" branch was blocked with logs, but I continued up that way until I got to an occupied campsite. I also found a spot overlooking a lovely swimming hole in the river, with the camper swimming there.

    Well, long story short, yesterday, we went up that way for the first time in, say, 15 years. Several changes: Sign-in kiosk for this trail (only one other person signed in, going to Grace). The trail to the left at the fork was much more heavily used. The campsite had a "Camp Here" sign. BUT, I couldn't find the overlook. At the turnoff for the campsite, the trail (now a herd path) continued up along the North Fork, but I couldn't find the overlook before the HP petered out. On the way back, we followed the "High Water Route", thinking it would be easier than rock-hopping across the river and, surprisingly, there is another sigh-in kiosk there.

    We saw no hikers along that route, and only one person, sunbathing on the rock overlooking the lower swimming hole. Also, no garbage!

    Any info about that area would be appreciated.
    Mike

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

  • #2
    Hiked there many times and always thought it a confusing mess of herd paths. Sounds like its worse...of course, without a designated trail/s.

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    • #3
      I was wondering if that herd path continues all the way up to the Dix trail?
      Mike

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

      Comment


      • #4
        I've been through all the routes in that area; but the guy who is really an expert is MasterGrasshopper; maybe he will add some information here...

        >Look up a couple previous threads here on this forum.

        >The herd path that goes left has become heavily traveled because it has developed as the most popular route to Grace. When I did Grace in 1985, the accepted route was from Elk Lake, via South Dix. The path from the Boquet Fork trail ended at the large campsite just past the "Rock of Gibraltar" feature. That path did not even reach the base of the slide, and was known as the "Hunter's Herd Path."

        >The other path, that continues along the North Fork going NW goes quite a ways, although it has become faint in places. It leads to a very attractive (though probably illegal) river front campsite, and then does peter out shortly after that. (It is possible to continue along the river and travel through the spectacular canyon of the North Fork (100' cliffs, waterfalls, etc.) and eventually reach the Dix trail near Round Mountain, but there is no path. It's a great bushwhack; I've been through there many times in both directions.)

        There is in fact a large network of other paths in that valley, which are poorly mapped, unmarked, and can be confusing. I have advocated for years that the state should "take over" that path network, do a bit of maintenance, add some signage, and produce an accurate map. Other people would rather "keep it an adventure area" but my opinion is that that is not reasonable given today's hiker population. My opinion is that there is plenty of adventure to be had off the paths, and we don't want today's hikers getting lost on poorly laid out paths.


        Comment


        • #5
          I didn't see any campsite, illegal or otherwise on the river front, but shortly before the North Fork herd path petered out, there are two "camp here" signs with arrows, pointing left to a very attractive legal campsite high above the river (and I think that's the one I saw 15 years ago), but no view of the river. There is a nearby rock high above the river but at that point, the river is a big boulder garden.

          I thought it was weird that one of the two "camp here" arrow signs oriented so that it would be seen by people coming down the trail (from upriver); I didn't see it until I was returning from my failed attempt to follow upstream toward the Dix trail (which herd path TCD said doesn't exist).
          Mike

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

          Comment


          • #6
            The unmarked campsite TCD is talking about is at least 20 minutes beyond where you felt that the herd trail/old logging road petered out (the trail continues but can be hard to follow in years of little use). The legal campsite up on the high rock left of the trail has been around for at least 20 years... The herd trail/logging road does continue to much flatter, bushy terrain and then a nice, unmarked campsite is reached that was used annually by a "men's back to nature" group for at least 15-20 years. They also had a second site way off trail up the South Fork on the large beaver pond area. I've bumped into them many times, usually naked (them, not me) and playing bongos...Great guys, just a little different...

            Comment


            • #7
              If I'm thinking of the same possibly illegal site that TCD is referring to, the HP essentially goes right through the middle of it. This was the first of my navigational woes on my first trip back there, because somebody had set up a fairly large, sprawling encampment in that spot, and there's a slight split where another trail veers off to the right closer to the river before petering out in some open woods. I kept thinking "why in the actual F would this whole trail just lead to a campsite?" It didn't.

              The legal campsite back closer to the start that overlooks the river is still very much around and in use, and that section of the trail is a complete hairball of useless loops and side paths to nowhere (nowhere relevant to me anyway). As was suggested in a previous thread about this route, especially if you'll be exiting in the dark, be ready to M&C nav while using the trails as a point of reference. If you're a "normal" hiker and won't be returning well after dark in a monsoon, just remember to turn around now and then when you come to junctions so you'll remember your way out.
              My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

              Comment


              • #8
                Click image for larger version

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ID:	507837I've used the trail to the right and traveled through that canyon on the North Fork in both directions. In going S to N toward the Dix Trail I eventually reached a place in the narrows that would have required wading in waist deep water to proceed (not to mention several fun scrambles under boulders). Each time through I gave up on staying in the river and ascended to the top of the cliffs on the E side, then descended back toward the water when it looked practical. In the N, near the Dix Trail, there are some beautiful flumes and falls in narrow channels that made it impossible to stay right by the water. But while going S on the E side of the river I kept descending steeply to the bank to get a look at the falls and flumes. It was Mastergrasshopper who got me interested in that canyon.
                Last edited by Gregory Karl; 07-29-2020, 08:11 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  hi all
                  MAP / Compass follow your self along matching terrain to map.
                  just last year I spent a day revisiting all trails before meeting with Neil ( left one car at stone bridge 73 ) to bushwhack from Westmill up over Grace's nose and down to shoebox falls.
                  I was amazed at use
                  I was amazed that they put sign in kiosks all over the place ( also on herd path along south fork of Boquet )
                  to TCD's point if you sign in then some signs / maps would be nice.
                  Anyways
                  LOOK at map
                  locate Shoebox falls
                  next is straight section of river and main grace path on north side ( right )
                  on map you see huge flat area almost a rectangle 1/3 mile long by 1/4 mile wide.
                  that was a huge !!! beaver pond 25 years ago, a lake.
                  the path is up above that flat area with small cliffs on your right. the cliffs are part of a small mountain with a high point off 642 meters.
                  I named this mountain reindeer mountain because the top is semi open rock covered in mats of grey and sea foam green reindeer moss.
                  1/2 way along the old beaver flat, ( the beavers all moved upstream because the dam would break every spring ), the path has a right fork blocked by a few branches.
                  the way straight is main Grace herd path and drops down to cross N. fork. The way right goes to a small overlook and camp site. There is a nice waterfall and pool.
                  the path is now faint and right next to straight rocky section of N. fork. the stream makes a left turn and there is a long still water section. right at this point you can climb up 642 " reindeer " mountain to grey open rock cliffs that face west with fantastic view of Dix range up close. I have camped up there to see Dix range lit up by early morning sun.
                  If you cross N. Fork just past falls, ( rocky section ) you can climb ridge / mountain that creates the big bend of N.Fork. there are 2 high points 716 >642 summit. This is "sandbar " mountain as down the other side leads to a horseshoe bend of N. Fork and shallow crossing up to main Dix trail.
                  If you follow N. Fork past still water you will come to canyon / cliffs. In the winter when all is frozen you can stay with stream most of way, always exit to right twin pond side of stream. there are small cliffs that in the winter have huge icicles. You can follow this all the way up to Dix trail near noonmark intersection. The left side has huge cliffs.
                  Sandbar mountain is a long ridge that has long stretches of open rock and a great bushwhack.
                  this is one small section of area and trails
                  happy exploring
                  MG





                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GK, great photo!

                    Thanks, MG for the details! Been up to 716 and on up to 864 a few times. 864 is a great summit! I have also been over to the neighboring 800 (SW of 864) which has lots of cliffs on its south side.

                    MTV, a couple easier bushwhacks closer to route 73 are to follow the Twin Pond drainage down to the N Fork path, and also to go out to Rhododendron Pond and then bushwhack down to the S Fork path.

                    All lots of fun; unlimited exploration in that area!

                    Comment


                    • CatskillKev
                      CatskillKev commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I guess you guys have been "forced" into accepting the meters in this area.

                    • mastergrasshopper
                      mastergrasshopper commented
                      Editing a comment
                      meters are ok I hike with neil
                      800 = yes very nice
                      also the full east ridge of Dix
                      if you cross over to ridge from 864 to end of ridge there is a small bump just off to south that has open rock and lines up perfectly with Dix beckhorn slide.
                      further up ridge there are some 60 ft cliffs with incredible views of Dix range up close.

                  • #11
                    This is an area I've long wanted to explore, but being an outsider with a 7 hour drive to get there, I've not wanted to get in there and get turned around. I don't own a GPS, just maps and a compass. Even still, sometimes all it takes is zoning out for a couple of minutes to completely lose one's bearings. Unless the area gets some kind of rudimentary markings I'll probably never visit. I don't want to end up having all of you in here poking fun at me for having to survive on salamanders

                    Comment


                    • Learning The Trails
                      Learning The Trails commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Dude, go on CalTopo and print some maps and take this approach to Grace.
                      It's my favorite approach that we've done. So much water! It's such a pulchritudinous area!
                      The water crossings are marked with cairns. The campsites along the trail are marked as well. After the last campsite, the climb to Grace begins and the trail is very obvious.

                      No doubt, you have to pay close attention in front of you... we followed the wrong herd path right off the rip and ended up on the wrong side of Shoebox Falls. We went a little further upstream and crossed the water and linked right back up with the trail. Luckily, that was only a minor issue.

                      I know that you have a long drive... Consider Sharp Bridge as a home base for this hike.

                      This route is front and center in regards to my personal "I need to get back there!" List. Once everything calms down in a year or so, I'd be happy to join you (and anyone else interested). I'll even bring the Garmin!

                    • CatskillKev
                      CatskillKev commented
                      Editing a comment
                      To have zoned out and lost is better than to ever use a GPS. Thanks.

                    • mastergrasshopper
                      mastergrasshopper commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Kevin what is this GPS ? you speak of ? free printed paper map, even metric and a cheap plastic compass seem to work pretty well.

                  • #12
                    Groundpounder-you don't even need the map, just compass, if you 1. know which way to return to the road via bushwack if that's what it takes and 2. or know which side of the river you are on-it leads to the road. 3. and the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west.
                    When disoriented, STOP, drink, eat, rest, gather your thoughts...then check the sun or compass...and head home.

                    Comment


                    • mastergrasshopper
                      mastergrasshopper commented
                      Editing a comment
                      always wondered that about the sun
                      one time I did a compass demo with kids and they made floating compasses out of a magnetized needle in a foam noodle in a bowl of water.
                      After I was done I threw magnet in with my main compass. the next hike was a bushwhack. Went west all day. At the end of the day I wanted to go home and pulled out compass and it showed east towards the setting sun. My son told me Dad the compass is always right ( ie hypothermia / confusion always believe the compass ), I told him the sun always is right we will turn our backs to the sun and follow our shadows home. When I got back to the truck I realized what had happened and used the same magnet to get my compass to reverse back to normal.

                    • Groundpounder
                      Groundpounder commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I've passed the EIB tests (Army) for both night and day land navigation, but it has been a while. Back then I was completely focused on my task. When I hike, half the time I'm daydreaming or thinking of random things...which is one of the things I enjoy about hiking, to be honest!

                      Trying to navigate from where you think you are versus where you actually are can lead to its own set of problems (where a GPS would come in handy, to pinpoint a current location). I really don't have a desire to find myself in an unintended bushwhack. I'm certain I could make my own way out, eventually, without a need for rescue. Lord knows I carry enough crap in my daypack that I'm sure I'd be fine. However, I've read of much of the talk about multiple/confusing herd paths in the area over the years, so for now I feel better staying away. Maybe I'll study the maps more closely and venture in there at some point, maybe not. I'm not focused on any kind of list anymore, so it's possible that one day I'll just give it a shot....and then will probably realize that it wasn't a big deal after all.

                      Also, where does everyone park when they go in that way? Coming from the south on 73, is it the small roadside pull off just past the bridge?

                    • mastergrasshopper
                      mastergrasshopper commented
                      Editing a comment
                      from south
                      small pull off on right, 1/4 mile before bridge.
                      very small (2 car ) pull off on left at base of RUGGED road just before bridge, just up road is start of main low water grace trail also a campsite and room for 3 HIGH clearance vehicles.
                      just past bridge is a pull off on right with room for 7-8 cars. Directly across road is a path / washed out road to another campsite and start of high water path

                  • #13
                    Last summer, over two trips, I hiked through the canyon from both the southern and northern approaches, During the latter I did a side trip to bump 864. I was able to stay in the canyon throughout, except for a waist-high pond at about 600m elevation which necessitated a steep climb up the east bank. Plenty of scrambling and boulder hopping. A gorgeous area. (The tips from MG and TCD were appreciated)

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