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Abandoned/Defunct trails in the High Peaks

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  • Abandoned/Defunct trails in the High Peaks

    I've been looking between the old USGS topo map and the current trail maps in the High Peaks and have seen many trails on the USGS map that don't show up anywhere else (ADK map, AllTrails, Gaia, OSM...)

    The trails that I have questions for are the:

    -Mt. Colden east trail (direct link from the Lake Arnold Trail up to the col between Colden and Colden NW Peak (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...&o=t&n=1&a=mba)

    -Upper Twin Brook Trail from the Uphill campsites (base of Redfield & Cliff) to the East River Trail to the south
    (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.0...&o=t&n=1&a=mba)

    -Weird path that leads nowhere off of the south summit of Saddleback (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...&o=t&n=1&a=mba)

    -Trail that connects from the Veterans Memorial Hwy to Lookout Mtn junction for Esther/Marble Mtn/Whiteface, and then another trail that connects from the junction to the Hwy again, even a shelter is designated along this trail. (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.3...&o=t&n=1&a=mba)

    -There are are bunch of trails within the AMR private property boundary, but they connect with the Elk Lake-Marcy trail to Marcy Landing, and then to Otis Ledge and C.Y Beedes Ledge, both connect with the Pinnacle Ridge trail to Blake/Colvin. There's also a trail that goes along the north shore of Upper Ausable Lake that connects with the Bartlett Ridge trail (https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.0...&o=t&n=1&a=mba)

    -Sunrise Notch Trail (does not appear on USGS map). According to the 8th Edition, Guide to Adirondack Trails (1975), there was a trail from Connery Pond to Sunrise Notch via the present Whiteface Landing trail. Apparently the trail is in poor shape and has not seen maintenance since the 1950s. Wondering if anyone has traveled along this abandoned trail

    If anyone has info on these old trails, let me know!

  • #2
    After some research, I found that the Mt. Colden trail I was referring to above was abandoned in 1966 when a new trail was laid out, according to the Guide to Adirondack Trails, 8th Edition, ADK Mountain Club. This trail can be seen on the old USGS maps and the ADK map from the 8th edition guide

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting observations about trails shown on the USGS maps, but not on more recent maps. I am assuming you are looking at the most recent (1979) metric maps, because you didn't mention the non-existent trail through Panther Gorge that was shown on the 1953 Mt. Marcy quad. So, it's a cold, windy morning, and I'll do some indoor hiking to try and shed some light on your questions.

      First of all, the field work for the 1979 maps was done in 1976, so that is the "real" date of these maps - except for some last-minute updates to reflect Lake Placid Olympic construction. I participated in both the 1976 field work and the later Olympic update work - 3 months in 1976, and about 3 weeks in 1979. I did my best to hike trails and plot their route on the aerial photographs. Sometimesmy work was accepted, sometimes not as the Hedgehog trail that misses both summits indicates.

      The Mt. Colden trail was the original trail cut by the Tahawus Club when they had a lease on the land around Lake Colden. It made a loop trip from Lake Colden. It was supposed to be abandoned in 1966, but the DEC periodically reopened it up to 15 years after that date.

      The Upper Twin Brook Trail was abandoned in the early 1980s. It was the original trail to Mt. Marcy from the south after the State had bought Lake Colden and the surrounding land in the early 1920s. The State Click image for larger version

Name:	Sanford Lake trail map 1941.jpeg
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ID:	510439 did not have access from Upper Works as that was still the Tahawus Club headquarters. The trail started at Sanford Lake, and a post several years ago on this board noted a sign (I think at the Feldspar Brook/Lake Arnold junction) still gave a distance to "Sanford Lake". Through the pass between Cliff and Redfield, the Twin Brook trail followed the "Buckley Tote Road" that served the lumber camp that was once at Uphill Lean-to area. That tote road had extensive sidehill stretches, which had been "leveled" with wooden ramps. The DEC decided that they would not make the effort to replace or reroute around these areas because the Calamity Brook approach to Marcy was shorter.

      There is no explanation for the dead-end trail that leads southeast off of Saddleback. It was just the figment of some cartographer's imagination, and I was never able to look at any "proofs" of this map before it was printed.

      At one time there was an extensive network of cross-country ski trails between Whiteface and Lookout Mt., and even a shelter on the summit of Lookout Mt. that lasted until the mid-60s (Some concrete piers still visible on the Esther herdpath.) There also was a lean-to in addition to the still-standing "Porcupine Lodge", that was the warming hut for the ski trails that were used when there was no snow on Marble Mt. There were even two rope tows that took skiers almost up to Wilmington Turn.

      The trails around the Upper Ausable Lake are the few miles of trail that the AMR was allowed to keep as private when they gave public easements on most of the rest of the trails on their property as part of the 1978 land sale. Note also the "trail" coming up from the Boreas that passes Panorama Bluff and dead-ends west of Pinnacle. That served a logging camp and remained in use as a log road into the 60s. Virtually no trace of it in places today.

      The Sunrise Notch trail was part of the system maintained by the Lake Placid Shore Owners association. The west side was used for some salvage lumbering after the 1950 blowdown, and was still quite plain 20 years ago. Again, about 20 years ago there were clear stretches on the east side. Sunrise Notch was part of the 50km X-C Trail built for the 1932 Olympics. It circled Whiteface Mt., but was never used for competition. I don't know how long maintenance continued on that loop. My guess is not that long after 1932.

      Comment


      • scherubin
        scherubin commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for all of this information, it's amazing how much you know about this area and its history! Are there maps with the original trails from pre-1975? Like any maps from the Lake Placid SOA or AMR that would otherwise be private trails? I've been looking around for historic and old hiking maps of the High Peaks

    • #4
      Try this link to the University of New Hampshire digital archives. Here you'll find scans of both the early 20th Century versions and the 1953+- versions of the 15-minute topos.
      This historical collection of USGS 15 minute topographic maps dates from the 1890s to the 1950s. Geographic coverage is complete for New Hampshire and nearly complete for the rest of New England.

      Comment


      • scherubin
        scherubin commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the link, Tony! Do you have any old SOA maps that show all of these trails around Whiteface? Any maps of the 1932 Olympic ski trails that run through the Sentinel Range Wilderness?

    • #5
      I prefer Esri's Living Atlas Topo Explorer to the UNH site: https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/topoexplorer/index.html

      You browse to a location using a google-maps-like interface, just click on the spot and can select and view any number of old topo maps that cover that spot- with far more map versions available than via the UNH site (although admittedly some of these options are pretty low resolution maps covering broad areas). You can also pull up multiple versions and overlay them with transparency so you can easily compare a topo map from one year to a map from another year to see differences. And you can also still download the entire topo map (as one file, rather than just overlapping quadrants of a quad as with the UNH site).

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      The Upper Twin Brook trail originally made little sense to me- until I learned that public access was not always permitted from Upper Works/Tahawus. As Tony states, when Upper Works was still the Tahawus Club, access to the High Peaks from the north end of Upper Works road was for club members only. The public trail started further south, near the present-day location of the mines, and followed Upper Twin Brook as this was a faster and more direct route to Marcy than going by way of Flowed Lands/Lake Colden.

      I have a guidebook and an associated map set for the High Peaks that was published in the early 20's- and the book contains mention of the trails to/from the Upper Works and the then Tahawus Club, but also makes it very clear that they are for "emergency use only." (Unfortunately I am traveling for work for at least the next few weeks- and possibly the next few months- and I do not have this book on hand, or else I would photograph and share some of the pages and the included fold-out map.)

      Interestingly enough, this also explains the existence of the little used Calamity Cutoff Trail, which provides an alternate connection between the Calamity Brook Trail and the Indian Pass Trail. At the time when the lands of Upper Works were "off limits" to the hiking public, what is now known as the Calamity Cutoff trail was the only publicly-accessible connection between the Calamity Brook area and the Indian Pass Brook area around the south end of the MacIntyre Range. (The DEC is currently considering abandoning this trail- for what seem to me to be justifiable reasons: It gets very little use, Hurricane Irene was particularly unkind to it, and it's a redundant trail now that public access is permitted further south around the lower slopes of the MacIntyre Range.)

      On a further tangent- the change in use patterns and the closure of some trails over time also explains some of the oddities with regards to trail marker color in this area of the High Peaks. For example, the Calamity Brook Trail changes marker color at the junction with the Calamity Cutoff Trail- from Red to Blue if one is ascending towards Flowed Lands- despite this today all generally considered by most to be one singular trail. The Calamity Cutoff Trail shares the same marker color with the upper two-thirds of the Calamity Brook trail- because these two trail segments were formerly considered to be one and the same trail. Similarly, both the East River Trail and the Opalescent River Trail spontaneously change marker color at the former junctions with the upper and lower ends of the Upper Twin Brook Trail. These spontaneous marker color changes go unnoticed by most, but every once in a while a hiker comes along who notices the change and gets confused (and sometimes even turned around) by it.

      You can still find and follow the Upper Twin Brook trail for a bit from both the upper and lower ends of it. The present day Cliff herd path joins the old trail not long after departing the Uphill Brook lean-to area, and sections of the old corduroy road are plainly visible to the observant eye. It's been a while since I've climbed Cliff but I do recall seeing the occasional old trail marker along the herd path (do any still exist or have they all been stolen by now?).

      With public access to the MacIntyre East Tract now facilitated by state acquisition of those lands, it's possible also to find and follow the lower end of this trail. The first quarter mile or so from the old junction (the present day junction with the Allen herd path on the East River Trail) has more or less been obscured by logging over the past few decades. But from the Allen gravel pit, if you continue further north along the logging road, and turn right (northeast) into the woods just after crossing the outlet of the small beaver pond/meadow, you can pick up a few old metal markers before long. Eventually a skid trail joins the old hiking trail and route becomes a bit more obvious for a bit- all the way up to the state land boundary where the skid trail turns off to the east (if you keep following that skid trail it will eventually tie in to the present day Allen herd path). Beyond the state land boundary you can still pick up the occasional trail marker and some evidence of the old road but otherwise, pretty much all remnants of the old trail are more or less gone now.

      A hike through from Uphill Brook to the Opalescent River has been on my to do list for a while now- following the route of the old trail as best as I can- but I've yet to have the time to undertake it.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      I have also found and followed that old road between (near) Panorama Bluff and west of the Pinnacle, at least the portion to the south of the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. It's fairly obvious to the discerning eye, but it is brushy and holy good god is it filled with boot sucking mud in spots. The continuation of this old road to the north beyond the Elk Lake Marcy Trail was obvious to me while standing on that trail, but as of yet I have not tried to follow it. I don't doubt that it gets pretty obscure further north.

      It is possible at present to tie Boreas Ponds in with the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail via existing old logging roads- but care must be made to not stray onto AMR lands (the aforementioned Panorama Bluff landing on Stillwater Inlet is part of the private AMR lands). Some of these old roads haven't been maintained in a while, however, and especially since state acquisition of the Boreas Ponds Tract they are growing it with surprising rapidity. The difference in tree growth between now and even only a few summers ago is considerable in some open areas where the roads get no shortage of summer sunlight.

      The roads shown on the USGS map due north of Boreas Ponds- in the vicinity of White Lily Pond and Moose Mountain, as well as the road higher up along Slide Brook to the west- are also fairly easy to find and follow (even if they too are beginning to grow in). Again, care must be made not to stray on to AMR lands to the north- this has been a bit of a minor issue in recent years as some members of the public have eagerly set out to explore the Boreas Tract in detail. (It doesn't help that the recent guidebook that was published on the Boreas Tract contains mention of some of the privately-owned AMR trails and appears to even encourage public use of them.)

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Regarding trails in the Whiteface/Lookout Mountain region: I remember stumbling across Porcupine Lodge for the first time about 13 or 14 years ago. At the time it was well hidden, accessed via a faint (and very brushed in) herd path off of the Whiteface Mountain Trail. It was very clearly infrequently used, and there were no maintained trails (ski trails or otherwise) in the vicinity. Definitely a neat spot- there were bunks inside and and a wood stove (which was not at the time hooked up to the chimney from what I recall).

      On more recent trips, new ski trails were being constructed as part of the overall Whiteface Ski Area facility, and during my last visit to the lodge, it was clearly being used as a "woods outpost" of sorts by the laborers building the new trails.

      Is the lodge definitely still standing? I don't doubt that it may be, but during my most recent visit the area a few years ago I was unable to locate it again. But by then, the new ski trails were more or less complete, and their presence had completely switched up the lay of the land from what I remembered during my first few visits. I probably passed within 100 feet of it unknowingly because everything looked so different from how I remembered it.

      (EDIT: I checked various iterations of aerial images over the past decade or so via Google Earth and I see that it does appear to still be standing- and is more or less right smack on a branch ski trail off of one of the new main trails. Which would explain my inability to locate it during my most recent visit- I was looking for a faint herd path off of the Whiteface Trail, when in reality I should have picked and followed the obvious ski trail.)

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Something else that may be of interest to scherubin are the two trails shown on the present day USGS maps in the Sentinel Range Wilderness, accessing North and South notches respectively from the west. These were part of a much longer ski loop constructed for the 1932 Olympics that continued further to the east, down all the way as far as (as I recall) Clifford Falls in Keene before looping around back up and over the ridgeline of the Sentinel Range. It is still possible to find and follow some decent portions of these trails, at least west of the ridgeline- both have received some minimal level of informal maintenance over the decades since they were officially abandoned. The first stretch of the north trail (to North Notch) is part of a well traveled herd path to the southwest shore of Holcomb Pond. Where the old trail turns east and passes through the swamps along the outlet of Holcomb Pond it is pretty much entirely gone. But if you persevere through the swamps (or take the easy route and bushwhack around the swamps) you can pick it up again with little difficulty on the far side. From what I recall the route is fairly obvious (even if overgrown) from there nearly all the way to North Notch, but it's also worth mentioning here that my sole visit to explore this trail occurred in the summer of 2007 so it very well may be much more obscure now.

      The South Notch trail is a bit easier to find and follow, but the first quarter mile or so of it is across private property where I believe permission is needed for access- the lands of Mountain Lake Academy. Interestingly, the lower lean-to shown along this trail on the USGS map does still exist, but is also on private property (again, Mountain Lake Academy) and so I don't believe is available for public use with or without permission. In 2012, I used this trail to climb Slide Mountain in the Sentinel Range, which is due north of South Notch. The trail was brushy but for the most part fairly obvious for most of the way, but about half a mile or so shy of South Notch it began to fade noticeably. I did spend some time poking around the location where the upper lean-to is shown on the USGS maps to see if I could find any evidence of it, but without success. (I also found a moose skeleton on the ridgeline between South Notch and the summit of Slide Mountain itself!)

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      There is also the old trail shown on the USGS maps that connects the Lake Arnold Trail with the VanHoevenberg trail- actually crossing that later trail only to rejoin it at the junction between the VanHoevenburg Trail and the upper end of the Hopkins Trail. Another completely redundant trail that was abandoned for fairly obvious reasons (the lower stretch was served just as well by the Indian Falls-Lake Arnold Crossover Trail, and the upper stretch was served just as well by the VanHoevenberg Trail itself). It's also possible to still locate bits and pieces of this trail including the occasional old trail marker- most noticeably at the aforementioned junction between the VanHoevenberg and Hopkins Trails, where the route this trail departed downhill is somewhat obvious to the careful observer looking for it. But still not a trail that can be followed anymore for any considerable distance by any means (the majority of this trail is pretty much gone).

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Perhaps another worthwhile mention is the old NPT between Averyville Road and Wanika Falls, which is the route depicted on the USGS maps also (the present day route is missing). It's still possible to find and follow this route off of the end of Averyville Road- in fact the first couple of miles are in excellent shape, better maintained even than the NPT itself, owing to this being the maintained right of way used to access a private inholding not far off of the former NPT. But as it gets closer to the present-day NPT to the south it does pass into some beaver meadows and the trail becomes pretty obscure in spots, overgrown with brambles and blackberries (plus there is also some beaver flooding to contend with).

      I do understand why the NPT was re-routed (to minimize the amount of road walking necessary for a "true" thru-hike) but I still can't feel that something was lost in not picking an alternate reroute- continuing to use the trail to the end of Averyville Road, and constructing a new trail parallel to the road but on the north side, which could include traversing the summit of Seymour Mountain (not the High Peaks Seymour). As I understand it, this Seymour has excellent views. Seymour is also not a particularly prominent mountain, and this would've allowed NOBO thru-hikes to end with a bang, with a solid summit view that is still somewhat in keeping with the idea that the NPT is primarily a lowlands trail without much substantial elevation gains along the way.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Another one associated with the NPT: Just north of Rondeau's in the Cold River Region, the current Ampersand Lake USGS Quad shows a spur trail that branches off of the NPT and while it skirts a few bogs along the way, it more directly follows the Cold River upstream than the NPT does. It appears to end on the Cold River itself, but in reality it forded the Cold River and joined the present-day horse trail on the east shore not to far south of Northern Lean-tos (the adjacent Santanoni Peak Quad appears to be missing the final tenth of a mile or so of this trail- that quad must be a bit newer than the Ampersand Lake Quad). Old hiking maps also show this cutoff trail connecting the NPT with the Cold River Horse Trail. I believe this trail was called the "Petty Cutoff" (Tony, please correct me on this if I'm wrong). I'm not sure when it was officially abandoned, but it is still possible to find and follow it the full way through- the entire route follows an old logging road that I expect also dates to the salvaging efforts after the 1950 hurricane. It gets pretty brushy in spots but the old road bed is obvious pretty much the full way through (and honestly, the Cold River Horse Trail really isn't in any better shape itself). The west end is pretty easy to find if you're looking for it- I believe there is a DEC yellow arrow here to keep NOBO hikers on the NPT and not errantly wandering off of that main trail.

      The east end is a bit harder to locate- it's in a large clearing maybe about 10 or 15 minutes south of the Northern Lean-tos but the road bed here is pretty densely grown in where it leaves the clearing and you really have to look for it. This same large clearing has also been a bane for hikers trying to traverse the horse trail- the horse trail makes a sharp turn here and it's not at all obvious. During my more recent visits there were a couple of flipped over trail markers with arrows drawn in sharpie on them, but these arrows had already become fairly faded. I did speak to a ranger about it who mentioned that putting up some proper wooden yellow arrow signs was on his "to do list," but I can't imagine that it was high priority for him in any case.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Pretty tangential to the subject at hand but perhaps still of interest to those reading this thread: You can often find remnants of formerly removed lean-tos in the High Peaks (such as Lake Tear and Four Corners) if you look in the trails nearby their former locations. When these lean-tos were dismantled and removed, many of them had their logs repurposed as bog bridging in the trails. Easiest to find is pieces of the old Four Corners Lean-to that sat in the col between Marcy and Skylight. From Four Corners junction if you start down the trail towards Panther Gorge and travel no more than about 25 or 50 feet, there is a very obvious piece of bog bridging with one edge cut at a noticeable angle. The angle doesn't make much sense until you realize that these pieces were once a part of the upper wall of the Four Corners Lean-to, and cut at the the angle of the sloped roof.

      There is also a very obvious large bridge along the VanHoevenberg Trail, not far from the junction with the Phelps Mountain Trail (can't remember offhand if it is above or below it) that I have often wondered if it was once part of the old Phelps Brook Lean-to. It appears that someone attempted to repurpose a wall section of the lean-to as a bridge on the VanHoevenberg Trail, but at present from what I remember the bridge is not really in the trail, more so off to the side, and seemingly fulfilling no current purpose.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      A question for Tony on the same subject: Do you know anything about the errant loop shown on the USGS map adjacent to the trail up the south side of Sawteeth from the Warden's Camp? What was the purpose of this trail (and did it even ever exist to begin with)? I finally was able to climb Sawteeth via this route 3 summers ago and looked for any evidence of this trail but was unable to find even the least hint of it.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Another small trail segment but one that I've always wondered about: On the Blueberry Pond section of the Ward Brook Trail (so not the truck trail but rather west where it is still just a foot path), there is a section where the horse trail comes close to the foot trail. The USGS map shows a short trail segment connecting the horse and foot trails. (I believe some older hiking maps also show this short connector but I don't have any on hand to check.) I've looked for this short connector trail a few times while hiking through but have never been able to locate it. Did it ever exist? What was it's intended purpose? I do know that the horse trail does actually follow segments of old logging roads, so maybe it was simply a spur road that wasn't really maintained for recreational use but still in existence at the time of the map's creation and someone felt it was worth including.
      Last edited by DSettahr; 01-24-2021, 06:11 PM.

      Comment


      • greatexpectations
        greatexpectations commented
        Editing a comment
        this was a great read, thanks for sharing.

      • scherubin
        scherubin commented
        Editing a comment
        I was blown away by the length of this, but it answered all of the questions I had. I wasn't even aware there was a lean-to at the Four Corners or at Phelps Brook, and the Porcupine Lodge, which I will have to make a trip to go visit now that I know where it is. Thanks for all of the info!

    • #6
      I've walked what I believe to be the Sunrise Notch Trail most of the way from East to West ending on the Whiteface Trail from Connery Pond. But on the last bit I think I lost the trail in a swampy area and ended up using a logging road to link with the Whiteface Trail. The whole east portion over the height of land and down past a waterfall on the right was easy enough to figure out with a couple of exploratory trips.


      Comment


      • scherubin
        scherubin commented
        Editing a comment
        That's good to know, I'm looking to check the Notch out in the summer time when the old trails still might be visible. Is there any cool geology in the Notch there? Wondering if there's some cool talus caves or vertical rock walls along that Notch, just like Wilmington and Conners Notch

    • #7
      On my first explorations of the notch from the east I went right up the gut of the ravine following the water. It was gnarly and interesting but not a likely route for a trail. Having done that I concluded that the map of the (projected?, planned?) route for the '32 Olympics x-country course was absurd and must have been made by someone who didn't understand the terrain and who had not actually walked the indicated route. I also concluded that If the Sunrise Notch Trail had gone that way, it would have required some serious infrastructure, like ladders, railings and so on. Old topo maps of the area (I forget when they were made, 1890s, 1900s?) were hopelessly inaccurate with at least one major drainage missing. The route I use begins pretty close to the river and winds up into the notch using a bit of the missing drainage. It stays south of and high above the bottom of the notch until one approaches the height of land. The main attractions for me are the water/ice falls. As one approaches the height of land (when the leaves are down) there is what looks like a continuous 700 foot series of falls and cascades on the north side coming down the fold between Little Whiteface and Whiteface proper. This is illusory in the manner of Roaring Brook Falls — the falls and cascades all line up visually but they are separated by less steep terrain that can't be seen from across the way. I learned this when I ascended the falls on a side trip. There is beaver habitat in the flatter stretches near the height of land, along with "artifacts" including the remains of an old iron stove. There is another nice falls north of the route as one descends the other side.

      Nearly all of the route I described above has well-established foot bed, often as wide as a logging road, sometimes narrower, and shows signs of long use. I've used it as an approach to Sunrise Peak — bad idea, it's much easier to divert from the trail earlier and ascend near the cliff tops in Wilmington Notch.

      A list of discontinued trails and roads should include the old Iron Road through Wilmington Notch, made in 1812(?) and running from Monument Falls to a point above High Falls Gorge. It gives access to Stewart Mountain, the Kilburn Slide, Marsh Pond and several interesting and useful drainages up into the Sentinels.
      Last edited by Gregory Karl; 01-25-2021, 09:52 AM.

      Comment


      • #8
        I love this thread, I am always intrigued by old trails and old roads. I love the history of it all.
        Here is an extremely thorough article with great mapping of the Old Iron Road: https://www.aarch.org/wp-content/upl...dParts1-31.pdf

        Comment


        • #9
          Other defunct trails I would love to know more about:
          -Wasn't there a trail that went through Caribou Pass on the other side of Avalanche Mountain at one point?
          -There was an old trail that went from the west up into Slide Notch in the Sentinel Wilderness.
          My understanding is that both of those are gone with little evidence of their existence remaining, but I would love to know more about their history.

          Comment


          • Hear the Footsteps
            Hear the Footsteps commented
            Editing a comment
            Thought that Caribou was one used by Verplank Colvin to get around Avalanche Pass
            From the book Mount Marcy: The High Peak of New York.
            Pgs 73,74. It seems the passage starts on p.73. I only made a photo copy of p 74 where this sentence appears.
            "A trail was made in 1874, and in 1876 the name 'Caraboo Pass' appeared on the Essex County Map"
            Last edited by Hear the Footsteps; 01-25-2021, 01:20 PM.

        • #10
          Someone recently sent me a copy of the 1932 Olympics XC trail system (it may have been one of you). I just tried to attach it but it's too big (68MB PDF file). What's the limit?
          Mike

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

          Comment


          • #11
            Scherubin, I'm sure you never expected your "innocent" question would generate such an amazing response, and it's not over.

            Here are my responses to some of dsettahr's questions/comments as well as a response to a few since his post.

            The first time (1961) I climbed Couchsachraga I was with my father and we did it from our base at the northern set of Cold River lean-tos, and therefore up from the Cold River rather than down from Panther. My father knew about that lumber road connection from the N-P Trail, and we used it to get to the base of our bushwhack up Couch. It may well have been known as the "Petty Cutoff" as the long-serving Region 5 district director, Bill Petty, made numerous, but mostly minor, exceptions to permitted uses on the Forest Preserve. This could well have been one of them as the then (up to 1970) State Conservation Department dealt with the salvage logging in the aftermath of the 1950 "Big Blow". The goal of that salvage logging was to reduce the danger of forest fires from all the downed (and increasingly drier) timber.

            The trail from the Lake Arnold Trail that crossed the Van Hoevenberg Trail and continued on to a junction at the Hopkins Trail junction was known as the "ADK Alternate Trail". Constructed in 1973, it was for the totally misguided notion that reducing use of the Van Hoevenberg Trail would somehow allow that trail to "heal". Of course that didn't work, and the upper section of that trail immediately became a major quagmire with hikers occasionally sinking in over their knees in the mud. The summer of 1974 I was an "ADK Ridge Runner", a precursor of the much more effective AFRs, including dsettahr who posted earlier. Since my name badge identified me as "ADK" the mud-covered "victims" ofthe "ADK Alternate Trail" blamed me for the trail. So, without any higher approval, I took down the signs and brushed in the trail. The trail was then briefly revived, and lasted just long enough to make it onto the 1979 (field work 1976) maps. As of 1979, ADK finally had a professional trail crew whose initial mission was to harden the existingVan Hoevenberg Trail.

            The bridges on the Van Hoevenberg Trail just below the Phelps Mt. trail junction were not from the destruction of the lower lean-to. These were native stock. That lean-to was called "Trail Fork" because that was where the original Van Hoevenberg Trail crossed Phelps Brook and slab along the slope toward Indian Falls. The "fork" was the ski trail route thatfirst led to the Phelps Mt. trail, and in the 70s became the current Van Hoevenberg Trail.

            The trail that looped off of the (Upper Lake) Warden's Camp trail to Sawteeth was known, during its brief tenure, as the Tammy Stowe Trail. It accessed some ledges that, with a bit of "view improvement" (on AMR land) provided some nice views. While well-intentioned, it never became popular with hikers, and ATIS eventually abandoned it. It lasted long enough to be included in the list of "easement" trails on AMR land. When ATIS abandoned it, we sent a brief note to the DEC so that they could update their records, or even come in and reopen it as prescribed in the full text of the 1978 easement agreement.

            Dsettahr, I have no idea about that crossover from the horse trail to the Ward Brook Trail, and I confess I have yet to actually hike that section of the horse trail.

            Spencer VT, yes there was once a trail through Caribou Pass. This would have been before there were "Hitch-Up-Matilda" bridges to facilitate passage through the much lower Avalanche Pass. I think dsettahr answered your questions about the trails in the Sentinel Range.

            1932 Olympic Ski Trail map coming soon.

            Comment


            • #12
              Re Caribou Pass Trail: On one of my ascents of Avalanche Mountain I ended up on this route for quite a while. From what I saw I would assume it was a working road. At one point there was corduroy of thick tree trunks, apparently used to create the roadbed, which would have required a crew to put in place.

              Re: Old Northville Placid Trail and responding to this by D Settahr:

              "Perhaps another worthwhile mention is the old NPT between Averyville Road and Wanika Falls, which is the route depicted on the USGS maps also (the present day route is missing). It's still possible to find and follow this route off of the end of Averyville Road- in fact the first couple of miles are in excellent shape, better maintained even than the NPT itself, owing to this being the maintained right of way used to access a private inholding not far off of the former NPT. But as it gets closer to the present-day NPT to the south it does pass into some beaver meadows and the trail becomes pretty obscure in spots, overgrown with brambles and blackberries (plus there is also some beaver flooding to contend with)."

              I've used this one a lot. The trip to Wanika Falls and beyond (I've gone to Sawtooth 3 a few times this way) is much easier if upon reaching the large beaver meadows close to the intersection with the NNPT one doesn't enter them but instead goes a couple hundred yards (or less) due east to the brook. Across the brook there is a herd path that soon intersects with the NNPT.

              Comment


              • #13
                Lake Placid 1932 ski trails maps as promised
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • dwgsp
                  dwgsp commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for posting these maps, Tony. I have been interested in learning more about these 1932 ski trails for a long time, especially the trails that passed near Street & Nye.

                  However, can anyone provide a hint on how to retrieve versions of these files that are large enough to read? When I click on these using the Chrome browser (in Windows10), I only get a thumbnail that is much too small to read.

              • #14
                Originally posted by tgoodwin View Post
                The summer of 1974 I was an "ADK Ridge Runner", a precursor of the much more effective AFRs, including dsettahr who posted earlier.
                tgoodwin, what is "ADK Ridge Runner"?
                What is AFR?

                Comment


                • FlyFishingandBeer
                  FlyFishingandBeer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  AFR = Assistant Forest Ranger. tgoodwin can expand more on the role(s) of Ridge Runners in the ADK, but the application of that title can vary slightly or drastically from region to region depending on the context. In most places now a Ridge Runner kind of overlaps the roles of AFRs and summit stewards, speaking very generally. When I was growing up a ridge runner basically meant moonshiner. I'm pretty sure he's referring to the former of the two.

                • Yury
                  Yury commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you FlyFishingandBeer.
                  Assistant Forest Rangers also existed in Canada back there.
                  If I am not mistaken it was a summer job for high school students.

                • FlyFishingandBeer
                  FlyFishingandBeer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Here's a more accurate description of their role here in NYS. https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/41120.html

              • #15
                Originally posted by SpencerVT View Post
                I love this thread, I am always intrigued by old trails and old roads. I love the history of it all.
                Here is an extremely thorough article with great mapping of the Old Iron Road: https://www.aarch.org/wp-content/upl...dParts1-31.pdf
                The now-defunct Wilderness Therapy Program that I spent several summers working for while a student at Paul Smith's College would occasionally use this route. I am fairly certain that I have followed the southern portion of it, between Monument Falls and Owen Pond, but this would've been in the summer of 2007 and I have very little memory of it.

                There is also the original road from Upper Works to Port Henry, which followed a different and more northerly route than that of the present day Blue Ridge Road. I believe that a good chunk of the road to Boreas Ponds follows the same route as this road.

                There is also a fairly well (if informally) maintained stretch of this same former road along West Mill Brook in the eastern-most portion of the former Dix Mountain Wilderness (now part of the High Peaks Wilderness), which is shown on the USGS maps. The drive in to the trailhead is a bit rough, but if you can get in to the state land boundary line and continue on foot, the old road bed is obvious and very easy to follow on foot for several miles upstream along the brook. Where the USGS map shows the road making a turn to the south is about where the maintenance ends- the road bed is still somewhat easy to pick up as it passes beaver meadows and marshes to the south, but it is also densely grown in with beech thickets and not the easiest route to traverse. I have heard that it can be followed all the way to one of the notches north of Clear Pond Mountain, where it passes on to private lands owned by Elk Lake.

                I have hiked the lower portions of this old road a few times- most recently during ascents of both Camel's Hump and Camel Mountain (Camel's Hump had an open summit with amazing panoramic views and was well worth the effort, Camel Mountain had no views and I have no plans to ever return to that god-forsaken summit ever again).

                Originally posted by SpencerVT View Post
                Other defunct trails I would love to know more about:
                -There was an old trail that went from the west up into Slide Notch in the Sentinel Wilderness.
                I don't see a Slide Notch listed in the Sentinel Range on the USGS map. Like Tony suggests, I think you're thinking of one of the old ski trails into North and South Notches (on either side of Slide Mountain respectively) that I described in my post above.

                Originally posted by tgoodwin View Post
                The first time (1961) I climbed Couchsachraga I was with my father and we did it from our base at the northern set of Cold River lean-tos, and therefore up from the Cold River rather than down from Panther. My father knew about that lumber road connection from the N-P Trail, and we used it to get to the base of our bushwhack up Couch. It may well have been known as the "Petty Cutoff" as the long-serving Region 5 district director, Bill Petty, made numerous, but mostly minor, exceptions to permitted uses on the Forest Preserve. This could well have been one of them as the then (up to 1970) State Conservation Department dealt with the salvage logging in the aftermath of the 1950 "Big Blow". The goal of that salvage logging was to reduce the danger of forest fires from all the downed (and increasingly drier) timber.
                By any chance would you happen to remember some of the more specific details of your route?

                I was finally able to fulfill several long term goals I've had for 10+ years now in a single trip this past summer- paddling to Duck Hole and climbing (bushwhacking) Couch from the Cold River side. From my base camp at Duck Hole I took the horse trail south, past the Northern Lean-tos and also beyond the junction with what I have been referring to as the "Petty Cutoff." Where the horse trail crosses the stream that drains the large basin due north of Couch is where I started my bushwhack uphill. Along the way, I stumbled across obvious remnants of logging roads and then the remains of an old logging camp- an open clearing in the woods, with a massive cooking wood stove. There was also an old plow nearby that appeared to have been repurposed as a road grader. Not sure if this was a camp dating to the 1950's salvage efforts, or to earlier lumbering operations in the valley, but neat nonetheless.

                From the summit of Couch I elected to return to Duck Hole by way of going up and over Panther (with a side trek to that summit as well), down to Bradley Pond, and back to Duck Hole from there. I figured this was probably the faster/easier return route.

                Originally posted by tgoodwin View Post
                Dsettahr, I have no idea about that crossover from the horse trail to the Ward Brook Trail, and I confess I have yet to actually hike that section of the horse trail.
                I hiked it for the first and (to date) only time in the summer of 2012, on my way out from having camped at Camp Four on a trip where my primary goal was a bushwhack ascent of Sawtooth #4. At the time, the trail had recently been declared "closed" by the DEC, and as I still needed it for my (still to this day ongoing) efforts to redline the entirety of my first copy of the ADK's High Peaks map, I was eager to check it off. It seemed possible then that the trail closure may be permanent so I felt that waiting any longer was to risk an even more poorly maintained corridor (the trail has since been officially re-opened). I had always heard that this was a horrendous trail, poorly drained and with deep sections of mud- but to my surprise, it was actually in pretty decent shape, with little or no mud from what I recall. Much of it follows obvious logging roads that appear to have relatively recent origins, as evidenced by the metal culverts that pass beneath the trail in places. It does have substantially more elevation gain and loss (PUDs) than the foot trail does, however, so I can't really say that's easier that the foot trail. Just nowhere near as bad as the trails reputation had lead me to believe.

                Originally posted by Gregory Karl View Post
                I've used this one a lot. The trip to Wanika Falls and beyond (I've gone to Sawtooth 3 a few times this way) is much easier if upon reaching the large beaver meadows close to the intersection with the NNPT one doesn't enter them but instead goes a couple hundred yards (or less) due east to the brook. Across the brook there is a herd path that soon intersects with the NNPT.
                I did find that other herd path that continues downstream from the NPT along the Chubb River and was kind of perplexed as to its purpose, but now that you mention it, it does make sense that this would be an alternate means of access for "those in the know" to avoid the worst of the beaver meadows.
                Last edited by DSettahr; 01-25-2021, 10:16 PM.

                Comment


                • tgoodwin
                  tgoodwin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  When I climbed Couchsachraga from the Cold River I was 11-years-old and just following my father. I therefore can't give you any details on our route. The only thing I do remember is that my father had been asked to move the register from where it had been placed to the present location of the summit sign. I believe it had originally been placed on a bump a bit closer to the Cold River, perhaps indicating that the original placer(s) had ascended from that side.
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