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New Cascade Trail Status, 24 July 2019

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  • New Cascade Trail Status, 24 July 2019

    I was curious about the status of the construction of the new trail to Cascade. Because of construction of a new lodge on the XC ski area property, the current trailhead is near Rt 73 at the Biathlon parking area. A temporary trail marked with yellow disks follows ski trails and a newly-cut short section to the switchback on the Mt Van Hoevenberg East trail, 1.6 miles from the trailhead. The 3.9 mile new trail is in various stages of construction. It has been flagged and minimally cleared all the way to the existing Porter Mt trail near the col with Cascade. This junction is approx. 0.5 mi from Cascade and 0.4 mi from Porter. This makes it a 12.8 mile hike to both summits and back. When the new trailhead for the combined Van Ho/Cascade trails at the lodge is completed, it would be something like a mile shorter.

    The overall route is very well laid out, with low slope and side-hilling to allow water to run off rather than down the trail. Two crews were working the day I was there. One appeared to be an ADK volunteer group of 8-10 who were digging and grubbing a section of trail down to a hard soil surface. The other was a 4-person pro crew with highline cables and a GripHoist moving large rocks. Roughly one-fourth mile of trail was completed at the southern boundary of the ski area (very close to a ski trail). This section--though not particularly challenging from a trail building perspective--was very well done with raised turnpiking, rock steps, and durable drainages.

    Given that this year's work season is approximately half over, it is clear that progress has been less than hoped and promoted. Most of the trail is basically a flagged bushwhack which would not be acceptable to be opened soon, even on a temporary basis, to the general public. In addition, construction progress will be a lot slower above 3000 feet in the typical Adirondack spruce-fir forest where rocks and roots are plentiful and mineral soil for trail-hardening is scarce. With DEC committed to building an "environmentally sustainable" trail, the old Cascade trail will not be closed any time soon.


  • #2
    thanks for the update, Joe! with the new trail being more than 10 miles for the 2 peaks, I wonder which peak(s) will replace C&P as the "easiest"... Giant? Wright? Big Slide?
    46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

    Comment


    • Makwa
      Makwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Perhaps (re: Giant). With the parking restrictions there's only so many folks who can pile in. I'm thinking outside of High Peaks box here and predicting that Hurricane will get the traffic that Cascade once got.

      FWIW... I can't see any tourist hiking 10-11 miles for Cascade once the new trail opens. Nobody will ever recommend that hike to anybody ever again.

      And the horrible part is that the new Cascade trail/ trailhead parking closures will all but shut off access to Pitchoff. No family hikes to Balanced Rocks ever again.

    • YanaLG
      YanaLG commented
      Editing a comment
      true, one of my friends hiked Esther as the first for that reason. but i think most people go for the wow factor too, so I left it off as a possible recommended starter peak on social media.

      pretty sure that the parking area for pitchoff will remain. and definitely agree on Giant

    • Learning The Trails
      Learning The Trails commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe social media needs to get the memo that not all peaks have big sweeping views lol. And, from a parking standpoint - there's plenty of parking for Esther/WF.

  • #3
    Thanks for the report and update. I heard from some report that it definitely wouldn't be finished this year. But, this almost sounds like it won't be done next year either. Geez adding 5+ miles to what is currently 6 seems so ridiculous.

    Comment


    • #4
      I don't think the Pitchoff parking lot is/will be closed?

      To play devil's advocate: Yes, longer hike, but not nearly as steep or rocky. Will take longer but be a more pleasant walk.

      FWIW, the "easiest" will be Phelps. Giant will get overloaded, though, as people will think it is easy (as they do now) due to short trail, but not look at elevation gain.

      Personally, this motivates me even more to ascend the "7" slide and whack from there.

      Comment


      • YanaLG
        YanaLG commented
        Editing a comment
        it's no longer a whack. there was a great herd path even 2 years ago. but that was a great traverse with very easy car spotting. not anymore. Guessing that Giant won't get too overloaded due to parking limitations, but you are correct at what people look at.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        I noticed recently on the Strava heatmap that there was a mildly-traveled route people were taking up the 7 slide. You usually don't see that unless there's a herdpath of some sort.

        @2505... I just assumed all the pull-offs near the current Cascade trailhead would be closed when the new trail opens. Otherwise what's to stop people from using the old trail? You can only brush in so much of it. If there's parking nearby it will get used.

    • #5
      They plan to brush in as much as a mile of the old trail. Lots of stupid work to destroy a trail that's in pretty good shape, and has seen lots of good work through the years. Shame.

      I do not think they are going to close the picnic area between the two lakes. That serves a lot more than hiking (swimming, boating, fishing, picnics, ice climbing, etc.). I predicted two things a long time ago in these forums:

      >The old old trail up from the picnic area near the falls would be recut by public to provide a "short" route to Cascade. Sounds like it's already starting.

      >After Cascade trail is closed, another High Peak will take its place as the "easiest" first high peak. My prediction is it will be Big Slide. Giant has parking problems and has 3K vert which not "easy." Phelps and Wright have parking problems at ADK Loj.

      Big Slide drawing a big crowd is going to create a big parking problem in Keene Valley...

      Comment


      • #6
        Sunk cost? I guess they will build it all the way.

        Economists argue that sunk costs are not taken into account when making rational decisions.
        Last edited by Neil; 07-28-2019, 07:50 AM.

        Comment


        • #7
          I hiked the trail yesterday, Saturday 7/27, and can confirm Joe's observations. By my wheel measurements both last fall on the new Mt. Van Hoevenberg trail and on the cleared line, the new route will be between 5.3 and 5.6 miles each way just to Cascade. The range is not knowing exactly where the hiking will start with the new configuration at the recreation area as my measurements last fall started where the trail crossed the outrun to the old bobrun. In addition to the added distance, the other big negative is that the return hike will involve nearly 1.5 miles of intermittent ascents to regain the ridge of Mt. Van Hoevenberg, thereby giving many the impression that the hike was "uphill both ways".

          The 0.4 mi. of finished trail is done very well. If that standard can possibly be maintained for the entire length of the trail, it will reduce somewhat the negative of the additional distance. However, I agree with Joe that this standard will be extremely difficult to maintain as the trail climbs to much, much rougher terrain. I therefore do not see that this trail can be finished even next year, so the current Cascade trail should remain open for the foreseeable future.

          The other negative that I see with Cascade no longer being the obvious easiest 4,000-foot peak is that the wonderful educational efforts by the 46-R Trail Stewards will be dispersed to many other trailheads. For the past three years, many, many "newbies" have passed by these stewards and received a bit of important education. They have then been greeted on the summit by another educator, the Summit Steward who can explain proper behavior if those newbie go on to higher summits.

          As for parking for Pitchoff, that will still be possible. The plan is to drag in so much brush that the old trail is essentially impassable. We'll see about that as we will see how many start using the "7" Slide and its herd path to reach the summit. Somehow the expression "Jello effect" comes to mind.

          Comment


          • #8
            I have no problem with making C&P more difficult. The circus it has become of late (kegs, ADK chairs, etc dragged to summit) needs to be reined in. Sorry to sound like a wet blanket, but the mountains deserve respect, and hopefully making them tougher will give people pause before treating hiking them like a joke.

            Comment


            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              A keg party on Cascade? Or Porter? When was this? Or are you referencing that one on Phelps 3 or 4 years ago? Sidenote... the guy who organized/got ticketed for that party is a 46er. The 46ers at the time said, "the mountaintop celebration goes against the spirit of his organization, which promotes wilderness education and stewardship." and “We neither need nor want members who behave in this fashion.” I guess they never followed through and kept the guy out.

            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              I guess I have to take back part of what I just posted. The guy was a part of the group on Phelps... did not organize the hike or the keg party. https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/o...arty-on-phelps

              And article mentions there was similar party on Cascade around the same time as the Phelps party.

            • debmonster
              debmonster commented
              Editing a comment
              I think it was a reference to the incident from May 2019 that ndru reposted from reddit: https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...er-the-weekend

          • #9
            I guess I come from a different place philosophically. I like to see people having a party. My God, isn't this supposed to be "recreation" and to make people happy? As long as people clean up after themselves, I'm happy that they're happy. I go all the time into the deep woods and see no one - that's fun for me. But when I go to the most popular summits, if I see a party I'm glad!

            Comment


            • Learning The Trails
              Learning The Trails commented
              Editing a comment
              As long as it's cleaned up and the vegetation is respected... I agree with this.
              With all of the open rock... Cascade is/was the best host for casuals that want a High Peak experience.

            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              I certainly don't hate to see people having fun. I hate even less when they share their beer and other party supplies with me.

          • #10
            I just hope the new trail isn't too steep for the ADK Council...

            Comment


            • #11
              So the new approach might be slightly longer than coming by the Blueberry Trail which has ample parking (Marcy field) and is closer to I87.

              Comment


              • Learning The Trails
                Learning The Trails commented
                Editing a comment
                I've been wondering why the State hasn't been pushing for Cascade and Porter hikers to start at Marcy Field as well.

              • JoeCedar
                JoeCedar commented
                Editing a comment
                Better check the elevation of Marcy Field, about 1000 feet, versus 2000 feet for the current Cascade or Van Ho trailheads. Climbing Porter from there (over 3000 feet ascent) is about like climbing Mt Marcy from the Loj in half the distance. Climbing just to Blueberry is 2100 feet.

              • Makwa
                Makwa commented
                Editing a comment
                Blueberry plus C&P gets you 3750' ele gain on the ascent and another 650' worth of ups and down on the descent. 4400' cumulative ele gain vs the current 2400' for C&P from Rte 73.

            • #12
              Yes, I conflated the two summit parties, but both are not what I think most people want out of their summit experience. I understand the joy of the 46r achievement; I am one of 4 in my family to make it up them all, and my son is halfway there. I get the celebrating when you finish- completely appropriate to be psyched and celebrate, but without encroaching on others' expectation of a mountain scene. IMO kegs, ADK chairs, and loud music belong elsewhere.

              What I am opposed to is the conga line of hikers, the mob scene at the summit, the human waste and "Kleenex blossoms" that are so prevalent on the overly-accessible summits. The fact is, many people who make it to the highly-accessible peaks don't clean up after themselves. The keg parties are few and far between, for sure, though longer trails would limit them even more. A longer hike may also prompt people to be a little more prepared; every hike up Cascade I have made has featured encounters with people with little or no water, no food (or pack), and the wrong footwear (have seen everything from pumps to platform sneakers).

              Short of putting monitors on every peak along the Rt 73 corridor, making them a little more challenging to reach can hopefully stem the tide, or at least get people to respect the mountains a tad more. The state has to step up its education of hikers, regardless of whether the trail is 2 miles or 5 miles long, so those who do hike do so responsibly.

              If people need accessibility to a 46r, then Whiteface has been appropriately set up for them.

              Comment


              • #13
                If half the hikers aren't limping when they get back to their cars, the hike was too easy. I call it the LD50 (distance at which half the hikers are limping). (Borrowed from toxicology, dose at which half the experimental organisms die when exposed to a toxin).

                Comment


                • #14
                  And the new trail won't get finished next year, either. Oh, talking about expectations, when's the new trailhead to Allen going to be put in place? <sarcasm>

                  Once the new trail is put in, people may end up turning to Wright peak as the easy go-to peak.
                  We are closer now than we were five minutes ago

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    I have not heard of any official plans for a new Allen trailhead. That's just a dream some have had that has taken on a life of its own online

                    Comment


                    • MtnManJohn
                      MtnManJohn commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My poor Allen :-(

                    • ndru
                      ndru commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm just gonna start telling people a new route to Allen is coming. Didn't you see the press release?

                    • FlyFishingandBeer
                      FlyFishingandBeer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      It would be cool if there could be an UW <> Boreas traverse over Allen. That aside IMO the Approach to Allen is the best of any peak. The frustrating mess is the climb up the peak itself. As of last year the trail erosion from the slide crossing up to the summit step might just be the worst I've seen anywhere in the peaks. That starts at what, ~3800 feet? Why change the rest of the trail?
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