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Thread: North And South Brother

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    North And South Brother

    I'll be heading back to Baxter in a few weeks and for the first time I will be staying at Nesowadnehunk Field instead of Roaring Brook. The main hike I hope to do is of North And South Brother, and depending on degree of difficulty Fort. Plan on doing the Doubletops the other day (weather permitting). So some basic questions:

    1) I am guessing it makes sense to do the "loop" by first ascending to Mt Coe, which appears to have a steep section with ledges that I assume is easier to climb earlier in the day rather than descend later in the day. Yes?
    2) Map shows prominent rivers at junction of Marsten and Mt Coe Trails, in the col between North and South Brother and on the return part of Marsten Trail near a sizeable pond (no name on map I have). Are these generally reliable sources of water, even in dry years?
    3) I haven't read much on Fort but the few reports I've seen make it sound like a nasty push through scrub. Is there any sort of herd path for it? Is there anything gained by doing it in terms of views? I know it is a NE115 peak but I don't really care too much about that.
    4) I assume I don't need a DUPR for that trailhead so I will likely drive down from Neso to that trailhead. Is the parking area reasonably large? I will be doing on a MON or TUE depending on weather so I assume I will be fine getting a space?

    Anything else I should hit in the area? Looks like some neat places along the Tote Road heading in there I will try to stop at on the SUN I arrive or after hiking one of the other days. I'm worried with this very lengthy stretch of great weather we're having that I might not get very good weather so having some lousy weather alternatives for the area would be nice. Appreciate any feedback on this part of the park. Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    I don't remember any rivers near Marsten trail. Mt Coe, I'm assuming you are talking about the slide? Bare rock. Can be tricky if it's wet.

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Coe-Brothers-Fort is a nice day. The Coe slide is definitely easier up than down. It isn't very steep but is very slabby, almost polished in places, and occasional ball bearings. Fort had a herd path developing pretty solidly as of ten years ago. It's NEHH not NE115 and the summit is bare, maybe not better than the views from Coe but a nice addition to the day.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jniehof View Post
    Coe-Brothers-Fort is a nice day. The Coe slide is definitely easier up than down. It isn't very steep but is very slabby, almost polished in places, and occasional ball bearings. Fort had a herd path developing pretty solidly as of ten years ago. It's NEHH not NE115 and the summit is bare, maybe not better than the views from Coe but a nice addition to the day.
    There is only one recent report on NETC and it makes it sound as though there is a pretty good herd path. Some comments I've seen on the NE100 Facebook page made it sound like a bit of a battle through the scrub. I guess I'll just wing it based on weather, time of day and how I feel.

    P.S. "Ball bearings"? I assume you mean when those little rocks roll down under your feet just as you are stepping where they are rolling. Don't know that I've heard that term before.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I don't remember any rivers near Marsten trail. Mt Coe, I'm assuming you are talking about the slide? Bare rock. Can be tricky if it's wet.
    There are several rivers on the map that intersect the trail. Would be nice if they are decent brooks so I can filter water as I go, especially if it's hot.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    1) I am guessing it makes sense to do the "loop" by first ascending to Mt Coe, which appears to have a steep section with ledges that I assume is easier to climb earlier in the day rather than descend later in the day. Yes?
    I did it this way in summer, and as an out-and-back in winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    2) Map shows prominent rivers at junction of Marsten and Mt Coe Trails, in the col between North and South Brother and on the return part of Marsten Trail near a sizeable pond (no name on map I have). Are these generally reliable sources of water, even in dry years?
    I have heard that pond called Teardrop Pond. That should be reliable. I recall that from Marston to North Brother was quite wet... water running down the trail, in September. It must come from somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    3) I haven't read much on Fort but the few reports I've seen make it sound like a nasty push through scrub. Is there any sort of herd path for it? Is there anything gained by doing it in terms of views? I know it is a NE115 peak but I don't really care too much about that.
    My recollection is that the footbed was pretty clear and easy enough to follow, although the brush has grown together, meaning you do have to push through it and you can't easily see where you're stepping.

    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    4) I assume I don't need a DUPR for that trailhead so I will likely drive down from Neso to that trailhead. Is the parking area reasonably large? I will be doing on a MON or TUE depending on weather so I assume I will be fine getting a space?
    No need. You will likely be the only one there.

    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Anything else I should hit in the area? Looks like some neat places along the Tote Road heading in there I will try to stop at on the SUN I arrive or after hiking one of the other days. I'm worried with this very lengthy stretch of great weather we're having that I might not get very good weather so having some lousy weather alternatives for the area would be nice. Appreciate any feedback on this part of the park. Thanks.
    Half day trips include South Turner, Daicey/Kidney Pond, and Niagra / Little Niagra Falls.

    My Summer Trip which has a link to all the pictures.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I did it this way in summer, and as an out-and-back in winter.


    I have heard that pond called Teardrop Pond. That should be reliable. I recall that from Marston to North Brother was quite wet... water running down the trail, in September. It must come from somewhere.


    My recollection is that the footbed was pretty clear and easy enough to follow, although the brush has grown together, meaning you do have to push through it and you can't easily see where you're stepping.


    No need. You will likely be the only one there.


    Half day trips include South Turner, Daicey/Kidney Pond, and Niagra / Little Niagra Falls.

    My Summer Trip which has a link to all the pictures.

    Tim
    Thanks for the info. Looks like it was an excellent trip. I hope I get at least one decent weather day to do it.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    P.S. "Ball bearings"? I assume you mean when those little rocks roll down under your feet just as you are stepping where they are rolling. Don't know that I've heard that term before.
    Pretty much. Just loose little stuff under foot that rolls out as soon as you weight it.

    The general guideline for the Fort herdpath was to look down as, although it's overgrown at your feet, you can see more of a corridor there than through the trees. It's also not exactly a hard compass bearing to follow. Folks have been lost in the area before, at least one fatal, but I found it easier than, say, Scar from the Kanc.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Even 10-15 years ago, the Fort herd path was quite easy to follow. The only problem is it does NOT proceed in a straight line. IIRC, you start out somewhat diagonally left down the scree slope, and then you have to turn right. As others have said, keep calm, look at your feet, and have an idea what your bearing should be. The top is flat with a few candidates for the true summit, and there used to be some plane wreck parts here and there.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    I am headed up to Baxter tomorrow morning (Fri) for 4.5 days of hiking including the Brothers and Fort. Staying at South Branch Ponds for 2 nights And Nesowadnehunk for 3. Will try and pay attention to current H2O conditions and report back. If I forget, PM me next week.

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    In the past the herd path was not an issue except for where its enters the woods from North Brother and where it ends at Fort. On the North Brother side the path was not obvious where it goes in the woods as the spruce/fir is thick, there were a couple of false openings that tend to get used as people try them hoping they are the right one and then walk out of the woods. Eventually if you whack around in the woods enough, you will pick up the main path. The herd path used to disappear when approaching the summit cone of Fort. It was a scramble up over mossy boulders and blowdown. Lot to be said for leather Gloves and safety glasses.

    The trail up North Brother is an eroded ditch with water running down it. I suspect given the size of the North Brother, the above treeline area is the source of the water and is just whatever rain falls and daily condensation forming on the rocks and draining down. I talked with BSP and they have had the eroded section of the trail "on the list" for several years to rehab but the Abol and now Dudley rebuilds have taken higher priority. I do not remember any reliable water from the base of Coe to the pond that you walk by on the Marston trail after you have skirted the cliffs. Note looks like beaver pond and suggest treatment is needed.

    Its a long day, start early, end late. Technically if you plan to bushwhack you are supposed to check in with a ranger and note it on the trailhead register. I expect many do neither. Given that the there are some 4Ks on the loop it does get pretty steady use. The loop gets a lot of use so its not easy to lose but I expect a long walk out solo with headlamp is something to avoid. There is no good reason not to be on the trail at the crack of dawn.

    Of course if you just want North Brother, the old Marston Slide trail route is a fun alternative. 3200 feet ground distance and 1100 feet vertical. One of the most impressive slides I have climbed. It was closed 30 plus years ago as with the popularity of Coe it really wasn't a good loop and due to steepness, falling rock from hikers above is definitely a major hazard.

    Sentinel Mountain is easy hike to a nice view. The trail starts at Kidney Pond and goes cross country and then climbs up to the view ledges. It doesn't have an open summit cone but there is a loop around the summit that has numerous views. Usually blueberries along this loop. About 2.2 miles and 780 feet of elevation gain. Good one to loosen up the legs after a long drive up to the park. There is some great swimming spots along Nesowadnehunk Stream as you drive up. They are real obvious. Somewhere along this stream are slate beds with fossils.

    I usually stop by the Birches with cold beer for through hikers if I am camping nearby but given you are at Nesowadnehunk its bit of long drive.

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    BTW, I have not been to plane wreck site, the westerly summit is generally accepted as the actual highest summit. The hike to the East summit adds 1/4 mile out and back in thick brush from the west summit and the wreck is reportedly on the south slope. The west summit used to have part of the wrecked planes avionics built into the cairn.

  13. #13
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    It had been raining so it is quite possible that the running water on the trail was rain from 48 hours earlier. It was 1-2 deep ascending Norrh Brother and 6 +/- on places lower down where it might be too late in the day to help you much.

    You could always bring water storage, treat and fill at Teardrop, and cache at the ridge. Of course then you are going out and back both ways. This is the less technical winter route.

    Tim

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDawg View Post
    I am headed up to Baxter tomorrow morning (Fri) for 4.5 days of hiking including the Brothers and Fort. Staying at South Branch Ponds for 2 nights And Nesowadnehunk for 3. Will try and pay attention to current H2O conditions and report back. If I forget, PM me next week.
    That's awesome. Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    In the past the herd path was not an issue except for where its enters the woods from North Brother and where it ends at Fort. On the North Brother side the path was not obvious where it goes in the woods as the spruce/fir is thick, there were a couple of false openings that tend to get used as people try them hoping they are the right one and then walk out of the woods. Eventually if you whack around in the woods enough, you will pick up the main path. The herd path used to disappear when approaching the summit cone of Fort. It was a scramble up over mossy boulders and blowdown. Lot to be said for leather Gloves and safety glasses.

    The trail up North Brother is an eroded ditch with water running down it. I suspect given the size of the North Brother, the above treeline area is the source of the water and is just whatever rain falls and daily condensation forming on the rocks and draining down. I talked with BSP and they have had the eroded section of the trail "on the list" for several years to rehab but the Abol and now Dudley rebuilds have taken higher priority. I do not remember any reliable water from the base of Coe to the pond that you walk by on the Marston trail after you have skirted the cliffs. Note looks like beaver pond and suggest treatment is needed.

    Its a long day, start early, end late. Technically if you plan to bushwhack you are supposed to check in with a ranger and note it on the trailhead register. I expect many do neither. Given that the there are some 4Ks on the loop it does get pretty steady use. The loop gets a lot of use so its not easy to lose but I expect a long walk out solo with headlamp is something to avoid. There is no good reason not to be on the trail at the crack of dawn.

    Of course if you just want North Brother, the old Marston Slide trail route is a fun alternative. 3200 feet ground distance and 1100 feet vertical. One of the most impressive slides I have climbed. It was closed 30 plus years ago as with the popularity of Coe it really wasn't a good loop and due to steepness, falling rock from hikers above is definitely a major hazard.

    Sentinel Mountain is easy hike to a nice view. The trail starts at Kidney Pond and goes cross country and then climbs up to the view ledges. It doesn't have an open summit cone but there is a loop around the summit that has numerous views. Usually blueberries along this loop. About 2.2 miles and 780 feet of elevation gain. Good one to loosen up the legs after a long drive up to the park. There is some great swimming spots along Nesowadnehunk Stream as you drive up. They are real obvious. Somewhere along this stream are slate beds with fossils.

    I usually stop by the Birches with cold beer for through hikers if I am camping nearby but given you are at Nesowadnehunk its bit of long drive.
    Thanks for the always detailed replies. I'll keep Sentinel in mind. I always try to get up there and settled in as early as possible on my first day so have a full half day to look around. I'm going to miss being able to pop over to Sandy Stream pond many times in a day at Roaring Brook but the open fields at Nesowadnehunk looked pretty spectacular too. If the weather is really dreary I'll probably explore around the many ponds further down the road.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

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