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Thread: Bushwhacking from AT to South Taconic Trail

  1. #46
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    Excellent. I hope to check this out sometime over the winter. Thanks for the work.

  2. #47
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taconic View Post
    I've only been in that area a few times since the access road on Bunker Hill is closed for half the year (as is Mt Washington Rd at the CT/MA border,)
    This is a side question. The Mt. Washington Road is NOT closed at the border. I was just there this month. Is access to the border from the South prohibited? There were no gates at the border, or visible to the South, nor signs warning of this.
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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    This is a side question. The Mt. Washington Road is NOT closed at the border. I was just there this month. Is access to the border from the South prohibited? There were no gates at the border, or visible to the South, nor signs warning of this.
    If you look right by the border marker (by the Frissel trailhead,) you'll see a huge concrete barrier in the woods just off the road (usually on the left when looking south.) By the end of next month, somebody will have come and dragged that across the road. I've always assumed that it's the state of CT so that the road doesn't need to be maintained in winter. It's usually removed again around May or June.

    I've also found access to the road blocked at Bunker Hill Rd a couple of times. I very rarely go that way (I find the road to be in much better shape coming from the MA side where it's never blocked anyway,) so I've forgotten exactly what is used to block at that end. I do remember it being signed, though, so it might've just been a chain with the sign hanging off. I've come out that way as late as October, so I think it must be a winter thing as well.

  4. #49
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    This is what it looks like in place:

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

  5. #50
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    Feedback Summary

    Here's what I've heard:

    1. "You've over-complicated the beginning. Getting from the AT to the old woods road descending to Fenton Brook is trivial."

    My comment: Well, I thought it would be trivial; that's the way I remember it from years ago, and old maps show clear connections. But when I did this in October 2009 I found main trail relocations and overgrowth, and the way I describe is what I found best.


    2. Your distances are imprecise.

    My comment: Yeah. I think I'm within a hundred yards or so at worst, usually lots closer, I did the best I could.

    3. You're being an A**hole about the legal B*****it. It's all public land there.

    My comment: Probably true. I contacted many people/agencies, got lots of responses, and never heard a word contrary to that. But I didn't get ALL the confirmations I was looking for and thus my disclaimer. I remain to this day concerned about the approximately 200 yards after you leave the meadows northwest of the Jug End Loop to the woods road going W up Whitbeck.
    Last edited by Will; 10-24-2018 at 03:54 PM.

  6. #51
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    I have used the connector several times and I think it's very serviceable. I know I promised to do further work on this and post additional info and I have been remiss.

    My initial exit from the AT has since been marked with pink surveyor tape (starting at the low rocky knoll just off the AT); I'm hoping our discussion did not cause that. There is other use of the tape as well in the area, a bit earlier, I think trying to mark the old Indian Trail and it does this badly and will lead nowhere as far as I can tell.

    Since posting my initial description of the connector route, I have found that you can continue further north on the AT, to the last major gully prior to Jug End, descending west to the Jug End Loop Trail, and then picking up my route there. You have to bounce from one side of the gully to the other as you descend to get the easiest walking through the most open woods, to avoid brush, and sometimes the water runoff beds in the deepest portion of the gully make the best walking, like rock steps, until they ice up. I have used both ways down and like both, but this keeps you up on the ridge longer for some great views to the east.
    Last edited by Will; 10-03-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  7. #52
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    I'd like to do the loop with you one day and hope you or someone can get an official status, as it's a great and logical idea for the area.
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  8. #53
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    Regarding Mount Washington Road

    It is also gated off down in Salisbury...and if I recall correctly there is not much, if any, parking.

  9. #54
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    Another side question

    Sometimes the trail head parking at the CT/MA border gets crowded.

    On the east side of Mt Washington road, there is an area where one could park, but someone tacked up a amateurish sign with a tow truck...no "by order of (agency)" and no postings.

    Does anyone know anything about this?

    I have seen the local Mass. police up there twice in 3 years, inspecting cars for signs of break-ins or loiterers perhaps.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    hike over the route this coming weekend
    Started on East Street parking right on the CT line and looped around.

    Everything on the NW passage sure looks different with the snow. Good news is that with no foliage at all you can actually see the low rocky knoll right from the AT exit point. But I floundered around for a few minutes off the knoll, started right (downhill) too early and had to break through some brush to get back on track. So if anybody has occasion real soon to follow my footprints, ignore the right turn I took and go 30 yards or so further out.

    There are a few more blowdowns, nothing serious. I walked a wide arc around the old, huge blowdown; not sure it was worth it. The woods road/path down to the Jug End Loop is pretty obvious even in the snow, and it seems to be a wldlife highway!

    The lower part of the woods road was very wet; I was wishing I had set out straight across to the low road as described.

    The path across the middle & upper meadow is considerably overgrown since my last visit. But lots of bootprints here of various ages, so someone is doing it. The path there through the woods to the climbing woods road I can't see at all with the snow, but the woods are so open that just staying away from the structures to the right so you're not maybe in someone's back yard is all you have to do. My "dry stream bed" had a pretty healthy flow!

    I totally screwed up the entry into the woods from the top of the road. I followed bootprints that were "kinda" going in the right direction but they kept taking me more and more to the left and I eventually had to make a huge, slabbing correction to the right of 300 rough yards or so. No fun at all. Once back on track the descent was obvious and easy even with a little ice and snow. Again, the area wildlife seem to be reading this forum.

    At the top of the final woods road I went onto the clearing a bit, around the left edge, and took the obvious cut into the woods leading very shortly to the South Taconic Trail. This is shorter than the cut over just prior to the clearing if you don't mind a little (probably) trespassing.

    All in all, the route worked well with the snow cover.
    Last edited by Will; 10-24-2018 at 04:36 PM.

  11. #56
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    2014 Revisions

    I have revisited this area a couple of times in recent months. Very nice in the Fall.

    Vegetation growth has changed some things about my "NW Passage" from the Appalachian Trail across to the South Taconic Trail. The initial short entry to my route from the AT has seen considerable thickening. Not high growth but thick ground cover and some thigh-high gnarly stuff. The faint path itself is still there, open and easy, but just a step or two off and you're in a mess. The surveyors tape that someone (not me) had placed on this section a few years ago is almost completely gone. As soon as I can get my notes organized, I'm going to post a VERY detailed description and a GPS route of this first 400 yards.

    The upper meadows reaching up onto Mount Whitbeck used to have two district paths through them, now totally overgrown with waist- and even chest-deep grass and occasional small pricker bush thickets. Very tough going, though I got through unscathed (long pants!). I have cobbled together a bypass going into the woods earlier and skirting around the upper meadows. It's made up of some old woods road sections, discernable trail traces, a very shallow and very trail-like dry stream bed, and a long stretch of easy walking alongside an old stone wall. The result is a surprisingly direct and simple 10-15 minute walk in the woods. Nothing I would call a bushwhack, but this bypass is definitely "off-trail." I will be posting a description and GPS track very soon.

    Finally, I have replaced my two options for descending from the upper woods road to Fenton Brook with a very nice and easy descent along a stream bank. Though not a trail, the high bank is wider and softer (forest duff) than just about any trail you're going to find anywhere.

    I'm posting this to let interested people know it's coming, but also as a commitment to motivate myself to get to work and put my notes and GPS tracks together in some cogent form!

  12. #57
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    Thank you. I have done Jug End Road to Salisbury both N-S and S-N with a car spot; but I prefer solo trips.

    I have had your loop details in a folder for a few years now but never pulled the trigger

  13. #58
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    Updated AT to STT Information Uploaded July 2015

    Attached is a plain text file description reflecting various changes and additional information to the Route through July 8, 2015 a gps track zipped, and an overall map view.
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    Last edited by Will; 07-08-2015 at 09:05 PM.

  14. #59
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Congratulations. I appreciate your perseverance.
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  15. #60
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    I just did a loop from south of Bear Mountain using the Nothwest Passage crossover for the first time in a couple/few years so here are some of my current observations on the crossover. You can use these to supplement the old GPS track and description I previously posted. No big changes.

    The beginning off the AT north of Mt Undine is getting a lot of traffic and is pretty routine now. From the low rock knoll just walk away from it looking for the two evergreens I mentioned, pass close to those and look for passage bearing right and the path firms up unmistakably. My very detailed step by step instructions here are starting to look a little silly now.

    At the bottom of the deepish streambed down to the Jug End Loop I talk about joining a blue-blazed trail and this is true. But it happens that the point of juncture is probably the faintest portion of that trail and there are only a couple of faded blue blazes near the junction. Make your turn right N at the bottom. There are the remains of an old cabin on your right and a still-intact cabin further to your left. Just stay between them, much closer to the one on the right and you’ll start seeing more frequent blue blazes very soon.

    On the grassy road starting at the utility pole, the weeds have really gown up but they are thin and spindly and easy to walk through. Rather than a single path tramping down the weeds there are 2-3 narrow paths, all going in the same direction within the road. The sliver of meadow to your right off this road has become LESS overgrown and the short path through and back into the woods is even more obvious.

    I’m seeing the rock wall a little sooner, the brush and blowdown cover at the start has somehow lessened so you’ll have the wall to follow very quickly. I did notice two short lengths of old barbed wire still standing at chest high near the start, one about 20 feet long and the other maybe 10. Watch out Once the low rock wall gives out you’re already seeing the houses off to your right so just stay way away from their back yards but avoid climbing the high ground to your left and you absolutely can’t miss the gravel/grassy road ahead even if you can’t see the exact path through the very open woods here.

    Once you go back into the woods at the top of this gassy road up Mt Whitbeck I see people are having trouble. The ONE continuous path I see is really only my choice among a maze of intersecting paths. All I can suggest is following my track closely here at each path intersection, complicated by the fact that GPS tracks are inherently inaccurate (I saw 50-70 foot discrepancies). Just try to follow me in the right direction anyway. You want to postpone attacking the slope building on your right until you see an easy way up. To me its obvious but I see scuff marks all over the slope. Doesn’t matter hugely but to me it’s obvious where you want to go up.

    From the top of that ridge I also see numerous lines of recent travel, human and game, down to Karner Brook. The field of ferns has withered and is easy to get through now. Just go down the slope where you want, it’s all easy, open and gentle but again I feel the choice I described is the best.

    I was impatient this time and just plowed directly down the steep lower bank to Karner and up the even steeper west bank to come out right at the woods road up to the South Taconic Trail. But this is VERY steep and my original instructions on where to slab down and back up are a lot better.

    MY entrance point to the South Taconic Trail is a few hundred yards south of some pretty nice views. If you have time you might want to turn N instead to pick up the views then backtrack.

    Overall this was a great loop trip I really enjoyed. Foliage still not at its peak, if there’s even going to be a peak here with the strange weather. Enjoy.

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