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Thread: Logging Camps - 22A

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    Junior Member SnowOnThePines93's Avatar
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    Logging Camps - 22A

    Good Evening Everyone. This is my first post on VFTT and I hope to dive into the weeds real quick!

    A friend and I have been looking into some of the old logging camps within the Pemi Wilderness. We caught the bug after we bushwhacked up to Red Rock Pond (up Red Rock Brook) and found remnants of Camp 14. We found the old railroad bed on the way down, which connects to the Franconia Brook Trail, and made a much quicker pace than the side hilling we did on banks of Red Rock Brook on the way up. We are planning a summer jaunt and were curious about Camp 22A, which is/was located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Bond. I have read a couple threads in VFTT regarding other camps and I know a couple folks have searched for camp 23A in the Jumping Brook area. Has anyone had success finding camp 23A for that matter?

    I picked up a copy of J.E. Henry's Logging Railroads by Bill Gove not too long ago and wanted to see if this gave anymore specific insight to Camp locations other than the few maps he has in the books (which I had seen prior to purchasing). Although it was more about the people, logging life, and politics of the day, which was fascinating, it didn't detail the locations in the way I had hoped.

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    Caltopo with sketch lines
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    Bill Gove Sketch Circa 1997
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    Bill Gove Sketch Circa 2010


    The caltopo screen shot above shows colored drainages, colored for reference due to three of the drainages being unnamed, of the eastern slope of Mt. Bond/Bondcliff. Gove's depictions of drainages is consistent between his 1997 and 2010 sketches. He clearly shows Jumping Brook and its Eastern fork (heading toward Guyote Shelter), which matches up great with the purple drainage above. The Black Brook drainage (Red) also lines up great with Gove's sketches, with Camp 16 at its base. Camp 16 must be awfully close to the start of the Bondcliff trail.

    Gove depicts two drainages between Jumping Brook and Black Brook. "New Camp 22" is depicted on the west side of the North Fork of the East Branch of the Pemi between these two drainages. My gut is to say that the Yellow and Green drainages I drew would be the most prominent due their size from aerial images and would be depicted, but perhaps the Blue drainage I drew was actually depicted. I don't have enough experience to know how closely the lines depicted on his sketches are to real life. If I look closely at Gove's sketches both of his depicted drainages seem to flow to the southeast where as the yellow drainage seems to flow more directly to the east. This is perhaps more complicated because current aerial/lidar imagery of the junction of the North Fork and Jumping Brook looks like a big outwash area, which could have happened post logging, which possibly could have altered how the drainages enter into the North Fork.

    My discrepancy and interest lies in his depiction of the Camp 22A location. In Gove's 1997 sketch he shows it at the top of either the Green or Blue drainage. In Gove's 2010 sketch it almost seems like its at the top of Black Brook (Red), near where the trail takes a hard left turn (heading up) near 3400'. So where is Camp 22A? I would think that if the camp was really located at the top of Black Brook they would have named it Camp 16A, to match Camp 16 at the base of the same drainage. My hunch is that Camp 22A is up high in the Green drainage. To be even more specific there is a very small plateau area at about 3000', which looks suspicious to me, but could certainly be me trying to look into clues that aren't there.

    Either way my friend and I are excited to do any overnight in the Pemi and explore the area. I am curious if anyone has ever looked for or found this logging camp? I know a few folks on this forum have poked around this area and are interested in logging camps.

    Happy Trails!
    Last edited by SnowOnThePines93; 02-07-2021 at 11:18 PM.
    - If you ain't whacking bush you ain't bushwhacking

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    Have you looked over the Lidar images to see if there are any obvious main run roads to that area?.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    If you find yourself in Lincoln, go see Steve Smith at the Mountain Wanderer.

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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I think peakbagger's suggestion is very good - search the Web for NH Stone Wall Mapper to see LIDAR images. They are pretty revealing in terms of abandoned roads and railway beds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I think peakbagger's suggestion is very good - search the Web for NH Stone Wall Mapper to see LIDAR images. They are pretty revealing in terms of abandoned roads and railway beds.

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    Caltopo has a Lidar layer now, though it's just one angle. They call it "shaded relief."

    There are some interesting features near the top of the blue drainage with a couple obvious roads ascending. The green drainage has some more obvious roads, as well. I know from exploring a lot in the purple and yellow drainages that the roads in the area are still very easy to follow on the ground.

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    My guess would be to figure out which camps that were not associated with a rail line that you know the location of and then figure out what features on lidar are associated with the known camps and then see if you can find any likely targets in the areas you are looking at. The rail associated camps like the ones at the end of the RedRock Brook branch had access to heavy equipment of the era and given the needs of railroad meant a lot of land disturbance. These tended to be used as storage areas for logs hauled in by horses to be loaded onto trains so it makes sense that they would have to smooth out the terrain. The "high camps" are in areas too steep (on not economic) to run rail but still had to have access to the logging network so they are going to be accessed by main haul roads and in some cases "go back" roads which parallel the main roads. Logically they will be located in the lower part of drainage near a water source probably at the intersection of multiple main downslope collector roads that connect with the dugways that normally follow the contours or slightly slab upslope.

    My limited experience is the smaller camps that were strictly outposts for workers tended to be built on whatever contour existed. Not a lot of digging or flattening. The camps were temporary and its lot easier to build up off the ground using whatever materials were at hand then to dig in. Higher resolution Lidar might pick up that disturbance like it does cellar holes but the free Lidar images on the GRANIT server (where Stone Wall mapper resides) is not that high of a resolution (but still very useful).

    Speaking of Steve Smith, he mentioned that through one of his contacts that he had gotten a mashup of lidar imagery with a topo overlay that was quite useful for his own use (IE not for distribution). I think it was from someone that had access to software tools and databases that the typical hiking public does not have access to. From my limited understanding of the technology Lidar creates a point cloud, it then is post processed with software to create the shading shown on GRANIT. My guess is given enough processing time the false shading could be calculated from multiple angles and that may reveal even more traces of man made impact. I think UNH will supply a copy of the point cloud to those requesting it and supplying a very large mass storage drive as its too large to reasonably send it over the internet. Its then up to the user to get the software and licenses to do the post processing. No doubt there is someone out there with the software and motivation to do this.

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    I had found this site last year and enjoy many well-photographed historical explorations by the author, https://scenicnh.photoshelter.com/ga...00UDSvKxoAGpI/

    Nothing solid for you here on a quick look, but note his multiple pages of images that have very descriptive captions that may contain some clues on what you may or may not have seen so far.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    As suggested, stop in The Mountain Wonderer in Lincoln and talk with Steve smith. You could also contact Erin Donovan at, https://www.scenicnh.com/ . I believe he's been to every logging camp there is in the WMNF. Although I don't think he'll give out exact locations. I tried to find 23a once several years ago. A smattering of artifacts near the rail bed north of Jumping book. and did find a road around 2500' but not much else. Way more time was needed. Supposedly 23a is the jackpot for artifacts.
    Joe

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    Junior Member SnowOnThePines93's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for bringing the NH Stone Wall Mapper to my attention, I was unaware of this tool. I was primarily using the Hybrid Sat. on caltopo and I thought that was revealing, but the LiDAR for the Stone Wall Mapper is much more revealing of logging lines. Thanks for letting me know about Eric Donovan, seems like he has some real deep knowledge about the history of the area, I'll have to dig deeper. I had a wide ranging conversation with Steve Smith the last time I was in Lincoln, but this particular camp location din't come up. Thats where I picked up the Logging Railroads book.

    peakbagger - It would be great to have a LiDAR/Topo overlay. I have done some work with AutoCAD/Carlson using point data to build surfaces, but would like to some day be able to work with much bigger and diverse datasets. You also bring up a good point about Camps 22A and 23A possibly being more of "outposts" rather than camps. You are correct that neither of the "A" camps had actual rails going to them and for that reason may have had less supplies/structures/land disturbance etc. I also like your idea of using the LiDAR of known camp location without rail lines as a basis for scoping out others. I haven't been to any yet, so may the journey begin!

    JoshandBaron - Ive been into some of the Jumping Brook Drainage while locating Joe Boyle Pond and poking around a bit. The logging lines were pretty obvious, but from what I remember almost harder to walk along them than inbetween them. How were the woods in the 'Yellow Drainage' by the way?

    JustJoe - My friend and I were inspired by one of your blog posts years ago to explore part of Jumping Brook and Joe Boyle Pond. You really do need some time to explore that area. There is just no real quick easy access to that area for a day trip, particularly if you are going up into Jumping Brook and poking around. One definitely needs at least a weekend.
    - If you ain't whacking bush you ain't bushwhacking

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    I think there is an "A" camp on Cedar Brook trail above the camp at the end of the old road/rail line (I dont have my map of the logging camps at hand). I think Cedar Brook was way late in the game.

    I went with Jazzbo from VFTT one day along the Owls head Spur and stopped for awhile at what appeared to be a large camp just east of the West End crossing of Lincoln Brook. It was obvious that it was spread out quite a bit but no real evidence of any significant ground disturbance outside of the track limits. If you havent roamed the Owls Head Spur its worthy day. The elevation of the east end of track, presumably the beginning of a large trestle over Franconia Brook is quite impressive.

    There are a few old logging camp sites in my area, one on the Success Trail just past the Outlook in the Mahoosuc's and one at the junction of the North Carter trail and the Imp trail. In both cases, there was not much ground disturbance beyond compaction an corresponding change in tree type. My guess is "A" camps were only active for a couple of winters at best as I think Henry wanted to get into and area and done quickly.

    No doubt the forest service has locations and assessments of all the sites but given the recent attempt to protect these sites and get volunteers to monitor them I dont see them being helpful. I think one of their issues in asking for volunteers to keep an eye on these areas is that a volunteer may inadvertently reveal locational info inadvertently with something like a geotagged photo (many cameras/smart phones gotag by deafault). Heck the forest service doesnt even want to admit the Black Brook Trestle, arguably the most impressive artifact in the whites exists. Last thing I know there is still a pile of junk at the Thoreau Falls bridge site awaiting a future helicopter haul that probably has no funding to do.

    I was always curious if Gove intentionally drew such crude maps on purpose?. Underhill being an AMC member used the AMC maps as a base map which tied back to USGS so they are a lot easier to use.

    My experience with older dugways is that its crap shot, A friend and I spent some time in RedRock area 2 years ago following dugways and although obvious, a 100 years of blowdown made them no better than bushwhacking. In other areas they are quite distinct and appear to provide a path of least resistance. We ended up walking up a streambed to skip the worst of it.

    BTW welcome to VFTT, I look forward to your adventures.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-08-2021 at 10:53 AM.

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    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Welcome to Views!

    I doubt (as would be my hope) you're going to get explicit locations of the remote camps. Some of these have been found by more than one person that I can think of, so while it's not easy, think of it as part of the adventure. :-)

    My concern, and that of a number of others, is that if locations were made public, there'd be quite the influx of people going to these, and of course someone(s) would have to create/maintain a bootleg trail. Lots of people would undoubtedly cause a large disturbance of the camp area, as witnessed by the trailside camps where artifacts have been moved to be "put on display," of which there is zero need to do. The sites lose a lot of historical significance at that point, as you can't be sure where most anything originally was, therefore, you've lost how the camp was likely setup, how it operated, etc. The remote camps should be relatively undisturbed, so it's a potential trove of information to those actively researching such things.

    One example is a harp switch at one of the trailside (railside!) camps got moved to be displayed, which had it not have been touched, would have made it pretty simple to figure out where one should be looking for the side track. All you can say now is there was a side track. Somewhere.

    Looting is a concern as well. Would it be hard to imagine with all the yahoos out there now that someone wouldn't take something from 23A just as bragging rights that they went to the Coveted Camp?

    Foremost, keep in mind these are protected sites governed by Federal law. Besides removing of artifacts, digging of any kind is not allowed, and actually disturbance of any kind is illegal. Disturbance, meaning don't pick it up, don't kick it over, simply leave it as is on the ground (or embedded in a tree ).

    Sorry for the soapbox, but when I see these things come up, I just like to make clear the concerns of myself and a significant number of other folks who have/are researching.

    That being said, as far as actually being helpful...

    Don't trust the maps in Gove's or Belcher's books as absolutes. While they both got into the woods, I know there are inaccuracies on both. Maybe purposeful, or more likely they were being made/refined with discussions with the old timers (e.g., the Boyles).

    If you don't have it, get Belcher's "Logging Railroads of the White Mountains." There's some interesting tidbits in the EB&L section (and Holleran's map). I would strongly suggest Erin Paul Donovan's "East Branch and Lincoln Railroad." While really a photo-essay, there are some fantastic old photos in there not on the internet. He also has a map (great for showing spur lines not shown elsewhere), but he has purposefully not been clear about the exact camp locations. As Joe said, he been to all of them, but his website is clear that he will not give out the locations.

    LiDAR is helpful, but it's not going to nail down the remote camps. One I have been to (prior to LiDAR) has subtleties indicating it's location, but you would need to understand how the operations worked to get it, and even then, it would only register as a potential spot to check. As peakbagger noted, it's a crap shoot as to using the dugways for access. I've seen some that are amazingly obvious and open, some are choked with blowdown and young trees, and then there was a spur line that was quite obvious on LiDAR, yet to my amazement was barely followable on the ground. All a crap shoot.

    Enjoy the adventure, and the more work you do yourself, the more special the reward will be when finding it.

    DISCLAIMER: I have been guilty in the past of removing dirt from partially buried objects, and more recently of picking things up. While I put those things back in place (though not exactly the way I found it), I do regret this upon a reading of the actual law, and a far better understanding of why it is in place. You might think that they'll just rot in the ground unseen, but there may come a time when folks get the proper permitting to dig and research in a lawful manner.
    Last edited by Salty; 02-08-2021 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Added Hypocrisy Disclaimer :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowOnThePines93 View Post

    peakbagger - It would be great to have a LiDAR/Topo overlay. I have done some work with AutoCAD/Carlson using point data to build surfaces, but would like to some day be able to work with much bigger and diverse datasets. You also bring up a good point about Camps 22A and 23A possibly being more of "outposts" rather than camps. You are correct that neither of the "A" camps had actual rails going to them and for that reason may have had less supplies/structures/land disturbance etc. I also like your idea of using the LiDAR of known camp location without rail lines as a basis for scoping out others. I haven't been to any yet, so may the journey begin!

    JoshandBaron - Ive been into some of the Jumping Brook Drainage while locating Joe Boyle Pond and poking around a bit. The logging lines were pretty obvious, but from what I remember almost harder to walk along them than inbetween them. How were the woods in the 'Yellow Drainage' by the way?
    Caltopo will also give you that lidar/topo overlay.

    The yellow drainage is a little easier going than the stuff north of jumping brook but it was logged at the same time as the JB drainage so it's basically the same.

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    Junior Member SnowOnThePines93's Avatar
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    Peakbagger - I'm curious is Gove just found a map of the peaks & drainages, of the era, and then just overplayed the railroads/camps overtop or whether he created it all from scratch. If the latter is the case and he really created them in the late 90s/2000s he certainly could have been more accurate/presicse. If the former is true I suppose he trying to keep it authentic to the time. They are certainly still very useful, but not super accurate. I work as a Land Surveyor and have seen many old maps and plats and its always amazed me how useful some maps can be and at the same time be quite imprecise. I would agree that the dugways are a crap shoot. Sometimes they can useful and other times they can be full of blowdowns and are truly a pain. Thanks for the welcoming. I have poked around here for years looking at this and that and I thought it was finally time to be able to participate.

    Salty - I completely understand where you and others are coming from. I don't use GPS and only use map and compass while out in the woods. I suppose I was just trying to nail down slightly more precise general area rather than GPS coordinates or a clear feature to look for. I also have no intentions of taking/disturbing any items or artifacts. I have just gotten into some more off trail adventures and this is a great way to explore some of the less traveled areas in the Whites. My friend and I are particularly fond of the Pemi Wilderness and will find any excuse to get out there. Thanks for the tip on Belcher's book. I just ordered a copy of that and Guy Waterman's "An Outline of Trail Development in the White Mountains: 1840-1980". Maybe I can find/explore some abandoned trails as well.

    Thank you to everyone for the LiDAR/Stone Wall Mapping tidbit, the book recommendations, and the welcoming.
    - If you ain't whacking bush you ain't bushwhacking

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