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Thread: Falling Waters trail is looking better

  1. #1
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    Falling Waters trail is looking better

    I did the Franconia Ridge loop today. I was dreading the hike down FW trail as last year it was trashed. I had brought a trash bag and rubber gloves to do my part, turned out it was much cleaner than last year. There were also a couple of areas where switchbacks were being bypassed last year to the point where the bypasses were looking more used than the main trail. I found little or no trash along the lower section near the falls. Someone has brushed in the bypasses around the switchbacks to make it obvious that it not the trail and would make them difficult to use.

    I did saw several blowdowns on both OBP and FW trails. At most of them the blowdown was in the trail while people were using threaded bypasses. It felt satisfying to cut the blowdown up and move it from the trail and into the bypass.

    I headed up OBP and didnt see anyone until I had left Greenleaf Hut and was heading up Lafayette. It was windy with blue skies when I got to the summit but it quickly clouded up and as I headed south on the ridge I got pelted with hail. It was definitely a day where the mountain was making the weather. Lots of folks doing it counter clockwise. My guess was they had a less pleasant hike on the ridge. I did use traction on FW from just below Haystack to 10 minutes past Shining rock.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-14-2021 at 05:29 PM.

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    Thank you for filling in the bypasses. Most hikers do not know how much damage is caused by skipping switchbacks or walking off trail to avoid a blowdown or "socially distance."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    Thank you for filling in the bypasses. Most hikers do not know how much damage is caused by skipping switchbacks or walking off trail to avoid a blowdown.
    Yes -- thank you for taking the time to brush in the bypasses. Fingers crossed that the next time you're up there, you'll see that someone hasn't removed the bypass brushing thinking that they're helping clear the trail.

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    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    Thanks for your efforts on this wonderful but heavily used trail. Glad to hear it was a bit better than expectations. I know it is early but I have been finding the trails pretty trash free the last few months. I did Champney-Piper yesterday, another heavily used trail and saw no trash. The steward program has a done a great job on the ridge to establish a clearly obvious trail over the past ten years. Of course you still see the uninitiated wandering all over the alpine turfIt is even more difficult to prevent these bypasses, hoping your efforts will help maintain the trail, thanks again.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I did the Franconia Ridge loop today...
    Hey Peakbagger, what was the scene at the Greenlead hut? Any staff in residence? Open for business (pun intended. Take out window in operation?

    cb
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    It was locked up tight, no signs of early season activity. I was surprised as usually there is some activity getting reading for caretaker season.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Last Thursday, Galehead Hut was the recipient of a helicopter drop or two. Also, the Clivus toilet service man was up there getting things "ready for business".

    Tim
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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Didn't they have a program in the 'Daks at one time where they asked hikers to carry rocks uphill to exposed alpine summits and deposit them in special piles so they could later use them to clearly mark the trail and protect fragile plant life on either side? The AT up to Moosilauke strikes me as a good candidate for something like this, although I wonder about the implications of moving all those rocks from one place on the mountain to another... I'd be curious to hear your educated opinions on this; also whether trucking in piles of small rocks and leaving them at the trailheads for volunteer hikers to carry up one or two at a time might create engagement and "ownership?"
    Add life to your years!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Someone has brushed in the bypasses around the switchbacks to make it obvious that it not the trail and would make them difficult to use.
    Not too far in the past I maintained a trail for a number of years. While I didn't have an issue with switchback shortcuts (tweren't no switchbacks), I was constantly brushing in bypasses around some "rougher" sections (not rough), only to constantly find them dismantled a few months later. I'm really surprised someone kept taking the time to throw limbs away vs. the lesser time it would take to just stay on the damned trail. Likewise with a side path to a swamp, and another one to a mediocre view when a very fine view was just a bit further. Of course, I got more thorough in throwing more crap in the way (more and more obvious and deeper in), didn't matter.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    I'm really surprised someone kept taking the time to throw limbs away vs. the lesser time it would take to just stay on the damned trail.(
    Weird, no? I've been dealing with the same for years now – I wish I could understand the thinking of that type of person. Ultimately, I just brush back in the section and move on.

  11. #11
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Didn't they have a program in the 'Daks at one time where they asked hikers to carry rocks uphill to exposed alpine summits and deposit them in special piles so they could later use them to clearly mark the trail and protect fragile plant life on either side? The AT up to Moosilauke strikes me as a good candidate for something like this, although I wonder about the implications of moving all those rocks from one place on the mountain to another... I'd be curious to hear your educated opinions on this; also whether trucking in piles of small rocks and leaving them at the trailheads for volunteer hikers to carry up one or two at a time might create engagement and "ownership?"
    Small rocks don't stay put when people step on them (which they will, whenever there's mud or snow, or just because). It's one thing to carry up a handful of gravel to help fill muddy holes - that can work on very busy trails though it's not terribly efficient.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    The ADK had rocks that were brought up to a pile above tree line and either the Summit Steward or other organized volunteers built scree walls to try and keep people on the rocks or heavily visited summits. Marcy comes to mind. (Skylight is more of a superstition to fend rain away) It's been several years since I've been on Marcy, however, the ADK has kept summit stewards and rangers in the busier sections of the ADKs. The summit steward presence on the several alpine ADK summits (generally smaller than the NH summits) is more robust which has lead to their nickname.

    I've seen one Summit Stewards or Rangers on several Marcy trips, on Algonquin, at the DEC Interior Outpost at Lake Colden and around Marcy Dam back when it was still there. I've spent significant more time in the Whites and have seen a ranger or summit volunteer, not a hut croo member, twice that I recall. (on Ike once out of over a dozen trips & on the Tri's on a miserable rainy late Spring weekday while I was finishing my solo 48, maybe they were worried who the loon was parked at the lot that day)
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I'll also mention that after being fully vaccinated, I am back picking up some trail trash as I hike. I only picked up the oldest stuff in 2020 that looked like it had been there for years. (old rusty cans, sun faded wrappers, etc) In the early days of Covid, we did not know if you could catch it from touching things
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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