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Old 12-03-2004, 10:04 AM   #1
StonerLakeLover
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T-Lake Falls (Piseco, Southern Dacks)

"T-Lake Falls is the highest waterfall in the Adirondacks and one of the highest in all of New York State (Adirondack Waterfall Guide, Russell Dunn)".
Why is this trail closed to the public? Is it going to be re-opened anytime in the future? I'm assuming it is considered unsafe but couldn't the trail be re-routed to admire the tallest waterfall in the Dacks? I really, really want to hike this one. If you bushwacked to it would you get in trouble b/c you're going to an area that the DEC closed?
Also, Does anyone know the history of this falls (where did it get its name and you found it first). I've searched but I"m having a hard time finding this information
Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:11 AM   #2
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i believe the falls is named because it's the outlet of T lake. T lake's name seems pretty obvious if you look at it on a map

i've hiked to the falls a few times, but not in a few years so my info may be dated.

the trail is/was open up to the lean-to on T lake. after that it is a mostly flat, moderately difficult bushwack/ herdpath to the falls. there is a campsite on top of the falls. you can work your way down to the bottom of the falls along the east side of the falls. there were ropes to help you also.

i don't think the state has any plans to reopen the trail, since it was shut down to avoid the deaths that would occur once in a while when people slipped off the edge and fell.

it's a nice hike, as long as you use a bit of common sense near the top of the falls.

3 ways to do it

1] it's a pretty long dayhike
2] or an overnighter. stay at the lean-to on T lake, and dayhike to the falls.(T lake is a very shallow and weed filled. not the prettiest lake in the adks)
3] bring your packs all the way and stay at the campsite on top of the falls.

personally, i prefer option 3, but it depends on what kind of shape your in.

the hike is listed in barbara mc martins 50 hikes in the adks.
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Old 12-04-2004, 10:43 PM   #3
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t lake falls

I've asked this same question to a few guides around the southern adk. All of them said that because the trail is closed does not mean that it illegal to walk to the falls. The trail that they closed is on state land and anywhere that is state land in the adirondacks is open to the public. The DEC office could tell you that it isnt safe, and that they dont recommend that you go there, but is is by no means against the law. I've really looked at what the tallest waterfalls are in the adirondacks either t lake falls, ok slip falls, or roaring brook falls. I know that either one of those 3 are the tallest but i am not sure.
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Old 12-04-2004, 11:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernadkhiker
I've asked this same question to a few guides around the southern adk. All of them said that because the trail is closed does not mean that it illegal to walk to the falls. The trail that they closed is on state land and anywhere that is state land in the adirondacks is open to the public. The DEC office could tell you that it isnt safe, and that they dont recommend that you go there, but is is by no means against the law. I've really looked at what the tallest waterfalls are in the adirondacks either t lake falls, ok slip falls, or roaring brook falls. I know that either one of those 3 are the tallest but i am not sure.
My understanding is that people have been ticketed for using the closed trail. I have heard this from several people, usually reliable, two of whom are guides, One from Indian lake, the other from Piseco.

I also seek advice on matter like that from Law Enforcement Officials or lawyers, not guides. I don't ask lawyers advice about backpavking and I don't ask guides about the legal aspects of it.

I do not know anyone who has gotten a ticket personally. However If the trail is posted or closed, then I would assume that anyone violating the order and using the trail could be ticketed and that it would stick.

I am led to understand that there are ways to get into T-Lake falls without using the trail that is closed. I am also told that it is not illegal in that case, but again, that advice is not from a member of the legal community, so tke it with a grain of salt.

I will see if I can get hold of the Fish and Game Warden (DEC Policeman) who lives here in Wells and see what he can tell me. However since I had to straighten him out on what was and wasn't legal when it came to emergency resue of wildlife, i would take what I hear from him with a grain of salt.

Sacco might be able to chime in here and i would put more stiock in what he says then anywhere else.
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Old 12-05-2004, 08:06 AM   #5
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East Trek to T Lake Falls

The best way into T Lake Falls is to go in from the Mountain Home Road Trailhead off of Route 8. This use to be a ~5 mile hike (one way), with the last 3 miles being a bit of a bushwack on a very old trail. However, since 2001 someone has cut a trail all the way to the falls after you cross the South Branch of the West Canada....in other words the last 3 miles are no longer a bushwack! This can be easily done as a day hike or an overnight(s) with some explorations.

I should also mention a side trail that cuts to the north (way before you cross the South Branch) that leads to the Metcalf Range. This use to be a bushwack too, but again someone has cut the trail.....its no longer a bushwack. Who knows who cut the trails.....when DEC held their meetings about the the West Canada Lake Wilderness Unit Management Plan they heard loud and clear that people do not want new trails in the area. The fact is new trails have already been cut....not by DEC but by others. Not many people know about them.

If you go to this area be aware that 2 Guides have taken up using this area....somewhat exclusively. In fact, the last I heard one of them was intimidating people from using the trails (so much for the Adirondack Guide "Ethic").....I have never ran into this individual, but people should know they have every right to be on State Land....that includes going to T Lake Falls. The DEC Ranger that has jurisdiction in this area is very nice.....I can not imagine him giving anyone a hard time! The Guides, however see the public as horning in on "their" territory. It really is an awesome area, with lots to explore....especially the Metcalf Chain of Lakes....where reportedly there is an awesome campsite by the lake. DEC stocks this lake by air every year.....the fishing has to be exceptional.
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Old 12-05-2004, 01:02 PM   #6
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metcalf lakes

yea i've heard that the metcalf lakes are the best place to fish anywhere in the dacks for monster brookies. That lake is coveted by guides in the area for its beauty and fishing potential but most of all, its remoteness. I've always wanted to get to that lake. If anybody is interested in some serious brookies in the spring for a good hike into it, I'm all game.
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Old 12-05-2004, 03:01 PM   #7
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Metcalfs and T Lake Falls

I have been 3 miles into Beaudry Brook on the main trail.....lots of moose sign in the vly area! You can see the Metcalf range in the distance from the vly. The trail continued on from there....it looked very well maintained but I was only on a day hike so I turned back. There were a few areas from the main trail to the Beaudry that were a little confusing, but for the most part it has been cut in and used quite often. I have a friend that use to trap the Metcalf chain years ago...he says its gorgeous back there! Last I looked at the register (this past summer) I saw "fish camp on Metcalf Lake" as a destination. I think that about sums it up!

As far as T Lake Falls is concerned, this is by far the easiest way into the falls by way of the Mountain Home Road Trail Head. Just stay on the main trail, and pick up the "new" blazed trail on the other side of the South Branch. The trail stays fairly close to the creek until it reaches a big flow area (again, good fishing!), then turns towards the east and before no time you are at the falls. The first time I was there it was kind of eerie (shortly after they closed the upper trail) there was a hand written sign on a tree at the bottom.....it said "please be carefull, people have died here". I know most, if not all of those people came in from the top, and since the top is a big curved rock people just kept on walking towards the brink to see the bottom of the falls...a very dangerous thing to do! An approach from the bottom is well advised....but you still have to be carefull, especially if you do this hike in the spring.....I big snag coming over the falls can be just as deadly.

Like I said eariler, this area has so much to offer...big waterfalls, big trout, and maybe a glimpse of a moose! Can't ask for much more than that!!
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Old 12-06-2004, 07:54 AM   #8
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My buddy bird was there last year. He claims the base of the falls was the 'Most Peaceful ' place in the ADK's. (Pretty big claim but he usually makes decent calls). Heres a few pics if you're interested. T Lake Falls Pics
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Old 12-06-2004, 12:59 PM   #9
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We were just there two weeks ago....

The trail is "closed", in other words it will not be maintained in the future. In speaking with the law enforcement, foresters, and the rangers as well, I'm told that there is no way one could be ticketed for using the "remains" of the trail. (There was a thread a while back on this issue as well.) I can't see how someone was ticketed, (just a ticket and no fine, maybe?)...Imagine closing a trail like the Gothics spur trail because one could "fall off the mountain".......

T-Lake Falls is quite a place, as is the surrounds. It can be accessed through the routes described in this thread, but it's BIG country. A few years back, I was there one week before the last unlucky hiker "took the ride"....he didn't make it out. Very sombering.

Ther'e a zillion "trails" throughout the area, one needs to be confident in their skills or you could wind up where you don't wannabe...

On another note, I've been hunting the area for over 15 years, and we know just about everybody in the area, and then some, but never have we had any problem with "guides" trying to harass us. This I'd like to see....

Now we just gotta put a fence up around the Metcalf Range....
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Old 12-06-2004, 05:51 PM   #10
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I successfully got to the bottom with the following method last may. I followed the normal trail to T lake and then followed the unmaintained trail to the top of the falls. Although it is unmaintained, there is enough of it left that you can follow it enough. When you arrive at the end of the last vly where the run begins cascading in the woods down to the falls, make sure you are on the southwest side of the run (the left side as you travel down stream). This is the side that the trail is on. When you arrive at the top of the falls, you will know it by the window looking out into the northwest.

Here is a simple rule to stay out of trouble: STAY OFF THE GRANITE SLAB. The top of the fall runs over a relatively flat granite slab with a very shallow slope downward. Here, the water is only an inch or two deep but this slab is covered with slippery moss everywhere the water flows. What you can't see is that the slope of this slab steadily increases until it becomes so great that it is cliff like. So, once you get on this slippery surface, although it looks moderately safe, once you begin sliding, you will ever slowly, and increasingly accelerate to your death. On the other side of the run, at the top, you will see a nice flat area that would make a nice camp site. Don't be tempted to tiptoe across the water to get there unless you go back upstream to find a safe place to cross. Don't cross at the immediate top of the falls.

Consequently: STAY OFF THE GRANITE SLAB.

To get to the bottom: Someone has attached survey tape (red) to tree branches in the woods on the left side of the falls that travels down the rather steep hill side that gets you to the bottom. The markers begin near the window at the top of the falls and maintain an ever-increasing berth to the left of the steep granite slab/slide going down. It gets as much as 100-200 feet to the left of the granite on its way down. If you follow these markers, although it is very steep, you will get to the bottom. Here you find a large, deep pool, surrounded with large boulders and rocks.

Last edited by starbaby; 12-06-2004 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:49 PM   #11
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I went there 6/12/06; it was not difficult to follow the "closed trail" from the lean-to at T-lake. There is only relatively minor blow down on the old trail, and someone has flagged the trail, mostly with orange ribbon. There is no chance of getting lost, because of the stream and beaver flow (always to your right) all the way there. The Falls itself was a slight let-down, only because it's more of a flume than a vertical drop. The plastic-coated obituary to the 18 year old who died there is nailed to a tree at the top, along with a hand-made sign memorializing another victim. Somewhat sobering, but it didn't stop me from descending with an open beer in my hand (for the first 100 feet or so); Yes, stay way to the left of the falls when climbing down. Beautiful pool at the bottom. Caught no trout whatsoever in any stream/beaver flow thruout the entire trip. Overall, a nice, but somewhat strenuous, day hike.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Frostbite Ale Man
I went there 6/12/06; it was not difficult to follow the "closed trail" from the lean-to at T-lake.
I was there on 5/05/06, via the Mountain Home trailhead route. See post here.

"Closed" trails are those no longer maintained by the DEC. The warning signs are put there so unsuspecting/unprepared hikers don't expect to have a nice trail to follow without suddenly finding themselves on no trail at all, even though it is still shown on the map. DEC rangers will highly discourage travel on such routes for that reason to anyone they suspect of inadequate experience, almost to the point of implying it may be illegal. They also have a list of destinations deemed "unsafe" by the department and will not discuss how to get to them. If you are able to find such a place on your own then it's perfectly okay. It's a liability thing. On the other hand, with very few exceptions, bushwhacking in the backcountry to anywhere on public property by competent hikers is not against any policy or regulation.

If you are a reasonably experienced hiker, then there is no excuse for not personally knowing several rangers on a friendly basis. I don't see how you can not know them personally and frequently discuss backcountry issues with them. There really is no better source for answers to these types of questions than the ranger whose district you are hiking in.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:54 PM   #13
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I personally spoke with the Lt. of the NYS Forest Rangers...and a gaggle of ECO's....I work with them ...there is NO law preventing anyone from hiking to the falls...although stupidity could result in a posthumous "ticket"....
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:49 AM   #14
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Metcalf to T-Lake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
The best way into T Lake Falls is to go in from the Mountain Home Road Trailhead off of Route 8. This use to be a ~5 mile hike (one way), with the last 3 miles being a bit of a bushwack on a very old trail. However, since 2001 someone has cut a trail all the way to the falls after you cross the South Branch of the West Canada....in other words the last 3 miles are no longer a bushwack! This can be easily done as a day hike or an overnight(s) with some explorations.

I should also mention a side trail that cuts to the north (way before you cross the South Branch) that leads to the Metcalf Range. This use to be a bushwack too, but again someone has cut the trail.....its no longer a bushwack. Who knows who cut the trails.....when DEC held their meetings about the the West Canada Lake Wilderness Unit Management Plan they heard loud and clear that people do not want new trails in the area. The fact is new trails have already been cut....not by DEC but by others. Not many people know about them.

If you go to this area be aware that 2 Guides have taken up using this area....somewhat exclusively. In fact, the last I heard one of them was intimidating people from using the trails (so much for the Adirondack Guide "Ethic").....I have never ran into this individual, but people should know they have every right to be on State Land....that includes going to T Lake Falls. The DEC Ranger that has jurisdiction in this area is very nice.....I can not imagine him giving anyone a hard time! The Guides, however see the public as horning in on "their" territory. It really is an awesome area, with lots to explore....especially the Metcalf Chain of Lakes....where reportedly there is an awesome campsite by the lake. DEC stocks this lake by air every year.....the fishing has to be exceptional.

the North Trial to Metcalf... do you know where it hits the Lakes? My group plans to set base camp on Big Metcalf and day hike to T-Lakes falls.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:25 AM   #15
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I'd seriously like to run into these two "Guides"......
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:57 AM   #16
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I'd seriously like to run into these two "Guides"......
I've heard that there are guides who are based in this area, and indeed at the West Canada Lake UMP meeting in Piseco in 2004(?) there was no shortage of guides there speaking out against new state trails in this area... ironic, considering that this is far from a "trailless" area, and my suspicion is that it was the guides who cut the trails and made some of the campsites.

I've never encountered any of them there in person, but there was once a message printed in the register to the effect of:

Quote:
ADK STAY HOME. YOU DESTROYED THE HIGH PEAKS SO STAY AWAY FROM HERE
...or something to that effect. All I remember is that it was directed specifically at ADK with the reference to the High Peaks.

Interestingly, one guide from this general neck of the woods was formerly a very active member of the ADK Iroquois Chapter, based in Utica. I hiked with him twice, including a trip to the High Peaks. It was about this time he dropped out of the club and more or less severed all ties with the people he associated with there. He was at the meeting in Piseco...

I saw him at a sportsmen's show in February, but he pretended not to see me.
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #17
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Interesting....We hunt the "other" side of the creek ,and know just about everyone in the area, at least our "Denmama" knows....we've been there over 25 years.

I'll inquire, and prolly met them or crossed paths in the Bearpath at one time....

We'll find out!
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:03 PM   #18
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the North Trial to Metcalf... do you know where it hits the Lakes? My group plans to set base camp on Big Metcalf and day hike to T-Lakes falls.
I sent a PM to Nessmuk awhile back about that same post, but I don't believe I ever got a response. I did delete a bunch of Private Messages to make some breathing room without filing some away first, so maybe I did but I can't remember.

I've also been very interested in the area, and spent some time exploring the area from Mountain Home Road. (you may have seen some of my post in your searches)

I've been on some of the old paths, which were in very rough shape, and I've looked for some of the supposedly new paths to Metcalf and T Lake Falls, but never found them on three different occasions.
I did find out enough to know which ways I don't think are worth the time, and which ways might be a little quicker to certain way points. And I also found out enough that making it to T Lake Falls from Metcalf would be a very long and difficult challenge for a day hike.

I'm seriously hoping to make it into Metcalf next weekend, but I'm not sure if my hiking buddies are taking me seriously. We'll see what happens.

If I can't get a seat on that plain, or get Leaddog or Wildriver to come with me either, I'll probably do this one solo.
Or like I said before, It'll have to wait 'till September or next year.

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Old 04-25-2008, 06:56 PM   #19
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Justin,I've been to Metcalf a couple of times as a teenager backpacking with my dad and uncle.The easist way I know to get there from the s.branch trailhead is to go up the S.branch trail about .6 miles.There is a small trail on the left that we called the Fisher Camp trail.It can be hard to follow at times and leads about 1.5 miles to a cabin.Quite a ways out there for a cabin but it was still there about 2 years ago.The trail is hard to follow at times and the start of it can be hard to find.From the cabin there used to be a trail that went to Big Rock lake and joined with a trail to Farmers vly and Metcalf.That trail meets Metcalf about 1/3 up the main lake from the east end.From there we spent the next day exploring Buck ponds.I agree that the hike from Metcalf to T-lake falls would be a long hike so if you hit a 3 day weekend I would check out Buck ponds or Little rock lake.You can find all these bodies of water named on the Piseco U.S.G.S.quad.Wish I could head up that way and go with ya,I really want to get back there.My family has hunted and hiked that side of the creek for over 70 years and it's still my favorite area in the dacks.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:26 PM   #20
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Interesting!
I've been up Roaring Brook looking for possible routes to take towards the eastern end of Big Rock Lake, but was unsuccessful in finding any signs of any easier routes into the Metcalfs. I've also considered via Wagoner Brook, but have not yet explored that area. I have been on the old path that leads towards Beaudry Brook Clearing and onto Jones Brook, which is shortly after crossing Wagoner, but that old path is very hard to follow with a LOT of Blowdown & overgrowth, and I found myself off of that path many times, and finally losing it all together. I've heard of many hunting camps within the area, so the cabin you describe does not surprise me. If the area has changed so much in the past 3-4 years, I can only imagine how much different it is since you went as a teenager with your dad.
Thanks so much for your input!

If anyone else is looking for, or wants to share more information, I would encourage doing it via PM. This area is not an easy area to get into, and although it's certainly not the most visited area in the Adirondacks, there are many people out there who have been there, and there are those that are very curious about it, like me, and judging from the concerns about marked trails in the area, I think it's best to not publicly post the easiest ways to enjoy these remote locations. Thanks again.

Last edited by Justin; 04-25-2008 at 08:25 PM.. Reason: correction
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