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Old 01-17-2014, 04:02 PM   #1
DSettahr
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Dawson Pond Herd Path

I was at Dawson Pond yesterday (small pond located about a mile down a side trail from Raquette Falls in the Western High Peaks Wilderness). I noticed a fairly obvious herd path that lead south around the west side of the pond. I followed it all the way to the south end of the pond, at which point it continued south away from the pond into the woods. The path looked pretty well worn and used.

Anyone know where this path leads to? It heads in the general direction of the Calkins Creek Lean-to on the Cold River- is it possible to access this lean-to via this herd path?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:28 PM   #2
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Old maps do show the trail you speak of. All the way to Calkins Creek L2 and then continuing parallel to the Cold river upstream.
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Old 01-18-2014, 12:13 PM   #3
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I should have thought to check the UNH historic topo maps. You are correct: http://docs.unh.edu/NY/lngk04se.jpg

It will be interesting to return at some point to see how well the old road/trail can be followed.

Interestingly enough, I notice some discrepancies in pond names when comparing maps from different eras. In the 1904 map, there is no named Dawson Pond, but there is a Brueyer Pond to the east. In the 1955 map, Brueyer Pond is named as Dawson Pond, with the pond to the north gaining the Brueyer name. In the current topo maps, the pond to the east regains the Brueyer name, with Dawson being shifted to the current location.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:51 PM   #4
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I stumbled across this thread while looking for something else- and thought I'd provide an update.

Time definitely flies. This past September (more than 5 years after I'd originally made this post), I finally made it to the Calkins Creek lean-to by canoe. After perhaps 30 minutes of searching the area, I was able to pick up the south end of the herd path. Despite being tricky to locate at first, it was pretty obvious once I'd found it- as with the northern end it clearly at one point was somewhat well maintained. However, there was also some amount of recent blowdown and fresh growth starting to take over- clearly the informal maintenance of this path hasn't been kept up in recent years.

I was able to follow the path northward along Calkins Creek without much difficulty for about 1.5 miles. It mostly stuck to the top of an esker and was pretty obvious, again despite the fresh growth and blowdown. However, it eventually turns west, leaves the esker and soon disappears into a somewhat soggy beaver meadow. I poked around the periphery of the beaver meadow hoping to pick it up again, without any success. The meadow was somewhat long and linear, however, and I suspected that the path likely continued up through the meadow for some distance. As the daylight hours were waning, and I had no desire to hike through a boggy wet meadow, I returned to the lean-to for the night.

Later on in the trip, I was able to speak with the caretaker at the DEC's Raquette Falls outpost. He confirmed that the herd path does indeed continue through the meadow for a good ways, eventually popping out at the far end and continuing towards Dawson Pond and eventually Raquette Falls. He also indicated that it gets far less use than it used to.

So it is possible to get from Raquette Falls to the Calkins Creek Lean-to via said herd path- but it demands a willingness to either get your feet wet, or deviate around the lengthy beaver meadow via a proper bushwhack (though moderately thick woods that I observed around the edge of the meadow). In any case, without any upkeep in informal maintenance, I suspect that this herd path will likely quickly become reclaimed by the woods.

I also found the Calkins Creek Lean-to to currently be in pretty rough shape... before long, you'll be able to stargaze through the roof. I wouldn't want to stay there on any night that had a decent chance of rain. Both Lost Channel and Deep Hole appeared to have relatively new roofs and were in much better shape in comparison.

I did also re-hike the Point Point Trail along the Cold River to Shattuck Clearing during this same trip. I was lucky in that the Cold River was running moderately high for late Summer so I was able to paddle most of the way to Pine Point- but I still had to get out and walk the canoe up the river for the last tenth of a mile or so.

I first hiked the Point Point Trail in 2017. The trail was pretty brushy and obviously not well maintained then- but still passable for the most part (even if barely so). Well, the past 2 years have not been kind to this trail. It's now pretty much completely grown in, and hiking it is an exercise in patience of the highest order. Without any meaningful maintenance in the near future, this trail will very likely be completely lost to the wilderness within the next year or two.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:38 PM   #5
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I really enjoyed the Pine Point trip photos...shows you that you don't have to climb the peaks to really enjoy the woods. What a beautiful place. Now on my list...
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:04 PM   #6
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I really enjoyed the Pine Point trip photos...shows you that you don't have to climb the peaks to really enjoy the woods. What a beautiful place. Now on my list...
Most of that album isn't the Pine Point trail, but rather the broader Cold River Loop accessed from Coreys. It's definitely a trip worth doing if you ever get the chance- about a 30 mile itinerary made by combining the Ward Brook Truck Trail, the Northville-Placid Trail between Duck Hole and Shattuck Clearing, and the Calkins Creek Truck Trail. It can be done over a 3 day weekend without too much difficulty for anyone with moderate levels of backpacking experience. I've done variations on it now more times than I can count off hand. Definitely make sure you take the side trail out to Duck Hole too if you do it.

Use of the Cold River area has increased moderately over the past few years (there's definitely been increased interest in thru-hiking the NPT) but the area generally has avoided the worst of the overcrowding conditions that have plagued much of the rest of the High Peaks. You'll see a lot of people for sure at accessing the Seward Range but once you get behind the junctions for the herd paths to these peaks you'll see relatively few people.

The photos of the Pine Point trail are about 3/4ths of the way through the album- showing the trail as it appeared then. It's gotten substantially more overgrown since.

Honestly, even the NPT and the two truck trails (Ward Brook and Calkins Creek) themselves are starting to suffer noticeably from lack of maintenance. All are starting to get pretty brushy in spots.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:42 PM   #7
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Thanks. I particularly like the large selection of leantos and what seems like really cool stream views throughout
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:40 PM   #8
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I have wanted to visit Rondeau's clearing for a while, but these pix of Cold River and the other streams(?) make me really want to get back there and spend some time fishing. Great photography, thank you very much!
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:14 PM   #9
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DSettahr - For many years I led canoe trips for SUNY Cortland's program out of Raquette Lake and Raquette Falls became a favorite location. Over that time I became friends with Mike Frenette who was the ranger in residence back then. I remember Mike telling me that he accessed the Calkins lean-to by walking the path you mention in your original post. He told me how to find it from the lean-to, which I did, but I never had the time to hike over to Dawson Pond using that path. Sounds like it would be difficult to do now but still might be interesting to try. If you're ever up to having company along, let me know. Now that I'm retired, I have lots of time and few obligations.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

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Old 01-20-2020, 11:06 AM   #10
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Thanks. I don't know how super likely it is that I'll be back there again any time soon (given that it took 5+ years after my first visit to return to attempt to follow the herd path again). I might take a stroll in to Raquette Falls sometime next summer if I have time and attempt to follow the herd path from the Dawson Pond side at least as far as where I'd turned back coming from the Calkins Creek side. But there's also tons of other similar "where does this path go" spots in the Adirondacks on my to do list yet...
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:08 PM   #11
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Snapper, DeSattahr, I'd be up for that too.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:07 PM   #12
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Russ - Good to know! Thanks for letting me know. I'll keep that in mind as my wife isn't all that hyped up when I head out alone these days. Something about my getting older. What? Did she think I'd be getting younger (LOL)?

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

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Old 01-21-2020, 05:52 PM   #13
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Russ - Good to know! Thanks for letting me know. I'll keep that in mind as my wife isn't all that hyped up when I head out alone these days. Something about my getting older. What? Did she think I'd be getting younger (LOL)?

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
Getting older is not the greatest, but it sure beats the alternative.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:44 PM   #14
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Russ - Been away for a bit so I apologize for the lateness of this reply. That being said...yea, I'm OK with staying away from the alternative for as long as I'm physically able; and mentally sound too (although some people have questioned that already).

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

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