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Old 10-15-2016, 10:47 PM   #1
cpoit
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Dix Mountain Range

Some friends and I are hiking the range in November. We are planning on hiking from 73 and sleeping at the Boquet River lean to on Friday and tackling the 5 peaks Dix,South, east, Macomb, Hough. I keep reading that the trails are not marked and the herd paths can be difficult to follow. Does anyone have any experience hiking this trail and any suggestions for the trails to follow? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:16 AM   #2
Trail Boss
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The majority of the trails in the Dix Range are unmarked.

The only part of your route that is marked is from the Round Pond trailhead to the southern end of Dix's summit (the Beckhorn). The balance of the route (Beckhorn to Macomb, South Dix, Grace, Boquet river valley out to route 73) is unmarked.
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.06...7171&z=15&b=oo

The trails above an elevation of 3500 feet are well-defined because they run through conifer forests. Following the trail through the Boquet river valley, in November, may prove to be challenging because it will be covered with fresh leaf-litter (and/or snow). In this area (in November) you need to be comfortable navigating with a map and compass (or GPS).

Be prepared for cold conditions. It may become wintry by the end of November.

Neil and I day-hiked the Dix Range, from 73 to 73, at the end of November in 2013. It was a cold (14 F) and snowy day. It wasn't our first time, so we were familiar with the route.
http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/f...range-73-to-73

Photo Album.


Neil helping another group orient themselves in the Boquet river valley.



We had some sunshine in the morning but it didn't last. Temperature dropped to 5 F by the time we reached Dix (visible in the background).


Neil below the Beckhorn.

Last edited by Trail Boss; 10-16-2016 at 02:55 PM..
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:41 AM   #3
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Are you planning to leave your overnight gear at the lean-to and hike back to it on Saturday? If so, you have more than 2000 ft ascent on the return trip to the lean-to.

If you are thinking about descending by the South Fork/North Fork herdpath, I agree with Trail Boss. It will be difficult to follow if you haven't been there before.

Because the trails on Elk Lake property are closed in November, you cannot descend and exit that way.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:08 PM   #4
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In my humble opinion, the herd path down from Grace is easier to follow than up, because you're always in the right drainage (except for when you cross over from the S fork to the N fork). But, as Joe Cedar said, going back to the Boquet leanto is extra work.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:50 PM   #5
cpoit
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Thanks for the advice. My main concern is not getting lost once on top of Dix. Yes we will be leaving our gear at the Boquet lean to and hiking back. I'm not too concerned about the amount of mileage since we did the Saranac 6er challenge recently (completely insane by the way). But if your telling me the only way to find the herd path is when there is no snow or no debris on the ground, that troubles me a bit. Thanks again.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:43 PM   #6
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I did the SL6er Winter Ultra and I can assure you its navigational requirements are zero compared to a Dix Range Traverse in similarly snowy conditions. You probably have the fitness level required but you also need the confidence to navigate in the absence of trail-markers and an obvious trail-bed.

The portion you plan to cover (everything but the Boquet river valley) is quite popular. You may get lucky and find other hikers' tracks. However, following tracks, in lieu of knowing how to navigate without them, sounds like a recipe for a very "interesting" day.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck!


FWIW, hiking once over all the peaks in a day is more than enough challenge for the average hiker (me). Backtracking from Grace, over South Dix, Hough, and Dix is a tall order!
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpoit View Post
Thanks for the advice. My main concern is not getting lost once on top of Dix. Yes we will be leaving our gear at the Boquet lean to and hiking back. I'm not too concerned about the amount of mileage since we did the Saranac 6er challenge recently (completely insane by the way). But if your telling me the only way to find the herd path is when there is no snow or no debris on the ground, that troubles me a bit. Thanks again.
We saw a group or two doing just this hike over the weekend. We didn't envy them. The hike from the Boquet lean-to up to Dix is the "steepest trailed ascent" in the Adirondacks, and after doing that you'll be climbing Hough, South Dix, Macomb, South Dix again, Grace, South Dix again, Hough again, and Dix again before descending the "steepest trailed descent" in the Adirondacks. It's one heck of a day!
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:27 PM   #8
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I can't imagine doing the hike you have planned. From Hough to Dix alone is a good 90 minutes of hard hiking. I would seriously consider doing it in some other way.

The main thing would be to keep close tabs on both the time and the energy level of every group member and be ready to truncate the plan if need be.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:31 PM   #9
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Thanks again to everyone. We are doing this hike in 3 weeks so I'll post how we made out.
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