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Old 08-30-2011, 05:43 AM   #1
sky
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Unhappy NPT and Irene

This was an email from Tom Wemmet (webmaster and NPT cheerleader of nptrail.org) to the trail stewards of the NPT (sorry Tom, hope I'm not stepping on toes):
He (Kris Alberga, District Forester for Region 5) flew over the NPTrail today and observed that Duck Hole Dam breached and Duck Hole Pond dewatered. The fate of the rest of the trail and in particular the lean-tos along the Cold River isn't known at this time. It is very possible that the breach in the Dam took out all the lean-tos along the Cold River which would include Ouluska Pass, Seward, and Cold River #3 and #4 as well as some on the other side of the River which aren't on the NPTrail. The DEC is announcing tomorrow (8/30) apparently that all trails in the eastern High Peaks will be closed.

Please be aware of possibly impassibility of parts of the trail (a good handful of slides in the peaks apparently have washouts). If you know of anyone who has been out in the region, please check in and make sure they've made it out safely.

This is a huge blow in the region. I'm going to try and finagle my schedule and hike into Silver and see how bad the southern most portion is.

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Last edited by sky; 08-30-2011 at 05:50 AM.. Reason: can't spell
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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Cold River was my favorite section of the NPT. I can jusr imagine what Millers Falls was like after the dam was breached. I suppose that view will be changed forever now as well. At least there are plenty of tent sites there. I don't know much about hydrology (nothing actually) but can I assume that the flow of water through Cold River will be the same, even though the dam is gone?
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:23 PM   #3
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I also thought the Cold River region was my favorite along the NPT.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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Benson to Rock Lake is fine ... a few blowdowns along the way ... I trimmed a few of them back so it's passable around them & will finish during my October trail sweep. There are two "widow makers" about 3.3+/- miles in, one you can easily walk around, the other you have to go under. It looks relatively safe but again, I'll see what can be done in October (maybe it can be pulled off & over to one side with a rope). There are two large old tree trunks across the trail at 4.4 miles but you can climb over them w/o too much trouble. Trail is wet, and you can see that much of it was a raging stream on Sunday. Water crossings were okay, rock hopping with hiking poles made all of them relatively easy.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:05 PM   #5
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Gauge at PierceField shows the 1ft+ water rise between 9:30 and 11:15AM today which must be the charge of water coming from the dam up in Duck Hole.

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydro...,1,1,1,1,1,1,1
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:23 AM   #6
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On scene reporting

I dropped off a couple of friends at Upper Benson last Friday. They are scheduled to be out around September 9 and will probably stop by my place. I'm sure they will have some stories to tell.

Btw, they are experienced backcountry travelers and I have no worries about their safety.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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Anyone hear from Ward or Slammy...... Both were supposedly out on the trail last week (through Irene). Have not heard if they made it back to Speculator?

Ward? Slammy? You guys okay?
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:01 PM   #8
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Some feedback from the trail

I just returned from an evac of my friends.

They were at Hamilton Lake Stream shelter overnight Saturday when the storm started.

They decided to make a dash for the Irondequoit Inn on Sunday and arrived there safe, sound, and very wet.

On Monday the "fun" began. Blowdown which they described as effectively continuous - get through one and there's another one within sight. I don't have details of where they camped each night, other than that they really did have a great time when they weren't fighting the blowdown.

But it was exhausting, and when they reached Lake Durant today (Thursday, their 7th day) they were informed that other hikers had reported more of the same further north. It was here that they decided to bail.

I provide this information with the understanding that each hiker's perception of trail conditions is his/hers alone. The information is not mine, just passed along by me, so I will be unable to answer any inquiries asking for clarification.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavs00 View Post
Anyone hear from Ward or Slammy...... Both were supposedly out on the trail last week (through Irene). Have not heard if they made it back to Speculator?

Ward? Slammy? You guys okay?

They got back yesterday late. Tough go with all the blowdown. I'm sure they'll post after they rest up...
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:57 AM   #10
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Just getting around to catching up on messages, Emails etc.
Thru hiked the NPT with Slammy 8/27 to 9/3 Piseco to Lake Placid.
After hiking the Benson to Piseco section the previous weekend we , ( Slammy and I ) Departed Piseco under beautiful skies. Made it to Spruce mid afternoon and dropped packs at Leanto 3. Spent the rest of the afternoon fishing and talking about our plans. Some time around 2am we noticed the rain. By morning we decided to hold off a bit and see if it would let up before moving on. Welllll it didnt. and the wind blew. Spent the entire day hunkered down listening to trees fall. Unsure of what lay ahead we ventured out monday to gorgeous skies. And then the blow down statred. WOW just massive trees with root balls 12 to 15 ft tall. The trip to and thru the west canadas was the worst we encountered. Just one right after another. Mud holes, water crossings, and blow down. The new bridge at sampson bog is fine however south lake boardwalk was floating. ( read very wet) Then there was the west canada creek. which we new was out but were told we could rock hop. Not so. After choosing a "suitable" place to wade i went first. Half waythru the chest deep water and current were too much and it swept me off my feet. I struggled briefly and regained my footing , but was now thouroghly soaked. Slammy being taller and heavier made it thru ok.
The blowdown thru this section can not be overstated . Brutal.
In a nut shell the blowdown around the west canadas was the worst all the way to cedar river flow. form there to stephens pond not too bad. around stephens pond and Lake durant area significant . From tirell pond up over the 3000 ft ridge not bad. Some miserable beaver activity between long lake and shattuck clearing. Then there is the damage from the dam burst at duck hole.
All the cold river leantos ARE in tact. the water washed the front of 4 and came within about 5 feet of #3. it is hard to imagine the wall of water that had to come down the river. T the narrows by Big Eddy you can see evidence of the water being at least 15 ft high and washing a good 100 ft of trail and beyond. the oluska bridge is intact but now on its side and impasable.Seward leanto and Oluska leantos are fine, however Oluska is leaning a little. Just past leantos 1 and 2 on the ward brook truck trail there is some bad blowdown and flood damage. then there is Duck hole which by now everyone knows about. Big boo!As we departed on our last leg more than one trail crew was already hard at work. thanks guys and gals.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:17 AM   #11
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Great report Ward. I'm glad you guys are okay....... One question though? Slammy is a little taller and heavier then you? Hmmmmph, I never noticed
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:03 PM   #12
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Ya know....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavs00 View Post
Great report Ward. I'm glad you guys are okay....... One question though? Slammy is a little taller and heavier then you? Hmmmmph, I never noticed
Everyone picks on the fat guy. Hey, I'm an easy target. As a matter of fact, I started the hike out with over 100 "extra" pounds on my pack. Between blood loss, the self amputation of 4 toes, and being sick from day 3, I managed to lose a couple of pounds. I still got the old guy by almost 100 lbs. I'll add to the trip report later, but despite the trail conditions, it was a remarkable 11 days, covering from Piseco to Averyville Rd. in 8 days, only 7 of which were hiking due to being stuck in the lean to Sunday. The most sobering part of the trip was reading a Lean to Journal entry at Duck Hole. The hiker, finishing their 3rd NPT trip came from Cold River (3 or 4) DURING the rains on Sunday 8/28 and his entry stated how he watched huge trees go floating by....went to sleep and woke to an emptied Duck Hole. For me, it was to be my first visit to the area. Without a doubt, I won't forget a bit of it. More to follow (especially if someone can tell Wardy how to load the photos to the site). The other notable part of the trip was that everyone we met (very few until out last day to Averyville) were fantastic people. I'll add more later. L
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