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Old 08-07-2015, 10:47 AM   #1
colinzeye
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Great Range Trip

My soon to be wife and I will be doing a Great Range Traverse as a part of our honeymoon travels. I have poured over the beta and am comfortable with every aspect of our hike except one important factor; water. I plan on limiting our water during the hike into Haystack via JBL so we don't burn ourselves out and the filling up on the stream up to Haystack. However I have recently heard conflicting stories that the water source is tainted; people have been using a downed tree near the stream as a toilet site. I am curious if this true so I can plan accordingly? Are there any other water sources near Haystack as we will be heading North over the Range from there.
Any other suggestions are helpful as well....we are planning on a long day hike or a possible 2-3 day trek with our hammocks
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:50 PM   #2
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Firstly, congratulations to you and your fiancée! :tup:

The term "Great Range Traverse" (GRT) is a term often used to describe a continuous and unbroken journey from the RoosterComb trail-head to Marcy. It ascends the summits of:
  1. RoosterComb
  2. Hedgehog
  3. Lower WolfJaw
  4. Upper Wolfjaw
  5. Armstrong
  6. Gothics
  7. Saddleback
  8. Basin
  9. Haystack
  10. Marcy
Some folks dislike the approach from RoosterComb, or dismiss them as not being four-thousand-footers, and choose to go directly to Lower Wolfjaw from the Garden trail-head.

Although it may be possible to find trickles of water here and there during wet weather, by late summer there are only a few reliable sources of water at elevation. If you start from RoosterComb, there is usually water to be found at Deer Brook. The next source is well into the hike at Haystack Brook in the Basin-Little Haystack col (next to the designated camp-site called Sno-bird).

You can also find water if you descend the Orebed Brook trail (Saddleback-Gothics col) but you may have to lose a bit of elevation to find it.

There is water at the junction of the Range trail and Shorey Shortcut but I found it to be rather "tannic" and there's more to be found a short distance away near Sno-bird.

I recommend you filter all water sourced from the trailed High Peaks. It's a busy place and "waste disposal habits" are often very poor. I currently use a Sawyer Squeeze filter but have also used a Steripen with success (except when the batteries died).

Primitive camping is not permitted above 3500 feet except at a designated camp-site; there's only one on the Great Range and that's Sno-bird. This constraint makes backpacking the Great Range a tricky prospect because you have only one place to camp unless you don't mind descending below 3500 feet every evening.

Hauling overnight gear up and over the peaks and then descending to the valley to sleep, and then repeat the exercise the following day, seems a bit inefficient to me but to each his own. You should be aware that you may have to descend well below 3500 feet because the terrain is steep and not well-suited for tents.

Instead of a traverse, most people station themselves near Johns Brook Lodge and day-hike the summits of the Great Range. It is easy to split the Great Range into two or more day-hikes. For example, hike the Lower Great Range the first day (ascend Gothics via Orebed Brook trail, continue to Lower Wolfjaw, descend via Wolfjaw trail) and the Upper Great Range the second day (ascend Marcy via Phelps trail, continue to Saddleback and descend via Orebed Brook trail). You can split the peaks up into several more day-hikes if you wish.

It is possible to day-hike the GRT but you should be physically prepared to handle 24 miles and about 10,000 feet of ascent. The Fastest Known Time for completing the GRT (RoosterComb to Marcy and then to the Garden) is currently held by Eric batty and Ryan Atkins at just under 6 hours! Most people take twice that time and then some.

I documented my GRT hike here. It contains photos and other information you may find useful for your trip.
http://lookingforviews.blogspot.ca/2...013-08-05.html

If you're not interested in my blog's blah-blah, you can just head directly to the photo album. I must warn you that I took a selfie on each peak so there are quite a few grinning mug shots. I had a really good day on the Great Range and recommend it highly to any hiker seeking a challenge.
http://1drv.ms/1hnO9cd

Good luck!

Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-07-2015 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 08-07-2015, 05:03 PM   #3
colinzeye
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Thanks for the detailed response its always helpful when fellow travelers are so knowledgeable. We aren't carrying fullovernight gear, because yes that would silly, but we are bringing hammocks in the event we decide to camp just before marcy and then hit the range and out. We will be starting at the Garden heading to Marcy first and then ending at the Wolf Jaws. The water looks scarce but I don't want to waste energy carrying too much for the low section in where it appears to be plentiful. I was just wondering if Haystack is the last spot before wolf jaws.
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Old 08-07-2015, 05:56 PM   #4
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For water on the range trail itself, the Haystack / Basin col is the last place before Deer Brook near the LWJ / Hedgehog col. But if you drop off the ridge, water can sometimes be had:

>Down the Orebed trail - depending on conditions and time of year, a trickle starts 10-20 minutes down.

>Down the Wolfjaw Notch trail (toward John's Brook) - water about 20 minutes down.
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:16 PM   #5
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Great Range Trip

In the Eastern High Peaks camping is prohibited above 3500 feet, this includes hammocks. Also, you must be 150 feet from a trail or water. Your only legal camping area on the upper Phelps trail is Slant Rock. After that, there is Snobird on the Range.

The regulations are to preserve and protect this special area. Do not camp illegally.
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:22 AM   #6
colinzeye
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Who said anything about camping illegally? I think I made myself clear that we would camp before Marcy and crush the Range the next day...If we get crushed by the Range we can hit Orebed for a night....my specific question was about tainted water in the Haystack/Basin col, but thanks for your concern Joe
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinzeye View Post
Thanks for the detailed response...
You're welcome!

Quote:
..we are bringing hammocks in the event we decide to camp just before marcy and then hit the range and out.
Hammocks ought to provide you with more options on steep terrain than tenting. Like Joe said, your last opportunity to camp (before Marcy) will be near Slant Rock. On this metric topo map, elevations below 1050 meters are primitive-camping territory.
http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.12...89663&z=15&b=t

Quote:
... I was just wondering if Haystack is the last spot before wolf jaws.
In a nutshell, yes. However, there are trickles of water to be found along the way if you have the patience to find and collect them. Worst case, you can descend Orebed to find water (I wouldn't bother with the Beaver Meadows trail). The col between Gothics and Armstrong is a bit boggy and, if you trust your water filter completely, you're liable to find some standing water.

If you tank up at Haystack Brook, you should be fine until your descent along the Wolfjaw trail. Given that Haystack Brook is within yards of the Sno-bird camp-site, and is fed by run-off from the Range trail, I definitely recommend filtering the water.

Good luck and enjoy the trip!
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