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Old 02-08-2019, 11:40 PM   #1
floortap
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Question Janacks Landing / Dead Creek Flow from Wanakena

All I can say is "wtf"... We snowshoed down the railroad grade until we found an unexpected sharp right in the trail, I think right after a small stream crossing, marked poorly with some pink tape. It went up a pretty steep hill, and there are red seals also marking that apparent "detour." And there were no visible trail markers further down the railroad bed. So we took the detour thinking the rail bed must be washed out ahead. ..... But the stupid detour trail just awkwardly crossed a stream and looped us back to an earlier part of the trail at a point not clearly marked!!! -- so we didn't see this "detour" route the first time we passed. Not knowing why the trail was apparently improperly marked, as the "detour" actually seemed more difficult than the rail bed route it parallells, we decided just to head back to the car.

So... wtf???... is someone messing with trail markers? Is there a map in existence that shows that "detour"? Is it just a side route in case the railroad bed is washed out in the spring? If so, why isn't it shown on any maps in existence? And why is the rail grade poorly marked south of the "detour"? Are they rerouting the trail and just doing a really poor job of it?
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:57 PM   #2
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Just found this "At around the 1.1 mile mark, there is a detour around some water- likely beaver related. This rejoins the main trail after a few minutes. The detour is fairly new, and not as obvious as walking the old rail bed, so keep your eyes open" here: https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wo...nacks-landing/

Okay so there's a 3-year old detour, it's northern entrance is poorly marked or not marked from the perspective of the rail bed trail, and the rail bed trail south of the detour is also poorly marked. And the detour hasn't been added to any maps -- not even the trailhead map. And no one has even sharpied it onto the trailhead map in spite of incompetent state government. Why?
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:11 AM   #3
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You hit the detour that was around a good sized beaver pond on the Janacks trail. I heard someone went in and broke the dam last summer (a couple times) and must not have removed the detour markers. I believe the detour was an official DEC reroute and the removal of the dam was not official. The first intersection of the reroute was always easy to miss (there were branches across the trail for a while to help you notice). I have never seen the reroute on a map and missed it my first time down there.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:14 AM   #4
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I've never been in that area. But isn't this part of the much heralded "CL50" that the state and various advocates have been trying to promote? It would seem if we are trying to promote something we could do better than poorly marked reroutes and 3 year obsolete maps at the trailhead.

This was interesting to me because we saw much the same thing on the NP when we hiked it in 2007. Several areas had really poorly done or entirely absent maintenance, with poorly marked or amateurish reroutes and ancient, many year obsolete notices at the trailheads. And the NP is supposed to be some kind of crown jewel...but the same overall issue was on display there more than ten years ago. Sounds like nothing has changed.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:19 AM   #5
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This trail is not part of the CL50 but is sometimes used as a short cut for those section hiking it, or to get to Janack's Landing, Cat Mountain or Glasby Pond.

The other trailhead on South Shore road, 'the truck trail', that heads out to High Rock/High Falls is the CL50 route and is well marked and there is an updated CL50 map the Five Ponds Partners (not DEC) publish. The two trails together do make a loop called the 'High Falls Loop Trail'.

I will mention this to the Ranger for the area next time I see him and figure out the best fix whether it is removing the reroute markers or putting signage at the trailhead - based on if that beaver pond is gone for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:15 PM   #6
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In early May 2017 the detour was marked. and the trail was to say the least a little soggy. Later that year on the long weekend in October the trial was once again open and dry. There was some "minor" culvert work evident along what was the flooded part of the trail. But from memory (failing ) the detour markers has been removed.

I have to say the detour was a minor reroute. There is a face book post somewhere about it somewhere but it sounds like Charles le Castor has been busy again
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCD View Post
I've never been in that area. But isn't this part of the much heralded "CL50" that the state and various advocates have been trying to promote? It would seem if we are trying to promote something we could do better than poorly marked reroutes and 3 year obsolete maps at the trailhead.

This was interesting to me because we saw much the same thing on the NP when we hiked it in 2007. Several areas had really poorly done or entirely absent maintenance, with poorly marked or amateurish reroutes and ancient, many year obsolete notices at the trailheads. And the NP is supposed to be some kind of crown jewel...but the same overall issue was on display there more than ten years ago. Sounds like nothing has changed.
As Scouter says, the trail in question is not part of the CL50. There's a bunch of factors that contribute to the problems here, and it's not exactly equivalent to parts of the NPT that have become overgrown/poorly maintained, either.

The trail in question was once an old railroad grade, and later a state truck trail. It's gotten a bit grown in at the edges in recent years, but it's still generally open and free of encroaching growth. Because it's flat and straight, it's possible to get up a good pace and not really pay attention to your surroundings at the same time. This makes re-routed sections easy to miss, even if they are well signed.

And the beaver activity in the area is pretty variable. I've hiked this trail when there was knee deep standing water for several hundred feet at a time, and I've hiked it when it was bone dry all the way to Janacks Landing. So the re-route in question gets used for a year or two when the flooding is bad, and then the beaver ponds disappear (the beavers get trapped out or they leave the area or the dam burst) and everyone starts using the old route again, and "do gooders" remove any debris used to block the old trail. When dry, the original route is by far the more direct and easier path and there is no benefit to following the re-route, so the tread starts to fade on the re-route.

I'll also add that in the winter, any active beaver flooding is probably frozen over and covered with snow- and a hiker may not even realize that they are treading on top of a beaver pond. Again, the old railroad grade is straight and obvious- and it would be especially easy in winter to miss a junction with a reroute because there might not be any obvious indication that a reroute would be needed. I think that may be at least partially what happened to floortap.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:34 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I think having permanent detour/bypass routes is great, given all the beavers, but the north entrance apparently needs to be marked better and some more markers should be placed south of the detour to make it clear there is no problem with continuing south on the rail bed past the detour. Ideally, either the trailhead map should be sharpied (by a government official, of course......) or "high water bypass" signs of some kind should be added to both sides of the bypass. From what I recall, the only sign for the detour is at the southern intersection and all it says is "Trail" ... implying that one of the other two directions at that intersection is NOT the trail. As the rail bed is marked as a trail all the way to the end of the bypass, my "logical" conclusion from the "trail" sign was that the trail did NOT continue down the railroad grade south of the bypass. Obviously, I should have done more research before trudging off into a blizzard, but even if I did I'm not sure I would have discovered this nonsense unless I already knew to search for people talking about poorly marked bypass routes.

I've run into this before in the Adks but never with an official trail reroute with official markers, where the markers are poorly placed and the map isn't even updated at the trailhead. It amazes me that they would bother to reroute the trail with official trail seals without even bothering to do it properly or update the trailhead map.

Anyway, I learned an important lesson from this trip: every trip to the Adks is a bushwack -- the "trails" and associated markings are just vague suggestions and not to be trusted more than USGS Quads
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