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Old 09-24-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
Tick Magnet
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Do the Bartman, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, 24 Sep 2013

Today's hike with Tredhed was a little more ambitious than we normally take on. Once or twice a year we kick it up a notch and today was a beautiful day to be out in the woods. We decided to do a thru hike of the Bartman Trail from Bartman Rd to North Bend and on to Rt. 8 via the Oregon Trail. Today was a great example of everything looking great on paper, but not actually going as planned.

We staged a car at the Cod Pond Trailhead on Rt. 8 and drove up the the Bartman Rd. Trailhead for an early start this morning. The first mile of the trail was actually on a good dirt road that passed through some private property and past a nice camp. The trail changed drastically after we hit the barrier and register. Judging from the register entries and trail condition, it doesn't look like a lot of people use this area. The trail was overgrown in many places with witch hobble and other nasty brush. There was some evidence of ATV use, but it was old and didn't look like a very fun ride due to all the rocks and dead falls on the trail.

The trail entered a long descent to the Upper Fish Pond and crossed on the major inlets on a washed out bridge. We found the designated campsite at Upper Fish Pond fairly easy and unfortunately it was littered with a case or two of beer cans and assorted other camping detritus. It was a shame as it had a great view of Kettle Mt. and the swampy pond. Of note was a large wasp nest in a branch right next to the best tent site.

After picking the place up a little, we followed the sparsely marked trail past the outlet of the Lower Fish Pond (we couldn't see LFP from the trail). This is where we started to pay attention to our map and compass as the branch trail to North Bend was very difficult to find. There were no signs and the tread was very faint. The tread was so faint that we lost it fairly quickly and ended up slogging through a spruce swamp for a little bit. Back on the trail, we headed towards North Bend, but got detoured by a hunters path that headed towards Stewart Cr. The hunter's path followed the same general direction as the marked snowmobile trail, but was in better condition and had non-standard trail markers.

We followed the orange disked hunters path across Stewart Cr. on a nice cable crossing and soon realized that it was heading straight up Harrington Mt. Not wishing to climb Harrington today, we bushwhacked a tough mile along Stewart Cr. intersecting the Oregon Trail just north of North Bend. The compass and map really came in handy as we didn't expect to be cutting through such rugged terrain. A good lesson that was reinforced today was to always have a map and compass and be ready for the unexpected.

Once we hit the Oregon Trail, it was a little over an hour down to Rt. 8. The bridges were good and the trail was in good shape compared to the rugged Bartman Trail and overgrown trail to North Bend. All-in-all it was pretty good day in the woods. The deviations from the planned hiking route seemed to work out in the end and we saw some neat country. After 6 1/2 hours in the woods, we emerged at Rt. 8 and headed back down the hill to a great dinner of chicken parm at my house.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1a1 trail head.jpg (49.4 KB, 154 views)
File Type: jpg 1h1 2nd bridge.jpg (71.3 KB, 152 views)
File Type: jpg 2f1 Kettle Mt from UFP.jpg (36.4 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg 3f1 Stewart Cr flow.jpg (70.9 KB, 152 views)
File Type: jpg 4d1 Harrington Mt from Rathburn Swamp.jpg (53.1 KB, 152 views)
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:48 AM   #2
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To echo TM's comments about having a map & compass while hiking, it's important to bring your brain along on every trip. Too many people overestimate their own abilities while underestimating the forest's ability to screw you up. Tick Magnet and I now have a deeper respect for the woods and how we navigate through them.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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Do the Bartman!
Cool tr & photos TM.
That song has been stuck in my head all day!
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:02 AM   #4
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If one person gets the joke, it's worth the effort.

I'm really intrigued about the cable crossing and "hunter's" trail we saw heading up Harrington Mt. It was well cut & maintained and had a good foot tread (unlike the Bartman & North Bend trails). It was also frequently disked with orange painted metal can lids and red-painted trees .

I've got to believe it wasn't a DEC trail as it would have the appropriate NYSDEC disks. Has anyone seen similar non-DEC trails? What's the deal with that?
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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Hunters have probably kept it clear for deer carts to haul camp in and hopefully bucks out. Whenever I've found chain sawed blow down where there should not be, it almost always leads to stovepipe and canvas tent post. That is a pretty cool bridge on the Oregon trail over Stewarts Creek, watched a couple of otters playing on the ice upstream from that bridge one hunting season.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tick Magnet View Post
Has anyone seen similar non-DEC trails? What's the deal with that?
Oh yeah, they're all over the place.
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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Oh yeah, they're all over the place.
True that. I do enjoy the occasional zip line ride they leave for me in their cables spanning streams!
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info guys, that answers a bunch of questions.
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