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  1. #1
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    Default Best shelter / campsite / section for easy winter trip?

    Looking for some advice on a CT section of the AT to do with my son, another dad and his son. I haven't hit the AT when there has been any meaningful snow before, so I need a recommendation. All have at least some summer backpacking experience, but I'll probably be the only one with microspikes. Any sections easy / safe enough to travel on with current conditions (foot or so of snow)?

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    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    you could easily do the state line at hoyt rd (ny state line) north to ten mile rier shelter and back. ten mile hill (1000') is a pretty easy climb in either direction. thats about 3.5 miles to the shelter from the state line and is one pretty section imho. also the river walk from n kent road/river road parking lot in kent has several shelters/campsites, including the amazing silver hill at the north end which is also a fairly easy climb up from the river at the end of the section. from the lot its about 5.5 miles to silver hill campsite. you could also do it the other way from rt 4 and park at the mohawk trail/breadloaf lot, walk up rt 4 to the trail and cross and then you'd be coming over silver hill from the north, at a higher elevation and be coming down it and could camp at stony brook or stewart hollow shelter if you don't wanna camp up at 900 ft. and then go back the next morning. or leave a car at either end.

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    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    you may also want to consider snowshoes unless you're willing to do a lot of tramping in virgin snow. its pretty deep right now i imagine. microspikes are great for not slipping but that's really their only main purpose. or wait for a warm spell to melt some of it off. im dying to get back on trail and finish the last section of CT north from salisbury (we did the rest last year) but i definitely have to wait as its too snowy and too cold to be at those elevations without 4 season gear and snowshoes. spring can't come soon enough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    you may also want to consider snowshoes unless you're willing to do a lot of tramping in virgin snow. its pretty deep right now i imagine. microspikes are great for not slipping but that's really their only main purpose. or wait for a warm spell to melt some of it off. im dying to get back on trail and finish the last section of CT north from salisbury (we did the rest last year) but i definitely have to wait as its too snowy and too cold to be at those elevations without 4 season gear and snowshoes. spring can't come soon enough!
    You can say that again! I've been getting antsy, hence looking to get out early. I use the microspikes on some local well-used trails that get hard-packed and icy. I was hoping beyond hope that the AT would be traveled enough to be in a similar condition, but again I don't have winter experience on the AT to know how traveled it is.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  5. #5
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    i think linus72's advice on trail sections is great. I think I would go for the 10 mile river shelter... quite a mellow walk to a nice shelter in a pretty area.

    it is hard to plan for trail conditions -- if even one person has walked the section you will hike with or without snowshoes then it will be a lot easier for you. But, since the mileages are so short, and there are going to be four of you, taking turns breaking trail will not be that big a deal. AND you will already have broken the trail for your return trip if you are doubling back. You probably won't need microspikes or snowshoes since the terrain and the distances are not particularly ambitious.

    if you have two cars and want to keep a bit more ambitious 2 night hike as an option, you might hike between Conn 55 and Conn 341... the longest section would be between the shelters -- at 8.4 miles. you could make the go/no go decision based upon your shorter hike in to the first shelter. Both nice shelters, by the way... Given hiker's winter hiking habits, i would almost bet that the sections from the trail heads to the shelters will be broken, and the section between the two shelters will not be...


    good for you for planning a rational trip that you can all enjoy! let us know how it goes.
    Lazarus

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    oh. and go Nutmegger hikers!
    Lazarus

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tom View Post
    Looking for some advice on a CT section of the AT to do with my son, another dad and his son. I haven't hit the AT when there has been any meaningful snow before, so I need a recommendation. All have at least some summer backpacking experience, but I'll probably be the only one with microspikes. Any sections easy / safe enough to travel on with current conditions (foot or so of snow)?
    Right now, the snow pack is pretty substantial (from 15" to over 2' in places) and has not compressed much yet, making travel in it extremely difficult without snow shoes. Right now there isn't much of the AT that can be done without snowshoes safely. Unless you have them, I would stay on high traffic trails that will create a compressed snow and ice treadway more suitable for microspikes. The only exception I can think of would be Bear Mountain via the Undermountain trail. That is a rather commonly used in and out hike which may provide that surface soon.

    Finding a section on the AT you can do overnight, packed down enough to use only microspikes is difficult and you may need to wait a while. If you get snowshoes you'll have a much better time of it.

  8. #8
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    good luck and have fun!

    we're looking at end of april for that last section over lions head and bear into sages ravine and then back down via paradise lane. wish we could finish all the way to jug end but because of schedules, will have to do that in another section a few weeks later. i figure while it could be a little cool and wet, its warm enough for three season camping/hiking, mostly snow-free and we can get riga and sages mostly to ourselves. (and bug-free i hope too).

    has anyone parked on east street/mt washington road and taken the old northwest road back up to the trail at sages? how reliable/safe/legal is that lot/route for a multi-day? this could shave some repeat hiking for us on the next section, but im actually looking forward to checking out paradise lane/undermountain on the way back this time!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    good luck and have fun!

    we're looking at end of april for that last section over lions head and bear into sages ravine and then back down via paradise lane. wish we could finish all the way to jug end but because of schedules, will have to do that in another section a few weeks later. i figure while it could be a little cool and wet, its warm enough for three season camping/hiking, mostly snow-free and we can get riga and sages mostly to ourselves. (and bug-free i hope too).

    has anyone parked on east street/mt washington road and taken the old northwest road back up to the trail at sages? how reliable/safe/legal is that lot/route for a multi-day? this could shave some repeat hiking for us on the next section, but im actually looking forward to checking out paradise lane/undermountain on the way back this time!
    I did the paradise lane and undermountain trail with a quick trip to Sages ravine after Christmas, it was a lot of fun. Though ascending the north side of Bear Mountain with the ice was pretty tricky. Enjoy!

  10. #10
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    the Mount Washington State Forest rangers recommend that you park at their HQ but there is plenty of parking south of there nearer to the AMC North West camp. East street is plowed up to the state line, allowing for approach only from the north/MA side in the winter. it is an easy walk in from the North West camp parking area to sages ravine and the AT. I've also walked paradise lane/undermountain, and that is a very practical way of accessing a car. The East Street dirt road thing gets old after a couple of miles, IMHO -- parking on Route 41 is just way simpler. I've never walked Mount Everett Road back to East Street.
    Lazarus

  11. #11
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'm never one to willingly SHORTEN a hike unless it means I can't get as far as I need to based on time available to cover the section. Besides, I wouldn't mind seeing the NW camp cabin. So do you think I can actually park there in their lot for 2 nights? Or is it a separate lot? Can I access that from the south/ Salisbury via Mt Washington Rd in May without issue, or do I need to come down from Sheffield? I really need to explore that area one of these days. My FJ can handle it !

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    has anyone parked on east street/mt washington road and taken the old northwest road back up to the trail at sages? how reliable/safe/legal is that lot/route for a multi-day? this could shave some repeat hiking for us on the next section, but im actually looking forward to checking out paradise lane/undermountain on the way back this time!
    I use both the south and north access parking on East Street a lot for a variety of different routes around the plateau. I have never had a problem at either of them. The south parking area is closed to winter travel, so only the north parking areas are open (there are three separate parking areas there that should hold about 8 cars between them).

    Paradise Lane trail is a very nice walk. I usually take that coming up the Undermountain trail to climb Bear mountain from the north side along the AT. It makes for a nice loop as well if you want to go from East Street down the access road to the AT north of Bear, to the PL trail, back up the UM trail to the AT and north to the access road at the south side of Bear. There is a trail off of the access road to the north that will eventually bring you to the NW cabin you pass on the way in from East St.

  13. #13
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    that is a wonderful area to explore... a loop hike -- AT one way, South Taconic Trail the other -- with a short little adventure connecting the trails at the northern end to get to or from catamount ski area. Both trails meet just fine at the North West Cabin. take in Bash Bish falls... it is nice to wander off the AT from time to time.
    Lazarus

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    Are there any decent maps of the trails and road accesses and such around Bear Mountain? I've only made the trip once and didn't realize there were so many options. Everything I reference seems to be missing things. For example, the CT Walk Book doesn't even show Paradise Lane trail, and my AT guidebook doesn't list access trails to the NW Cabin (which I would love to see someday).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tom View Post
    Are there any decent maps of the trails and road accesses and such around Bear Mountain? I've only made the trip once and didn't realize there were so many options. Everything I reference seems to be missing things. For example, the CT Walk Book doesn't even show Paradise Lane trail, and my AT guidebook doesn't list access trails to the NW Cabin (which I would love to see someday).
    ahhh... another chance for me to promote Maprika, the free smartphone app. I have posted the South Taconic Trail - trail detail map on Maprika... great map, gps synchronized. Or, pm me your email address and I will send you the map as a jpg.
    Lazarus

  16. #16
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    just downloaded maprika and your map. I actually own that map - bought it at the outdoor shop in salisbury after a day hike loop up the lions head trail and down the AT. i just wanted to keep goin from that lookout on lions head but alas i only had a day pack and my wife and her sister were waiting for me for lunch in salisbury. just about 10 weeks now.

  17. #17
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    lookin forward to trying this app while skiing too. so it actually tracks your location on the ski and trail maps? any other info like elevation and such? if not i have a GPS and I also use Alltrails which is a great app for hiking/

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72:1945140
    lookin forward to trying this app while skiing too. so it actually tracks your location on the ski and trail maps? any other info like elevation and such? if not i have a GPS and I also use Alltrails which is a great app for hiking/
    Yes... the app uses a jpg of any map which the user posting the map on maprika synchronizes with google maps by referring to landmarks and/or roadways. You can opt to share the map with others, which I always do. The nice thing is you only need gps for the app to work-no need for phone reception, so more useful on the trail. You can track yourself using the app, and that tracking includes elevation change. If you have a friend (I don't :-[) it'll let you both know locations.
    Lazarus

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