Dix and the Central High Peaks
Bushwhacking down from Hough
This bushwhack route we had chosen (leading down from the Hough-Dix col into the Boquet River valley) I had done once before -- with Mark and Linda, coincidentally enough, on their completion of their winter 46, also on the summit of Hough. In any case, at that time it was deep winter, and the terrain had been covered in a thick mantle of snow. It turned out to be a very nice snowshoe route, with only a minimum of thick brush and many easy, open sections. I wasn't sure what the underbrush would be like without the snow.
As it turned out, this route is not nearly as good without lots of snow. The upper part has a large section of blowdown that one must carefully pick through. Then, the wide stream-bed that is a virtual highway in winter turned out to be a completely moss-covered slope saturated in flowing water -- too slippery and wet to use during the other three seasons. We therefore had to bushwhack down alongside the stream, enduring some reasonably thick sections. It's not a bad route in several respects -- it is not too long and there are sections that are fairly open -- but for a non-deep-winter route I would classify it as a mediocre bushwhack route (rather than the excellent route that it is in the winter).
We made it down through the bushwhack section and rejoined the herdpath in the upper valley of the South Fork of the Boquet River just around sunset. We soon stopped to put our headlamps on in preparation of the coming dark, then hurried along. Even with headlamps, following the herdpath through this section in the dark was a little tricky -- there are many little crossings of stream braids, and lots of boulders and rocks which don't look particularly trail-like. I was glad when we left this section behind and started following the more discernable path through the forest.
It is a fairly long walk back to route 73. The grades are very easy, and the completely uneroded herdpath is easy to follow and not at all rough or strenuous, so it was a matter of following the beam of one's headlight through fallen leaves and the night sounds of the forest. In the sky above, the winds were calm and stars twinkled here and there behind a patchwork of clouds. A full moon hid for most of the time behind a large, seemingly stationary cloud, its edges glowing a luminous silver.
Nighttime North Fork Crossing
We decided to stay on the proper herdpath for the entire way back, taking our chances with the initial dicey stream crossing. The day's faint warmth managed to melt the sheen of ice off of the boulders on the stream crossings, so when we arrived at that final crossing, we were able to pick our way across without any sort of unfortunate incident. After that, it was perhaps ten more minutes and we were back at the highway. Now Brian and Harold really were ADK 46Rs, for they had made it back out in one piece - also a requirement! So, a final congratulations to you both, Harold and Brian. Well played!
Interactive trackmap with photo points - click link to expand
Hike Data - East, South Dix, Macomb and Hough via Boquet Valley - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet