PDA

View Full Version : Original Trail



dmperkins74
06-02-2012, 11:44
Hey y'all,

I've been wondering how much of the trail is original trail. Anybody know of a good site that tells about that?

dp

WIAPilot
06-02-2012, 11:58
Good question!

Old Hiker
06-02-2012, 13:34
The original Trail. Photos don't lie!

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=51587&c=514

ki0eh
06-02-2012, 22:00
Marty Dominy in GA was trying to tabulate all the reroutes through the years on paper maps. I do not know whether that has been or is being digitized.

Spirit Walker
06-02-2012, 22:26
In 1988 I was told that Maine was 75% relocated from the original routes. I'm sure there have been changes since.

CrumbSnatcher
06-02-2012, 23:31
In 1988 I was told that Maine was 75% relocated from the original routes. I'm sure there have been changes since.
the trail used to roll right thru alot of the towns in maine i believe, like before the rattle river shelter, i believe the carter-moriah trail that goes right into gorham NH. was the old AT(i could be wrong?)
thers a blue blaze trail going north out of gorham too that was AT? i have hiked a few old brown blazes in virginia(alot of old road walks) alot of sections are on thier 3rd routes, some sections have multiple routes, that they revert (change back too) to after a few years of wear and tear.
i consider brown blazing the older routes were you see the blaze fading back to the original brown on tress,light poles,etc...

CrumbSnatcher
06-02-2012, 23:35
trail probably went thru 1,000 towns back when most of it was a road walk :-)
i could be total-ly wrong about everything and so me know too

Monkeywrench
06-03-2012, 08:09
In Connecticut the trail used to make a loop around Macedonia Brook State Park. It also crossed the Housatonic at Cornwall Bridge and went up Dark Entry Ravine (next to the General Store) past the remains of Dudleytown, and headed east through Mohawk State Forest then cut north through Cathedral Pines before swinging west again.

In Vermont the Long Trail used a lot of low-land routings in its first iteration before being moved up onto the ridges. Exactly where they were in that process when the AT came into being and started sharing the route, I do not know.

Until the 70's in Vermont the trail went along the south shore of Stratton Pond then west to Bourne Pond along what is now the Lye Brook Trail, then headed north on what is now the Branch Pond Trail. Nowadays the LT/At heads northand west from the east end of Stratton Pond and avoids the Lye Brook Wilderness entirely. Also, the current route up the south side of Stratton Mountain is different than the original (and in the interim it was moved off Stratton Mountain entirely, and used what is now the Stratton Pond Trail.)

Once the NTSA came into being and the federal gov't started buying up a permanent right-of-way, I think a lot more relocations came into being as well.

My guess is only a very small percentage of the trail is still on its original alignment.

Rain Man
06-03-2012, 09:59
Somehow makes me imagine the reaction I'd get if I went to my bank and asked for my exact dollar bills back, which I had deposited when young.

Rain:sunMan

.

WingedMonkey
06-03-2012, 11:13
I don't see how there could be an "original trail" unless you pick a certain year and try to determine where the trail was that year. There are certainly many places where the trail once went and no longer does. As the actual land rights come under ownership of the big bad evil federal government the actual right of way will certainly shrink.

The friends I stay with in Massachusetts would always tell me stories of the trail going across their property and the occasional lost hiker they would meet. I took it as just a story until I came across old white blazes on rocks in their woods. Seems paint last a lot longer on rock than trees.

I use the path now to get to the official trail almost a mile away.

LIhikers
06-03-2012, 15:28
I believe, but could very well be wrong, that where the trail goes through the Bear Mountain Zoo is part of the "original" AT

lemon b
06-03-2012, 15:56
Kinda doubt anyone could have kept track of all the changes over the years. Was looking at a few 1995 photos I have and can tell the trail used to go left and now goes right in one for sure.

WIAPilot
06-03-2012, 16:52
Surely, the ATC has a map of the original route that was walked by Avery in 1936? Because the trail had to be rerouted before it was even built. But I would think "original" would be the first path walked by Avery, although it wasn't a thru.

It would be interesting to see how it changed even to when Shaffer walked it in 1948.

Jim Adams
06-04-2012, 00:19
I noticed about 250 miles of different trail between my 1990 and 2002 thru hikes.

geek

Hikerhead
06-04-2012, 01:37
Va has to be the king of the Reroute. At one time it didn't go near Mt Rogers, then another time it went OVER Mt Rogers, now it goes very near Mt Rogers. The time it didn't go near Mt Rogers it was on the Iron Mtn trail, one mtn to the north. It then went to the New River, then to Galax, then to the BR Parkway to Poor Mtn and dropped down and crossed Rt 460 north of Salem to get on Catawba Mtn, I don't believe back then that it went over Dragons Tooth. Before they built the lodge and lake at the Peaks of Otter it went thru there also. And then it was the giant reroute all through SNP when the parkway was laid on top of the AT.

Hikerhead
06-04-2012, 01:42
And at one time when the trail got on top of Big Walker it stayed on that ridgeline heading north, not sure where it went from there. I imagine the I-77 tunnel had something to do with that reroute. Now you go over it and drop down and head for Chestnut Mtn.

dmperkins74
06-04-2012, 05:39
I guess I should be glad that most of these reroutes occur, as they are usually for good reasons and improve the trail, but it's a bit sad to think I may not be setting foot on ANY original trail our there perhaps.

Another Kevin
06-04-2012, 08:57
The Trail is a living thing. There are a number of sections that need to be relocated every few years - sometimes back to an eighty-year-old alignment - simply to let the land recover. Trails, even ones with good waterbars and proper grades, erode over time. Even in the best of circumstances, the difference between a trail and a stream is often that the trail has a few more bootprints and the stream has a few more trout. On top of that, most of the "original" Trail was roadwalk. It took a long time to negotiate land use and construct an off-road treadway. But you'll be setting foot on the original Trail thousands of times, because the continually-relocated sections cross and recross, and some points of interest (ranging in elevation from the Mount Washington summit to the Bear Mountain zoo) stay on the Trail perennially.

I live in a part of the country that has been continuously settled since the seventeenth century. Centuries-old roads are still easily traced on the map, but a good many of them are now perennial streams in spots. The erosion has made them the easiest conduits, and they now flow with water year-round, with humanity's wheeled traffic now rolling elsewhere.

There are other long trails that have an even stranger history of relocation. The New York Long Path was originally envisioned not as a continuously blazed trail, but rather a catalogue of points of interest. A hiker would find his own way from one to the next, using whatever highways, woods roads and trails that the terrain offered. Roughly the southern half of the path eventually had to be blazed and protected from the encroachments of suburbia, and the Orange County section is pretty well lost. It's now all roadwalk, and opportunities to camp are few. For that reason, there's an approved alternative through northern New Jersey. The hiker leaves the Long Path in Harriman Park, proceeds west on the AT almost to High Point, New Jersey, and then north on the Shawangunk Ridge to rejoin the Long Path past the worst of the problem section. (For a good many miles, "trail north" on the Long Path is "trail south" on the AT.) From Altamont north, the Long Path reverts to being a catalog of landmarks, although the guidebook offers a suggested roadwalk to get the hiker safely through the Mohawk Valley.

Sorry, I digress. To me it's an astonishingly cool idea that (with considerable homework to line up shelter opportunities in the early part) a hiker can put on a backpack in Manhattan and walk out of New York City, with a destination in the Adirondack High Peaks. Back to the topic: Roads and trails are living things. They all get relocated over time.

Odd Man Out
06-04-2012, 09:18
I find the trail's history interesting and have been following this thread. It seems to be well established that most of the trail is not original and that this is not unexpected. But, can anyone suggest a section of trail (even a small part) that IS original, or at least has not been rerouted in a very long time?

tdoczi
06-04-2012, 09:48
I find the trail's history interesting and have been following this thread. It seems to be well established that most of the trail is not original and that this is not unexpected. But, can anyone suggest a section of trail (even a small part) that IS original, or at least has not been rerouted in a very long time?

the crawford path, and other trails in the whites, pre date the AT itself, by a long stretch, and are now part of the AT (to us anyway, many other people dont even know the AT is there and will always think of them by their original names). i suppose that doesnt mean they couldnt have been re routed but its hard to imagine where youd even re route most of the crawford path to if you wanted to.

Mags
06-04-2012, 10:32
I find the trail's history interesting and have been following this thread. It seems to be well established that most of the trail is not original and that this is not unexpected. But, can anyone suggest a section of trail (even a small part) that IS original, or at least has not been rerouted in a very long time?

Don't know for sure, but I suspect a lot of the AT in the Whites is original (as mentioned above much of it pre-dates the AT). Along Franconia Ridge immediately comes to mind for topography reasons as much as anything. Kinda hard to reroute a ridge line trail. ;)

peakbagger
06-04-2012, 11:22
Coming up with a map of the changing routes of the AT in Maine is on my long term list once I get a first edition guide to the ME AT. The original trail through Maine was mostly logging roads that ran parallel to the ridgeline and had to be set up so that hikers would end up at either Maine Forest Service campsites or sporting camps as it was against the law to have campfires on private property (most of the Maine woods) without a registered Maine guide. Earl Shaffer had some pretty pointed comments on the changes to the Maine section after his anniversary hike as when he did it the first time he followed the original route and the second time he had to hike the ridgeline.

The AT just north of the whites in Gorham has moved around quite bit near Gorham. At one time the route in Gorham required knocking on someones door and asking to be rowed across the Androscoggin.

10-K
06-04-2012, 17:36
Va has to be the king of the Reroute. At one time it didn't go near Mt Rogers, then another time it went OVER Mt Rogers, now it goes very near Mt Rogers. The time it didn't go near Mt Rogers it was on the Iron Mtn trail, one mtn to the north. It then went to the New River, then to Galax, then to the BR Parkway to Poor Mtn and dropped down and crossed Rt 460 north of Salem to get on Catawba Mtn, I don't believe back then that it went over Dragons Tooth. Before they built the lodge and lake at the Peaks of Otter it went thru there also. And then it was the giant reroute all through SNP when the parkway was laid on top of the AT.

Ah dang... I hiked the Iron Mt. Trail last month and tried to conjure up all the early AT "heros" (especially my fav, Doris Laker) hiking the same trail.

rickb
06-05-2012, 19:19
Don't know for sure, but I suspect a lot of the AT in the Whites is original (as mentioned above much of it pre-dates the AT). Along Franconia Ridge immediately comes to mind for topography reasons as much as anything. Kinda hard to reroute a ridge line trail. ;)here

Of course they could have relocated the original AT trail -- where it coinsides with the Crawford Path -- over the top of some of those pesky little 4K summits (Eisenhower and Monroe?) with nothing more than a bucket of paint.

But they didn't. Still original.

Feels kind of odd to follow the white blazes around the side of those peaks rather than blue blaze over the top. But this post is about a horse path, not a dead horse -- so best not to go there.

coach lou
06-05-2012, 19:45
I was digging in one of my two map crates, looking for something I knew I had saved from when I was in the USMC. We were on an assignment to camp Merrill near Dahlonega,Ga. i was driving my truck around the area when I came apon white blazes. i had saved the 2 Army issued maps of that area[map geek even then]. I found them. I do not have detailed, up to date AT maps of Georgia, but from what I can see on-line to compare with my 35 yr old army maps, it appears the trail in Georgia has been relocated considerably. is this true? I would love to post these old maps, but they are difficult to see even live, but the AT is clearly marked and goes very close to Camp Merrill in 1975.

rickb
06-05-2012, 20:09
I was digging in one of my two map crates, looking for something I knew I had saved from when I was in the USMC. We were on an assignment to camp Merrill near Dahlonega,Ga. i was driving my truck around the area when I came apon white blazes. i had saved the 2 Army issued maps of that area[map geek even then]. I found them. I do not have detailed, up to date AT maps of Georgia, but from what I can see on-line to compare with my 35 yr old army maps, it appears the trail in Georgia has been relocated considerably. is this true? I would love to post these old maps, but they are difficult to see even live, but the AT is clearly marked and goes very close to Camp Merrill in 1975.

You used to hear stories of Rangers coming upon AT hikers all the time -- some funier than others -- during thier training.

Not sure if that happens. I worked with a former Ranger once who was lost until he found the white blazes.

Cosmo
06-05-2012, 20:09
Search for 'historic topo maps' and you will find many that show the AT in the 50's and 60's.

Cosmo

coach lou
06-05-2012, 20:12
You used to hear stories of Rangers coming upon AT hikers all the time -- some funier than others -- during thier training.

Not sure if that happens. I worked with a former Ranger once who was lost until he found the white blazes.

Yes, that's what we were doing, our Helo squadron was ferrying rangers around the mountains of that area. Someone on WB has a photo of a squad of rangers humping by a shelter.

lemon b
06-06-2012, 07:27
Shelters must play a larger role in the trail changes today. Back in the late 70's there were not nearly as many shelters. No one even considered doing any kind of long hiking even remotely thought they might be able to use one the majority of nights.

coach lou
06-06-2012, 07:51
There is just no way I can reproduce this map to put here, on my old map the trail leaves Springer , heads NE and Crosses Sassafras Mt. then Hogback Mt then Gooch Mt. then turns more NNE. Is this still the case?

Velvet Gooch
06-06-2012, 08:02
Think of it as a route that's only been walked in its entirety by a few. Stay in the present

glaux
06-06-2012, 08:35
It hits Sassafras and Gooch, but skirts around Hogback (though there is a USSF road that goes over Hogback).

glaux
06-06-2012, 08:37
I mean USFS (this forum doesn't have an option to edit posts, does it?)

coach lou
06-06-2012, 08:37
It hits Sassafras and Gooch, but skirts around Hogback (though there is a USSF road that goes over Hogback).

Thank You very much!

Kerosene
06-06-2012, 09:42
In Connecticut the trail used to make a loop around Macedonia Brook State Park. It also crossed the Housatonic at Cornwall Bridge and went up Dark Entry Ravine (next to the General Store) past the remains of Dudleytown, and headed east through Mohawk State Forest then cut north through Cathedral Pines before swinging west again.I hiked this route on my April 1975 section hike. Cathedral Pines was very much a highlight.



Until the 70's in Vermont the trail went along the south shore of Stratton Pond then west to Bourne Pond along what is now the Lye Brook Trail, then headed north on what is now the Branch Pond Trail. Nowadays the LT/At heads northand west from the east end of Stratton Pond and avoids the Lye Brook Wilderness entirely.This was the route when I went through in July 1976, and again in August 1979. I clearly recall pulling my Achilles tendon while skirting Bourne Pond. A stalled hurricane supposed dumped 14" of rain on my during the 14 miles I hiked that day, and I injured my tendon when my boot got stuck in deep mud and I pulled it out. I had to terminate my hike in Manchester Center.

Gray Blazer
06-06-2012, 09:45
Someone on WB has a photo of a squad of rangers humping by a shelter.

Was that on hump day?

tdoczi
06-06-2012, 09:54
here

Of course they could have relocated the original AT trail -- where it coinsides with the Crawford Path -- over the top of some of those pesky little 4K summits (Eisenhower and Monroe?) with nothing more than a bucket of paint.

But they didn't. Still original.

Feels kind of odd to follow the white blazes around the side of those peaks rather than blue blaze over the top. But this post is about a horse path, not a dead horse -- so best not to go there.

having gone over all those summits (until i got to adams) i know exactly why they never bothered.

Pedaling Fool
06-06-2012, 10:39
I imagine that the trail that goes past this rock is probably original and it (the trail) won't be relocated away from it anytime soon, since it's a pretty heavy rock and won't be so easily relocated. :sun



http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/6/9/3/6/09-28-061505.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=17987&original=1&catid=member&imageuser=6936)

tdoczi
06-06-2012, 10:53
I imagine that the trail that goes past this rock is probably original and it (the trail) won't be relocated away from it anytime soon, since it's a pretty heavy rock and won't be so easily relocated. :sun





"from 1935-1939".... "near this spot"......"dedicated august 14, 1987"

hmmm... sort of sounds like the trail was possibly already moved before they even put the plaque there.

Pedaling Fool
06-06-2012, 15:43
"from 1935-1939".... "near this spot"......"dedicated august 14, 1987"

hmmm... sort of sounds like the trail was possibly already moved before they even put the plaque there.Yeah, I guess I put too much emphasis on "original". Maybe it is not original, but when I looked at this rock I thought, "Well, seems like they can't relocate this section of trail".

And that's basically what I think of when this subject comes up..., i.e., What sections of trail cannot be relocated, but are prominent points along the trail since its inception? I would imagine all other sections have been relocated.

I've never attempted to answer/research that question, but I do know the trail was started in New York around bear mountain, but no one really sees that as a prominent part of the AT; I don't even remember if the trail goes over the summit of Bear mountain, like so many other summits the trail many times just skirts it.

Probably the one that comes to mind is Katahdin (Baxter Peak), but it isn't even original. I guess that question would also apply to any other prominent points along the AT, probably mostly certain mountain tops, but I don't know how many mountain tops or other prominent markers have been part of the AT since its inception.

But really, the only reason why we wonder this is because the AT is so old and old things have that kind of nostalgic effect on us; it wasn't an issue when the trail was being developed, just like it isn't for the developing trails today, such as the MST, which everyone wants to change much of its original path, especially the road portions.

WIAPilot
06-06-2012, 16:32
You used to hear stories of Rangers coming upon AT hikers all the time -- some funier than others -- during thier training.

Not sure if that happens. I worked with a former Ranger once who was lost until he found the white blazes.

Before Special Ops, my Dad started his career as a Drill Instructor for the Rangers in Dahlonega, GA in the late 1950's. He led his men out for excursions near the trail for weeks at a time. The AT was really not that well known at that time - even with Earl Shaffer's 1948 trek. Likewise, hiking as a national pastime had really not caught on yet. But the moonshiners were all up in the mountains near the trail. My Dad used to tell me that there were moonshine stills everywhere around the AT trail in Dahlonega.

Feral Bill
06-06-2012, 16:51
It would be hard to relocate the Bear Mountain Bridge. And who could resist leaving the trail in the Lemon Squeezer?