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Topic: Roaring plains info needed< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2013, 4:12 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, arfcomhkr, and I and a few others are planning a trip to Roaring Plains here in a few weeks, neither of us has been there before, so everything is going to be new for us this trip.

We're going to be doing some variation of MrHyker's circuit hike

http://www.midatlantichikes.com/id121.html

I know a lot of those trails aren't marked up in there.  Just wanted to jump in here, and ask for pointers, things to watch out for, places to watch, good camping spots, water holes, you know the normal stuff.

We're making it a 2 night hike, so we'll have plenty of time to see all the sites, and no reason to get in a hurry :cool:
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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2013, 4:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

jnk,

It depends on exactly how you're going to do the loop. I would come in off the South Prong trail upper trailhead (the road to the pipeline should be gated now) and follow it back and catch the Hidden Passage. When I did it the Hidden Passage beginning was a bit difficult to find but after that it was pretty easy. You could camp up near the pipeline the first night. The second day I would take the Canyons Rim Trail at least to the point but preferably further to the large boulder field and then backtrack or preferably continue on the Canyons Rim and camp at the Horse Camp. I DO NOT recommend the Teepee trail. It's a bushwhack with no views and it's muddy to boot. I would only use it for an emergency exit. Day 3 then lets you go back the Roaring Plains Trail to the pipeline and either up over the pipeline to the Hidden Passage or out the road to the South Prong trail. That is, if you're using one vehicle. If you've got two then you could go down Flatrock Run Tr. or Boar's Nest (or even the rest of South Prong but that's a longer walk). Any other questions please ask. Oh, BTW, the beginning of Canyons Rim is never easy to find. Waypoint it on a GPS if you have one.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2013, 8:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ May 22 2013, 4:56 pm)
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jnk,

It depends on exactly how you're going to do the loop. I would come in off the South Prong trail upper trailhead (the road to the pipeline should be gated now) and follow it back and catch the Hidden Passage. When I did it the Hidden Passage beginning was a bit difficult to find but after that it was pretty easy. You could camp up near the pipeline the first night. The second day I would take the Canyons Rim Trail at least to the point but preferably further to the large boulder field and then backtrack or preferably continue on the Canyons Rim and camp at the Horse Camp. I DO NOT recommend the Teepee trail. It's a bushwhack with no views and it's muddy to boot. I would only use it for an emergency exit. Day 3 then lets you go back the Roaring Plains Trail to the pipeline and either up over the pipeline to the Hidden Passage or out the road to the South Prong trail. That is, if you're using one vehicle. If you've got two then you could go down Flatrock Run Tr. or Boar's Nest (or even the rest of South Prong but that's a longer walk). Any other questions please ask. Oh, BTW, the beginning of Canyons Rim is never easy to find. Waypoint it on a GPS if you have one.

I think that is pretty much what we are shooting for. I like the idea of coming back via the roaring plains trail, as it give us a few ways of exit, all else fails and we're tired we can just hike FR70 out.

I have downloaded all the waypoints from MrHyker's site, and I'll have backup maps printed, so i think we should be ok on locating everything. As far as where we'll camp and such, just depends on when we start, and how far we want to go i guess.

Oh, as far as camping, is there any good spots on Water other than the one on the south prong near the hidden passage??  I hate having to lug water into camp.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We found a spring lined with lush green Sphagnum Peat at the horse camp. It's pretty far back in the Spruce grove but was flowing well in September. It should be flowing this time of year.

Ever since I found my way across "the Mother of all Talus Slopes" and the horse camp I've preferred to backpack a mere 2 miles to the campsite at the entrance to the Hidden Passage and just do a 11 mile day hike, or longer, as in this one:

http://midatlantichikes.com/rp2.htm

It is so much more enjoyable to hike the rim w/o 30-35 pounds on your back.

I should note that most of the trails have become a lot more obvious over the past 5 years. I've even gotten reports of more and more people successfully navigating the Tee-Pee Tr. The only place I still have issues is just before the horse camp. It's easy for me to get off trail there. I don't think I've done that little section the same way twice but at that point it's almost impossible to get lost. You simply have to walk mostly westward but uphill toward the large spruce grove that is the horse camp until you either spot the fire rings or the blue blazes of the Roaring Plains Tr.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

MR is spot on. The Horse Camp is the preferred campsite on the Rim for me. Even if you can't find a spring there are almost always large water holes on the Roaring Plains Tr. right next to the spruce grove. There's also water on the railroad grade past the end of the Roaring Plains trail where it meets Flatrock Run Trail. With all this being said I will note that the Roaring Plains trail is one of my least favorite trails on the Mon. Why you ask? Well, it's rocky, relatively flat and the scenery doesn't change much. But, if you've never done it you'll probably enjoy it. I've done it enough times that I avoid it by using other "unofficial" trails that are much nicer. As far as camping on water, other than the Hidden Passage entrance and the Horse Camp there are a few others but I'm not sure they'll work for you. There's an excellent spot right where the Roaring Plains Trail starts at the pipeline with the South Prong within steps (I've stayed there in a very dry autumn and it was great). You could also conceivably stay in some of the meadows near the beginning of the Canyons Rim trail and get water from the little stream in the woods but thats iffy. There are also usually water holes on the pipeline. Enjoy your time, maybe you'll catch the rhododendrons in bloom.

Oh, BTW, I concur with MR about the confusion near the end of the Canyons Rim trail at the Horse Camp. What usually happens is that you'll make a hard right hand turn, come to a huge rock and the trail will peter out. Backtrack to that turn and carefully examine the area and you'll find that the true trail goes through some small bushes straight ahead. From there it's easy. BTW, it's even harder doing it in reverse (did that last fall).


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 10:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is one really nice campsite nestled in a spruce grove on a rock outcrop that looks right down the Roaring Run drainage suitable for a small group. It's not marked on my map on purpose. (I can't tell all of my little secrets!). You'll cross a seasonal stream that should be flowing this time of the year. I'll just say it's about halfway between the pipeline and where the rim trail crosses Roaring Run itself. The Run, by the way, is the last reliable water source before the horse camp.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:04 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I heard there is decent rattlesnake nest near the pipeline...is this true?
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, there are rattlesnakes all over the place. I saw my biggest ever rattler on the rim trail shortly after descending from TMOATS. It wasn't in the rocks but rather hunting in tall grass. When I jumped back I almost took out 3 of my fellow hikers. He was as thick as my wrist and didn't like us interfering one bit.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From my friend's, Saki, blog:



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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 23 2013, 10:40 am)
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The Run, by the way, is the last reliable water source before the horse camp.

While Roaring Run is the last reliable source of water before the Horse Camp, most of the time there is a water source on the Canyons Rim Trail just before the large boulder field. This would be the water under the rock site that I believe MR has marked on his map. This time of the year it should be reliable. The only time I've seen it dry was during a hot, dry trip in early September one year.

I also forgot that there is a small run of water near the end of the Canyons Rim trail shortly before you reach the Horse Camp also.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ahhh! But the question is, which boulder is the spring under Grasshopper! It's between the Tee-Pee Tr campsite and the MOATS. As it dries up it gets pretty muddy. You have to crawl under a boulder to find the spring. The stream near the end of the Rim Tr that V is speaking of I believe is the outflow of the spring I mentioned earlier.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 23 2013, 11:25 am)
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From my friend's, Saki, blog:


Oh, well "F" those things.     I'm glad I'm usually the slowest one in the group.

For all the years I've been backpacking the Mon, I've never run across a live one.  But I'm more of a cool/cold weather backpacker.

Saw a fresh killed one on the road from Spruce Knob down to 33, but that's it.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 1:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 23 2013, 11:44 am)
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Ahhh! But the question is, which boulder is the spring under Grasshopper! It's between the Tee-Pee Tr campsite and the MOATS. As it dries up it gets pretty muddy. You have to crawl under a boulder to find the spring. The stream near the end of the Rim Tr that V is speaking of I believe is the outflow of the spring I mentioned earlier.

The boulder is usually easy to spot because every time I've been through there there has been white flagging indicating the spot. I've been had to crawl under a boulder. The water is flowing down between two rocks and you just need to reach down in there - it is a stretch though.

As for the stream, it might be from the spring. I've not seen the spring.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 5:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(arfcomhkr @ May 23 2013, 11:59 am)
QUOTE

(MRHyker @ May 23 2013, 11:25 am)
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From my friend's, Saki, blog:


Oh, well "F" those things. I'm glad I'm usually the slowest one in the group.

For all the years I've been backpacking the Mon, I've never run across a live one. But I'm more of a cool/cold weather backpacker.

Saw a fresh killed one on the road from Spruce Knob down to 33, but that's it.

You and me both.  I hate snakes, and the ones that rattle even more.

You got any snake shot? :laugh:
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 7:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

LOL, no, I don't have any.  I'm the slow guy. You're going to be out in front this trip.

:p
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(arfcomhkr @ May 23 2013, 7:50 pm)
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LOL, no, I don't have any. I'm the slow guy. You're going to be out in front this trip.

:p

Like hell, that's why we're taking phurba :D   I'm not kidding, your likely to hear gun shots if you get me up front :laugh:
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So exactly where the hell is this horse camp at?? I'm thinking where the canyon rim, and roaring plains trails meet?? Like I said we know nothing of that area. I know where the trailheads are that is it.

Also, since this sounds like we're going to be filtering out of puddles, would a pump type filter work better over say a squeeze filter?? I know I use a 24oz pop bottle screwed onto my squeeze filter, and if you don't have a stream, it could be a problem.... I have my MSR Miniworks just in case...

Oh, and is the big talus slope??


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

jnk,

The Horse Camp is indeed where the Canyons Rim trail and the Roaring Plains trail meet. Remember that the Canyons Rim trail is unofficial and unsigned in any way.

BTW, that isn't the big boulder field, that's just an average one. :-)


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 8:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

jnk,

Actually its difficult to capture the large boulder field in one shot because it wraps around the rim and meanders up and down the slope.

BTW, get very good at following cairns. If you're used to normal trail markings get ready for an adventure. Despite MR's assurances that the trail is "easy" to follow it can be challenging. Depending on the time of the year the vegetation hides the use trail and you will often find yourself stopping and searching for cairns and this is one that you really need to stay on track. Have fun.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 9:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ May 23 2013, 8:47 pm)
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jnk,

Actually its difficult to capture the large boulder field in one shot because it wraps around the rim and meanders up and down the slope.

BTW, get very good at following cairns. If you're used to normal trail markings get ready for an adventure. Despite MR's assurances that the trail is "easy" to follow it can be challenging. Depending on the time of the year the vegetation hides the use trail and you will often find yourself stopping and searching for cairns and this is one that you really need to stay on track. Have fun.

Oh great, this sounds like a lot of fun ???  I hope those GPS way points are pretty close, as i have a feeling we'll end up following those.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 24 2013, 8:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Once you get on the Canyons Rim trail (the ends are the hardest) the path through the woods is relatively easy. When you hit boulder fields is when you need to watch for the cairns. I wouldn't really be watching a GPS, you want to keep an eye out where you're going and you don't want to miss the views. I first did the trail years ago before MR publicized it using only vague directions from Jonathan Jessup. In fact, the western end of the trail had only been traversed a few times and that part (after the last boulder field) was quite difficult to follow but we made it. You'll be fine.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 24 2013, 10:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Coming down from the MOATS - western end:



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PostIcon Posted on: May 24 2013, 1:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

MR's pic shows about 30% of the large boulder field. BTW, I don't think talus is a correct term in the context since that refers to a collection of broken rock fragments at the base of crags, mountain cliffs, volcanoes or valley shoulders that has accumulated through periodic rockfall from adjacent cliff faces. In other words, rock that has accumulated from a landslide. These boulder fields are on top of the ridge and continue over the edges at times. The formation of these is from entirely different mechanisms. Just a little aside.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 24 2013, 4:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 24 2013, 10:46 am)
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Coming down from the MOATS - western end:


I think I read in your descriptions where you come across the MOATS and then you have to go down the hill, that must be the downhill part?  It doesn't look too horrible, mostly just rock hopping across.....
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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2013, 6:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

jnk,

That is the downhill part. I wouldn't call it horrible but do keep an eye out for the cairns. To me, its more of an adventure. Of course weather can play a part. My first time over the large boulder field  was in the morning with a thick fog and visibility of maybe 25 ft. You could barely find one cairn from another. Made it pretty exciting.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2013, 4:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OK, so we may end up making this a basecamp day hike as Mrhyker mentioned above, as climbing the rocks would be much simpler.

So, what kinda distance we looking at from the camping spot on the creek, around the "hidden passage", canyon rim, and back around roaring plains? I'm thinking if we get a early start around 8-9am, and hike it we should be able to make it back to basecamp well before dark....

EDIT: looks like 11.3mi from MrHyker's route of that :laugh:

Either way, about how much time would it take to cover that, those rocks would slow you down I'd think...
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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2013, 8:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Count on that loop being an all day hike, especially since you've never done it before.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2013, 10:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ May 25 2013, 8:31 pm)
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Count on that loop being an all day hike, especially since you've never done it before.

Well, all else fails and time is short we can take the teepee and cut off a few miles.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 11:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A bit late to the party, and no expert - I only done the canyon rim trail twice, exiting once by Teepee and the second time by the boulder field - but here are my two cents:

- The Teepee Trail was awful for me, since I was wearing shorts and the sharp red spruce needles chewed my legs up well and good. Wear long pants, if you plan to take this. Also, plan to get you boots wet, since sections will be under water, with dense growth encroaching on either side, so there's no escape.
- The boulder field was pretty easy for me to follow. My recommendation would be to spot the next two cairns before leaving the one you are standing beside. The route takes you along the boulder field (when heading westward), staying level, and then dropping down near the end, as in MR's photo. You'll find cairn's near the bottom to your right, marking the exit.
- That horse camp that everyone is talking about will be a problem if you plan to enter the canyon rim trail from that side. I remember that the exit of the 'trail' disappeared in that spot, but that wasn't a problem for me since I was already familiar with the Roaring Plains Trail and just had to keep going. I'm remember thinking that I was not sure I could have found the start of the canyon rim trail easily, if I was starting that way.
- Same deal with the Teepee Trail. Not easy finding it from the Roaring Plains Trail, if you haven't taken it before.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2013, 7:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GaliWalker @ May 26 2013, 11:32 am)
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A bit late to the party, and no expert - I only done the canyon rim trail twice, exiting once by Teepee and the second time by the boulder field - but here are my two cents:

- The Teepee Trail was awful for me, since I was wearing shorts and the sharp red spruce needles chewed my legs up well and good. Wear long pants, if you plan to take this. Also, plan to get you boots wet, since sections will be under water, with dense growth encroaching on either side, so there's no escape.
- The boulder field was pretty easy for me to follow. My recommendation would be to spot the next two cairns before leaving the one you are standing beside. The route takes you along the boulder field (when heading westward), staying level, and then dropping down near the end, as in MR's photo. You'll find cairn's near the bottom to your right, marking the exit.
- That horse camp that everyone is talking about will be a problem if you plan to enter the canyon rim trail from that side. I remember that the exit of the 'trail' disappeared in that spot, but that wasn't a problem for me since I was already familiar with the Roaring Plains Trail and just had to keep going. I'm remember thinking that I was not sure I could have found the start of the canyon rim trail easily, if I was starting that way.
- Same deal with the Teepee Trail. Not easy finding it from the Roaring Plains Trail, if you haven't taken it before.

Thanks for the info!

I think we're going to be hiking from our base camp up near the entrance to the hidden passage, go around the hidden passage, and canyon rim, and back roaring plains.  That seems like the most traveled route, and easiest to follow.

Also, how dependable is the creek at that camping spot up on the south prong, near the hidden passage entrance??  I'm planning on only backpacking in the water i need to get to the base camp, then filling a camelback bladder there for our day hike around the loop.  My 3 liter bladder should just about do for the whole day....
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