Tuesday, May 30, 2017


While hiking the Stratheden Trail nearly 20 years ago, I passed an area along the official trail that looked like it was an unmarked trail, so today we went back to that area in hopes we would be able to find it again.  Once again we forgot the bug spray and the bugs were relentless, but we did find what we set out to find, an unmarked trail.

Okay, as we began hiking along it we soon realized this was no trail, this was in fact an old abandoned road.  You could still see the itre groves, and the entire left hand side of the old road was well built up and lined with rocks - see photos.  But no sooner had we begun to wonder where the road went to, that it suddenly came to an end.  The area where it ended had towering walls of granite that were smooth and perfectly flat, and clearly appeared to be an old granite mining site.
And on a large rock was a pile of rusting metal parts, a few of the parts seemed to clearly have come off of some sort of truck or machine.  Check out the photos and see what you think.

So we poked around the entire area searching for more signs of anything that might be there and found nothing.  So we decided to make our way up the mountain side oven an open area and soon came to the woods, and there amid piles of what appeared to be cut granite, one large piece proved this area was once a granite mining area.  It had the tell tale grooves evenly spaced along one side.
 Here the drainage ditch veers right away from the official trail, this is where the abandoned road begins.

So to find the general area of tall walls of granite and rusting metal parts, hike along the Stratheden Trail and pay attention to the drainage ditch on the right hand side of the trail not far into the hike.  At one point a long section of the ditch makes a sudden right hand turn and actually begins to go up the abandoned road.  And you don't have to go up the old road very far before you see how one side of the road is lined with large rocks.
 Here you can see how rocks line one side of the old road.

The hardest part of finding this location is in first finding the Stratheden Trail, which is very easy to miss.  Begin by driving or biking along the one way section of the Park Loop Road.  You will soon pass the pull over for the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.  The road than goes down hill, and crosses a large stone bridge - the start of the Gorge Trail is below the bridge.

Continue down the road until you come to a long cruve, half way through the long curve is the Kebo Mountain Trail Head.  As soon as you exit the long curve, slow and look for a very tiny pull over on the left and side of the road, that is where the Stratheden Trail begins.  The pull over is large enough for one, maybe two cars at the most.
The GPS numbers for the start of the Granite mining road, which is mentioned in  Path Finders, is Latitude 44 22' 7" N and Longitude 68 12' 53" W.


At June 7, 2017 at 11:40 AM , Blogger Wiley said...

Very cool. We rebuilt Stratheden last year as AMC volunteers, but we didn't see this path. Good to see the path again

At June 7, 2017 at 11:46 AM , Blogger Wiley said...

Actually, to clarify.... that first picture above IS in fact the Stratheden Path/Trail. We rebuilt it last year to the form you see. We hand-carried hundreds of canvas sacks of dirt up from a hand-dug dirt pit to create the "road" you're pointing out, and the "tire-track" on the right-hand side are in fact the drainage channel we dug out to keep the trail from becoming swampy. The rocks were placed on the opposite side of the trail to keep people from walking off the edge where the side of the trail slopes down sharply. As for the cut pieces of granite, AMC was mining granite blocks there for the new stone steps that were put in along the way, but that spot was actually an older quarry as well. It's just been re-used for trail maintenance purposes as well.

At June 7, 2017 at 11:47 AM , Blogger Wiley said...

BTW, many of those rocks in that picture were placed there by my own hands. They're all QUITE heavy. ;)

At June 7, 2017 at 2:32 PM , Blogger J.R. Libby said...

The first and second photos are of the Stratheden Trail By the way, you all did a very nice job rebuilding that trail, the drainage ditch along much of the trail should help keep the trail in good shape for many long years. We had hoped to locate an old abandoned trail that was once near that old road, but had no luck.


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