We parked Tom's vehicle at Round Pond (where we saw Neil's car; he and Jean-Luc were climbing the Beckhorn Slide) and left my car parked north of the stone bridge spanning the North Fork Boquet river.
It was my fourth traverse and on the previous three trips I had started on the southern side of the river. The trail follows the river and then, within a mile, crosses over to the northern side. To avoid this river-crossing, we started on the northern side of the river. If you go this way, within 200 yards you reach a clearing overlooking the river. To continue westward, follow the faint path leading up the hill. We headed down to the river and within short-order the path petered out. Guessing the path was high above us, we headed up along a very steep incline, covered in loose rocks and sand, and intersected it. The remainder of the path was easy to follow but less worn than the south-side path.
|Tom at Shoebox Falls.|
At the next major water-crossing we met two backpackers and their dog. They were exiting after having spent a dew days exploring the area. Shortly before the large camp-site, we met three DEC Rangers who were heading to East Dix and Spotted. Two of the rangers were new to the Boquet river valley and the third was giving them a tour. Each ranger was responsible for a different region in the High Peaks area and we spent a good while there talking to them. I took the opportunity to receive confirmation that the camp-site at Lake Marie-Louise is a legal site. We bid them good bye and continued on our way but would meet them again at least two more times.
Upon reaching the Great Slide, we discovered its surface was very wet. We walked out onto the wet rock and concluded the slippery conditions weren't ideal for an easy and fun ascent. We turned back into the woods and followed the herd-path to the col. The summit of East Dix (Grace) offered excellent views of the Dix Wilderness and its many interesting peaks.
|Tom admiring the view from East Dix (Grace).|
|Elk Lake and spring-green.|
|New marker on Hough.|
We paused on the Beckhorn to look back at the peaks we had climbed; East Dix seemed far away. We sauntered over to Dix's summit and sat down for a break. The summit was deserted and we spent about forty minutes enjoying the fine weather and excellent views. The descent was rough and made me pine for winter when one can effortlessly glissade down this steep stretch of trail.
|Time for a break on Dix.|
From the lean-to to the parking lot I talked Tom's ears off about the situation in Ukraine. Along the way we paused to talk with a young couple heading in to camp at the lean-to. We explained it was full but if they walked about two hundred yards south of the lean-to they would find camp-sites. We bid them goodbye and the monologue returned to the subject of all things Ukrainian.
Round Pond came and went and then we were back at Tom's truck. A quick trip back to my car was followed by refreshments and a discussion of what was left on our respective itineraries to complete a Spring round. We made tentative plans to reconvene in three days, to tackle the Seward Range and Seymour, and then bid one another goodbye. Another enjoyable Dix Range Traverse had come to a close and it was time to clean up and make tracks for home.
See all photos.