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What Benchmarks?


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OK - It's the NYer coming out in me


Way back when, when I was in my teens, I camped up in a town called South Arm Maine - (Nice place to camp BTW)


For giggles, today I decided to see what benchmarks were up in that area - enter the town - nada - go to the interactive map - it doesn't even show the 11 mile long lake!!. I finally found the nearest marks - when you have to go 15-20 miles to find the nearest mark, and it was monumanted in 1925, and never reported since....


Look up the following marks for fun





The lake (and there was a railroad in there too at one time) is between those 2 sets

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Andover is my old home town and South Arm was my backyard swimming hole. (Ever stop off at Devils Den?)


I still own a camp up there and PF1177, SCRUB, and I have a date for this summer. You can get there now by taking the Appalachian Trail up Old Blue, about a 6 hour round trip hike.


The Aziscoos discs will also take you past the remains of a crashed B-52 bomber that flew into the mountain side.


EDIT NOTE: Another fun one up there is: PF1173. Read the description !

Edited by Spoo
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Not entirely sure I'm in the right area - I'm working backwards from a campground's web page that Google brought up - see if any of this seems right... (Edit: just noticed Spoo's reply - looks like I'm in the ballpark.)


Here's where the TopoZone map claims South Arm, ME is. Does Lower Richardson Lake (or Pond) sound familiar?


Here's a GC.com interactive map centered near South Arm. I actually do see a sizeable lake on the map. Oh, but I just noticed that the lakes all disappear from the interactive map if I zoom out a few levels. Huh! :D


And finally, here's a benchmark search centered near South Arm. Looks like some neat stuff is (or maybe "was") in that region - drill holes, chiseled squares, even a nail in the root of a tree! I'm just starting with benchmarking, but I've already discovered that I get an extra bit of fun from duck-walking across a rock outcrop looking for 70+ year old holes. (Yeah, momma always said I was dropped on my head too many times as a child. :))


Some of the benchmarks to the NE (ex: PF0248) mention that they were set near the bed of an old railroad - does the Main Central Railroad sound familiar?

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Not entirely sure I'm in the right area - I'm working backwards from a campground's web page that Google brought up -...snip...


And as for the old RR - I was thinking about the old Narrow Guage Sandy River and Rangley Lakes RR


As for the B-52 - interesting. I was up there just after laborday, and a pair of A-10s did a practice run down the lake - Impressive considering I was on a bluff about 30 ft high or so, and they were level with me, and waved!

Yep, you've got the right spot


I was talking about the map on the USGS site - sorry - No lakes there at all


Edited to fix quote tags

Edited by kc2ixe
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Some of the benchmarks to the NE (ex: PF0248) mention that they were set near the bed of an old railroad - does the Main Central Railroad sound familiar?

All depends on our definition of "In the area" - remember, I live in NYC - 7 MILES to the second nearest benchmark? Do you know how many benchmarks I'd hit before I did a 7 mile circle from my house?

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That's 1,342 marks within 7 miles of my house.

BDT and I both live in Northern Virginia, but I'm closer to DC, so a 7-mile radius gives me 1,717 marks (using NGS radial search).


If it's any consolation to envious rural benchmarks, a vast number of those have either [a] been lost to development, or are in inaccessible locations, such as the White House, Capitol, sundry military installations, etc.

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Yep, you are in the right place. It's easy to tell 'cause you are in the middle of no where. When I grew up in that area, a benchmark is what someone had left in the paint.


BTD and Artman:

I am envious! I thought I had found Gold mines around here when I found 20 marks in a 5 mile radius and the 20 marks along a 35 mile stretch of road!


Rural hunting is fun and rewarding. Old descriptions.........many hours of hiking for one (or none) disks. I wouldn't give up this neck of the woods (Western ME, Eastern NH) for all the Benchmarks in the world.

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Oh, man. There are only 57 within a 7 mile radius of me. I've visited 22 of them (6 of which had been destroyed by development), another 20 of them are inaccessible because they are on active railroad rights of way, airports, or military reservations. Of the remaining 15, 6 of them are not loggable in GC because they were set in 2002, and one is buried 2 feet deep near a traffic signal control box where I'm not about to go digging for it near the underground cables.


That leaves 8 possible remaining marks in my 7 mile radius, and I know that 4 of them are in unsafe locations in the top of abandonded railroad viaducts -- I may look, but I won't risk life or limb to find them. One of the remaining 4 has been noted as probably destroyed by another Geocacher.


That leaves exactly 3 stations remaining in my 7 mile radius that are likely still there waiting for me to recover.

Edited by holograph
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I had noticed that you recently found KV7115, and it made me wonder. The description for KV5785 describes the presence of US Army "No Trespassing" signs, and I haven't been quite adventurous enough yet to test the Army's enforcement of their boundary. Given that one of Picatinny's jobs is to test explosives, I also figured it wasn't wise to be wandering around in the reservation, aside from the fact that nowadays an unauthorized individual wandering around the arsenal with a camera and clipboard is likely to find himself winning a vacation at Guantanamo bay.


Someone mentioned the history of benchmarks. Have you looked at the series along the Lackawanna Cutoff, and have you looked at its history? It really is an impressive work of engineering, but it makes reaching some of the marks along it quite unsafe -- Artman made mention of the fact when he visited KV1217 (I have my doubts about nwk1106's log entry), and I found the same conditions at KV1218. A couple others are recoverable, but it's a royal pain to get onto the right of way -- when I went looking for KV1216, the nearest access to the ROW was 2 miles away at Greendell, and I didn't find it, so I may have to try again another day. It took a couple of tries to find KV1214 because the scaled coordinates were badly off.

Edited by holograph
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Aw, Holograph! Now, you're tempting me! Yes, I know of the Lackawanna Cutoff. Run a railroad from Point A to Point B in a straight line, and to heck with the topograpy. I thought it a crime when the right-of-way was sold to someone only interested in removing the fill. And I'm glad that the state bought it back again.

KV7115 was an easy find along a public road in Picatinny. Not all of Picatinny is fenced off. I'm sure I've wandered into it from Mount Hope Historic Park. KV5765, I may try to approach sometime, and see what warning signs are nearby. The maps all show it being outside Picatinny. And it is the top of Green Pond Mountain. I just haven't found the opportunity or nerve yet. :huh:

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If you want to venture onto the Lackawanna Cutoff, the attached map may be helpful. The dotted GPS tracks show the abandoned railroad beds in the area. The Cutoff is the one running more or less east-west through Andover and then south to Stanhope. The Cutoff runs further west all the way to the Delaware river near the Water Gap, but I haven't visited any portion of it out there. PIDs KV1213, KV1211, KV1573, KV1572, and KB1570 are along that portion.


Click the map below to get the full size map (118 kb).




The yellow arrows show the access points that I have found -- there may be more, but I haven't found them yet -- if you can climb 100 foot, 60 degree slopes, then you may have more options than I do.


My color code is:

red pin - found

blue pin - not found

green pin = not found yet (I haven't given up).

black dot - net yet searched-for..


FYI, the other two abandoned railroads are the Sussex Branch trail going north-south through Andover and Stanhope, and the Lehigh and Hudson River going NE-SW near Andover.


edit: P.S. the map is about 10 miles each side.

Edited by holograph
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Harry, I managed to find KV1267 today. The "5 rails north of a crossing" is the hint, and the railroad now is the Sussex Branch trail. In this case, it was about 120 feet north of Waterloo Road.


I always get a kick out of the fact that when these stations were surveyed, the railroad and railroad stations were the natural points of reference. Nowadays, it's highway intersections and parking lots. I often wonder what the natural points of reference will be 70 years from now?

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