Monday, July 4, 2011

Moose Mountains Reservation Trail Blazing 7/4&5/11

"Moose Mountains First Trail Blaze!" (pictures)

After a long and exhausting but beautiful day on Webster and Jackson Saturday, then work on Sunday we canned the Mt. Major firework hike for Sunday night. It was wet and drizzly anyway. We decided to save our energy for trail blazing on Monday. We took our time in the morning getting things done and what-not then packed up a lunch and some snacks and headed down the road to Middleton. We parked and got all our supplies and equipment together and started out at 12:15pm.

The first blaze went up a moment later. It was very exciting for us. We always thought about how cool It would be to buy land with a pond and mountain and build hiking trails on it. When we signed up for the SPNHF Land Steward class we never thought we'd get that opportunity. We don't own the land but it's basically a clean slate as far as trail blazing and building! And so many scenic, historic and interesting features too! It's a perfect fit for us!

We battled the horsefly's and mosquito's up New Portsmouth road (Burrows Farm trail), Scott cutting the brush and small trees and I did the blazing. We made a great team! This and most of the trails on this property are woods roads so blazing could be kept to the minimum. Basically we looked for the most prominent trees and stuck to blazing on the corners of the roads and at junctions. As easy as this sounds or even looks on a tree, it actual was pretty tough work in the heat. I think it was around 90 degrees! But at least it wasn't humid.

When we finally got to the Burrows Cemetery we were hot and tired and my hands were covered with paint. We sat here and ate our tasty lunch. It was so quite and peaceful. No signs of truck or ATV use. It was such a nice moment together, just the two of us! I removed the moose sign I had on the tree and replaced it with a new "blue" moose that shows up better. Then we continued on.

Here the actual trail crosses the top of the field. This is an unused spot as most hikers continue straight and take a left farther up. This is actually private property. I'm glad I saw that on the map before we blazed because that is the way I had been going! So we wanted to be sure to blaze this area well! A big pine tree lay in the perfect spot for both directions and so I blazed this tree well! Then we headed across the field and cut and double blazed at the rock pile in the middle. Then at the edge of the woods we cut and double blazed here as well.

This was our stopping point. We'd had enough for one day and were getting tired. Not to mention we had to blaze back in the other direction! So we headed back. Good thing too because as we passed the cemetery we began hearing loud rumbles of thunder and saw black clouds to the North! We decided to chance it and continued to blaze but at a quicker pace! We passed a parked truck on the upper landing at the North Road junction and arrived at our truck with no rainfall, phew! As we packed up the truck we had seen passed by and an older couple waved as they passed. We finished at 3:00pm and were surprised at just how long we were blazing! "3 hours, really?" "That takes longer than you think!" But now that it's done it just has to be easily up-kept! We will keep-at-it with the blazing of trails and mid-July we will be getting some signs made and put up and MMR will be hiker friendly for all to enjoy :)

"Part Two"

I finished up the trail blazing from the field up to the summit of Phoebes Nable Mt. All went smoothly. It was very hot out, and a small tree I cut down went straight for my paint can and landed on it, spilling most of the contents! Other than THAT, it went smoothly, LOL! I replaced the moose marker at the summit with the new blue one. Then blazed back the opposite direction. One trail done, many more to go! As I headed out the whispy clouds that hung over Phoebes Nable looked pretty cool, I snapped some pics and continued on down the road. Half way back to my truck a large pheasant in the road took flight giving me sudden scare. Pesky birds, always scaring the crap out of an unsuspecting hiker!

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