When we got the news that the SPNHF Land Steward Manager Carrie and Forester Wendy would be coming to check out our trail and other work we were so excited! We had worked very hard on Beauty Ledge trail and had already seen substantial traffic and many compliments. Now we would see if it would stand up to the experts! The date was set for Friday 3/23/12. We picked at the trail all week in the small window of time between when Scott got home at 3pm and having to eat a quick dinner at 5:30/6pm and then both of us heading back out to work. We got blue paint blazes up and pink tape down on Tuesday prior to a group hike that was headed there for Wednesday headed by our MMR regulars Jill & Marty. We then worked on getting some spots cleaned up and built a culvert for a spring we found next to the trail.
Friday arrived and we met Carrie and her dog at the parking lot for 9am. Wendy was running late and said she would meet us on Phoebes Nable Mt. So we headed up the logging roads that will be the new Phoebes Nable Mt. trail, Carrie mapping the trail on her GPS to update the map. The day was already turning out to be beautiful! Cool temperatures, warm sun and a slight breeze! We arrived at the summit and had a snack. We also searched for a geo-cache that was hidden near the summit. I found it and we checked out it's contents before returning it. Soon Wendy arrived, also with her dog and unusually worn out as she was fresh off recovery from a torn ACL. We chatted about the view cut that needs to be done here and let Wendy catch her breath.
We all now headed down the Phoebes Nable Mt. trail towards the Burrows Farm. At the field we noted a flooded area needing some work and checked out a gate. We also viewed some of the apple trees that we will be pruning soon after our class on April 7. Wendy, ever so observant spotted some new apple tree sprouts coming from a dead tree which was exciting! She also spotted pussy willow near the home site boulder. Carrie explained some of the pruning techniques we would be learning.
We then headed down Burrows Farm trail for the parking lot. Wendy and Carrie cleaned out culverts on our way down. Also Wendy spotted a neat stone slab foot bridge in the woods that we all were pretty impressed over. Must have been laid there by farmers back in the day? At the North trail junction we ran into Jill and Marty. Always nice to see them enjoying the Reservation and always so friendly. We introduced them to Carrie and Wendy and we chatted a bit. They headed for the Moose Pond trail and we headed back to the parking lot. We had a snack and talked about other things needing to be done here this summer. We now drove up to the Beauty Ledge trail.
We began up the trail and soon Wendy and Carrie were giving pointers. We arrived at Snapping Turtle Rock and Wendy had us climb it for pictures. We continued on passing in front of the ledge and switch-backing through the pine grove past the small spring we had worked on that Carrie dubbed "the dog bowl". So far everything was going well and we were getting plenty of positive and helpful feed-back on the trail!
We arrived at the ledge climb. I asked if they liked my stone stairs. They said they looked good as Wendy joked with me by rocking on a loose rock, LOL! After the ledge climb we arrived at a beautiful rock slab covered in lichen. We explained that the trail originally climbed this, but once the snow melted completely we noticed the delicate beauty of this spot and thus reverted the trail around it. They were impressed by this!
We soon arrived at the knob and circled around and down to the ledge. Both were impressed with the view and we spent a good 20 minutes here relaxing and chatting in the sun. They both admitted they were nervous as to what the trail would look like and said it was well thought out and well built! Yay, we completed our first trail and our hard work paid off! Before leaving this area we brought them to another knob and ledge we found and would like to make a trail to and then headed down Beauty Knob trail.
Beauty Knob trail was a booby-trapped trail of ankle twisting pungy sticks! We had marked it out when the ground was visible, but cut it after the 10" leap day snow fell. So we had cut stumps sticking up everywhere! Otherwise they were happy with the trail route and approved it to be cleaned and blazed! We completed the loop heading down North trail and picked up trash along the way. Back at the trucks Wendy gave us a couple tools that would help with our trail building. Back at the parking lot Wendy cut up some brush that was sticking out into the lot entrance a little and we talked about the Phoebes Nable trail head. We agreed to scrap the muddy skid road and use a more grown in road further down.
This concluded the day. We got to discuss our plans, their plans and got to spend some quality time with two great people! The weather was fabulous, ticks were few in number and we all enjoyed our day! We had so much energy and enthusiasm that instead of taking a much needed break from our work up here, we headed back for more on Saturday! We began at the flooded area where Burrows Farm trail leaves the field and enters the woods. Scott dug a trench out and we both worked on digging and moving rocks to get the water to drain. We built up a rock retaining wall and placed stepping stones. The wall also acted as an obstruction to discourage ATV's from entering the woods road. We erected and old sign post and posted orange signs. By the time we were done 2/3 of the water had drained :) We also installed a couple new signs.
Then we headed up to Beauty Knob trail. We ate our bagged lunch then began our work at the trail head. We started out by putting up the trail sign and then began the cutting, raking and stump/rock removal. We got a third of the trail done before getting tired out and having to call it a day. A couple more days and this trail will be completed and we can then move on to Phoebes Nable Mt. trail! Oh, the excitement and joy! It's just now starting to really sink in that we actually built a hiking trail! It's such an awesome accomplishment for us! Plenty more to come!