Friday, July 28, 2017

July Trail Work

I'm posting few trail work entries this month -- trail work is good for the soul, it's good for the hiker, it's good for everyone.  If you live anywhere near a trail, volunteer with the local crew from time to time.  You'll be glad you did.

July 22, 2017 -- Six hours with Trailwrights, crushing rock (to help build stone steps) and digging drainage ditches on the Pemigewasset Trail

Alex, Sage, and I were fortunate to work with Trailwrights again this month.  Our schedules don't usually coincide with their trailwork weekends, so we were happy we were able to join them.  We always learn so much from them!  If you would like to learn some great trail building/maintaining skills, donate a weekend to them sometime!  Their website is here.

The girls and I are the official adopters of the Alpine Garden Trail (we are now certified in Alpine Trail Maintenance).  Sage and I got in a few hours of brushing (trimming overgrown vegetation) last June, and Alex and I were able to put in a couple days work this month.

July 25, 2017 -- Six hours -- Scree walls, one cairn, and brushing

Since we are trail adopters, and since we were doing at least two days of trail work in a row, Alex and I decided to stay at Camp Dodge.  Lodging there is free if you are working on your trail.  I checked in with Becky the morning of the 25th and then, following Becky's directions, headed to the under-17 girls' bunk room with Alex.  Both of stayed in that room for the evening; the teen group that was working that week was out until Friday, so Alex and I had the place to ourselves (if I had not been with Alex then I would have been in the adult bunk room).

After we had settled in, I drove up the Auto Road to the "Cow Pasture," the parking area before the summit.  The views were less than stellar, which was fine with me since we needed to see how visible the cairns were on our trail in the fog.

Unfortunately, the fog lifted as we headed down to the Alpine Garden Trail.

We may put in scree walls here...will discuss with our regional supervisor and ask for his thoughts.

It took a while for us to walk the mile+ trail to the intersection with Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  Along the way, we righted fallen rocks on existing stone walls and brushed back krummholz that threatened to trip up hikers or poke them in the eyes.

Lunch break...

Our view during lunch...

On the way back, we noticed a cairn would be useful on a rock slide that crosses the trail.  In heavy fog, a hiker might veer too far up or down the slide and never see the cairn across the way.  We therefore built a cairn right by where the trail is supposed to go so, even in fog, a hiker should hopefully be able to find his/her way.

Alex tested the strength and sturdiness of the cairn when we were finished.  It held up well.

Before we returned to the car, we cleaned up a few areas we had missed earlier...

July 26, 2017 -- Seven hours -- minor scree wall reinforcements and rebuilding four cairns from the base up.

Today was all about rebuilding as many cairns as we could physically handle in one day.

We drove up and, right before we headed to our trail, our friend Samantha pulled in next to us.  She was training a member of the OBS Museum that morning and had stopped to say hello.  It was good to see her again.

Down we went to our's the first cairn, before we rebuilt it....

During the rebuilding process...

Selfie when we were finished...

Finished product!

Second cairn before we rebuilt it...

After we rebuilt it....!

Third cairn, "before" picture...

"After" photo...I didn't get a close-up of this one for some reason...

Fourth cairn, "before" photo...

And "after" photo! --

We were worn out by now...moving all those rocks is tiring.  We had also reinforced existing scree walls as we came across ones that needed touch-ups.  We called it a day after seven hours of work and headed home.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

GraniteGals is on iTunes, Sage on Jackson in June, and general summer notes

The GraniteGals podcast is now available for subscription on iTunes!  Once you're subscribed, each new episode will automatically download to your listening device every two weeks.

Also -- Sage and I hiked Jackson the same day Alex hiked it solo (she took a mile or two head start).  I just realized there is no record of Sage having hiked that peak that day, since Alex posted her trip report which, naturally, just had her in it.  Here are some photos of Sage's day on Jackson (June 22, 2017):

I can't wait until Sage is old enough to have her own Facebook page and blog!  Poor kid will finally have a regular chance to represent herself, instead of always being the plus 1 on my blog or Alex's blog.  :)

It's summertime and the girls are here, there, and yonder.  Both Alex and Sage have full lives that include, but are not limited to, a lot of hiking.  Alex is at CTY summer camp in Lancaster right now, and Sage has two local day camps soon.  Sage and I will hike a 4K tomorrow (she'll post the trip report on Alex's blog) or Monday, and Alex won't be around to hike a 4K again until late July.  Both girls are on track to complete the Grid before they leave for college, so thankfully there is no feeling like they "have" to smush in a million hikes in between camps and travel.  I never want them to feel like they "have" to hike -- if that were to ever happen then the fun would cease to exist.

Before the girls' academic courses begin for 2017-2018, we will thru-hike the Cohos Trail.  No highpointing for us this year since we need guides for the few mountains we have left and guides cost money....I need to save up for a couple years.  We will greatly enjoy our local mountains and trails in the meantime, though.  The Cohos Trail is a wonderful example of a gorgeous and challenging hike right in our own backyard -- we look forward to walking this wild network of trails all the way to Canada.  I'll post a day-by-day account of our adventures when we return in late August.

My DVT situation seems quite manageable.  I am back to hiking whatever I want with no pain or swelling.  I am grateful for my love of hiking and for modern medicine; my life expectancy is quite normal thanks to both.

Alex will resume posting on her blog when she resumes 4K hiking later this summer, and Sage is keeping everything going with GraniteGals while her sister is away.

Life is good.  The girls are growing and the time when they will both be leaving for college is drawing closer and closer.  I have four years left with Alex and six with Sage.  After that, I hope to embark on a brand new set of adventures -- this time, just with myself -- out there in the big and wonderful world of trails and peaks.