By Bob Humphrey
On Sunday October 24th three Cardigan Highlanders, Craig, Scott, and Bob, attended a workday at Rollins Sate Park performing maintenance and construction on the Rollins Trail. The work for the day was to turn a jumbled mess of large rock into a more inviting staircase to help the hiker attain a large ledge outcrop that becomes the first nice view from the Rollins Trail.
Scott and Bob worked together setting four rock steps with rock of 300 – 500 lbs. In conjunction with existing large rock the built staircase attained fifteen feet of rise.
Craig worked on a smaller section of trail just above and set 3 pavers in place helping to further define the trail. Upon completion of that detail, he then worked his way down the trail cleaning side ditches and interceptor ditches.
Interceptor ditches are ditches dug about 3 or 4 feet above the trail and parallel to it with the purpose of catching water as it descends the steep hillside before it has a chance to wash over the trail. These ditches collect water and move it downhill to strategically placed cross drains and water bars.
These interceptor ditches have been neglected for many years and having recently adopted the Rollins Trail the Highlanders are refurbishing them. More work on the interceptor ditches remains as there are many but we’ve now made a start. Hopefully our work will help to prevent a lot of water from reaching the trail thus helping to dry it.
While Scott and Bob were busy above doing rock work Craig spent considerable time digging out debris and cutting out vegetation clogging and preventing function of the interceptor ditches. He also brushed out the areas around the ditches to make them easier to clean and maintain in the future.
After constructing the steps Scott and Bob placed and stabilized four other large rocks, which might get used as steps by hikers getting offline. However, their main function was to anchor a large scree wall. All told 8 large rocks were set and stabilized, four as steps and the others to anchor a 16 - 20 ft. scree wall they built.
It was a beautiful day for hiking which meant the trail was very busy on this Sunday. This allowed the Highlanders to observe hiker behavior and how they navigated this section of the trail.
It became clear that the spot needed a bit more definition so work on more scree commenced along with installing some old logs as barricade to further define the trail. They also trimmed some spruce branches near the top of the ledge that seemed to force hikers to chose a less than optimal route. Observation after the trimming proved the trimming to be a success as hikers seemed to pick a much better route that led directly to the set of steps just constructed. The Highlanders greatly improved this section of trail making the hike easier and safer.
This was a very productive, rewarding, and fun day on the mountain. We interacted with many hikers and had some fruitful discussions with some. We handed out a few of our business cards attempting to recruit those who seemed genuinely interested. Almost all of those hiking the trail this day were very grateful for our work.
We as Highlanders not only do good work and dedicate ourselves to the trails we tend, but we also like to have fun! The Highlanders are a fun crew to belong to and we extend a hearty welcome to anyone wishing to join us!
Happy Trails to all.