Highlights from 2017

While compiling the numbers for the 2017 summary worklog, I thought I’d offer some of our accomplishments from the season.

Two of our most active members were unavailable for most of this season, but we did accomplish all the jobs of routine trail tending.   We patrolled all 16 miles of trail we tend,  chopping about 50 blowdowns and cleaning all 170 waterbars Spring and Fall. Our trails suffered minimal erosion in the Halloween deluge.   We trimmed brush as needed and painted blazes on schedule.   We replaced about 8 old log fixtures on wide trails with new logs.  We scouted routes for new trails and attended many meetings.  We worked 760 hours: compare with 955 hours in 2016.

We worked 50 hours on a new 34′ bridge on Slade Brook for the Hanover Trails Committee.   We provided the design, materials list, building sequence, joinery for the 34′ hemlock stringers, setting one of the 8x8x8′ sills, and instruction for every stage of the building process.   We instructed them again for a 19′ bridge on Mason Trail on Trescott lands.

Our other bridge job was on Cole Pond Trail, where we assembled 7 8′ PT bog bridges across an unavoidable flat 3/4 mile uphill from the road.   Nearby we built a 20′ pavement along the base of a ledge revetted by a fir log.   We also added several more rock steps and pavers and blazed the trail for the first time.

We rebuilt a 4-rock waterbar on Winslow Trail that had been failing for years, and hardened the slope downhill of it with a new rock step.  We also added several new rock steps and a rock waterbar to West Ridge Trail, and cut a short but much dryer relocation on South Ridge Trail.

This is not a full list, just the most interesting facts that come to mind.  Thanks to the devoted volunteers who donated their time to the trails: here’s to them!

– Craig Sanborn, CHVTC   crgsnbrn@yahoo.com







2016 Summary worklog: we like to play in the dirt.

Once again, we were blessed with new volunteers who showed enthusiasm and creativity; with their help we worked more hours than ever before and had lots of fun on the trail.  Some photos follow the worklog.



Cole Pond Trail in Enfield NH

We have adopted Cole Pond Trail on the Henry Laramie Wildlife Management Area from the Department of Fish and Game.  Our job is to rehabilitate this neglected and eroded trail, so there is work for everyone, beginners and experienced alike.

We are to add waterbars, rock steps, pavers across mudholes, and a small bridge. We also are to brush and blaze the trail after Fish and Game approves the blazing (they do not usually blaze trails since their user group is hunters and fishermen, not hikers).

In order to have more volunteers tending their local trails, we will have most of the workdays on this trail on Saturdays when most people are free to attend. We hope to work here two Saturdays a month through October. We try to accommodate the schedules of the volunteers, so we also work some weekdays by appointment.

To volunteer, or just get your questions answered, please email crgsnbrn@yahoo.com. Thank you for your interest.

Rim Trail report from 8/31

The brook bed relocation on Rim Trail, Mt Sunapee, is done except for two more steps and some scree beside the newest flight of steps.  Since June 10 in 200 hours of work over 8 days, we have set 43 rock steps and 10 pavers.  A very high percentage of this new trail is protected against erosion, because we believe erosion is better prevented than fixed when we have the crew to do so.

Fortunately, the crew was willing and the results are impressive.  Of course. we are a small crew of local volunteers who work with the rocks they can quarry and the trees they can fell. It is always a pleasure to see people apply a few basic techniques to create stable and beautiful structures that blend in with the landscape. Seven of us worked here for one or more days, and everyone did valuable and necessary work.

This is not our first building job, but it is the first time we made intensive use of our rope puller, which is like a come-along save that it has a spool slotted to match the twists in 120′ of 1/2″ nylon rope rated at a safe working load (SWL) of 1000 lbs.  We used 5′ loops of nylon webbing and 3 1/4-ton SWL shackles to anchor the rope puller at the base of a tree, anchor a pulley 6′ up in a tree, anchor a bigger pulley to the rocks we wanted to move, then anchor the hook end of the rope to the base of another tree.  We ran the rope through the pulleys so we had a 2:1 mechanical advantage to move rocks up to 400 lbs. up a ramp of two 35′ striped maple trees (they will be re-used as waterbars).  With a cable around the trees we adjusted their width to the size of the rocks. When the set-up was ready and tested we moved about a dozen rocks uphill to the new trail in four hours. Without the crew’s skill and this set-up we could not have finished this job, for we ran out of good step rocks close to the trail.

The volunteers in the Cardigan Highlanders deserve much praise for their work ethic and skills in most all aspects of trail work. This is just the latest example.  Here’s to them!

Rim Trail rockwork 8/31 9 AM

Good afternoon, trail crew,
    With a forecast for cooler dry air, we’ll return to the Rim Trail this Wednesday 8/31.  We’ll meet at the ski area at Mt. Sunapee at 9 AM.  There we’ll set rocks in a staircase to protect the trail from erosion by keeping hikers on a hardened path.  The usual gear list applies: leather boots, long pants, BYO work gloves, lunch, 2 qt. water.  Please email crgsnbrn@yahoo.com so leader can inform you of any changes.
     The rocks are staged near the site, so all we have to do is set them.  We hope to finish the rockwork on this relocation on this workday, and perhaps have a grand opening with ribbon-cutting and photos later this Fall.
    When this job is done, we’ll move on to Cole Pond Trail in Enfield, which needs more waterbars, steps, pavers, brushing, and two bridges (of small pieces assembled onsite).  There we plan some work on Saturdays to make the trip more worthwhile for those with a longer drive, as well as to recruit new volunteers locally.  If interested, please email crgsnbrn@yahoo.com about this trail.
    Thank you for your support.  With two months left, this is already a very good season for this crew.
Yours,  Craig

Next work day likely within 8/16-19

These needed and welcome rainy days are forecast to end by next Tuesday August 16. Expect an announcement of a day or two next week.

Tomorrow we host a teen crew from UVTA at Cole Pond Trail.  When the Wetlands Board approves Fish & Game’s minimal impact notification, we will go there to build rock steps, turnpike, and waterbars.  Until then, we carry on with Winslow Trail and with Rim Trail, where we hope to finish the brook relo in two more days.

Please email L  with any questions: crgsnbrn@yahoo.com. Thank you for your interest, and we hope to see you on the trail.

7/27 & later

We have found that starting at 8 AM and quitting around 2 PM works quite well for those able to attend, so we will continue those hours.  Latecomers are welcome to join us at the worksite.

On Wednesday July 27 three of us rigged our rope puller for two straight pulls to stage 10 quarried rocks below a slope that is just under the trail relocation we are building on Mt. Sunapee. On Saturday July 30 four of us pulled them and a few more up that slope on rails to stage them right by where we plan to set them as steps climbing up the slope. Another 2 days there and we hope to finish this job.

On Sunday 7/31 six of us met to prepare to organize as a NH non-profit.  We adopted a mission statement, bylaws, and considered the language in a draft MOA from the State.  When the State buys a liability policy for its volunteer groups we are ready to incorporate, negotiate the MOA, and be covered by that policy. Meantime we carry on as ever under the RSAs.

Back on the trail, we welcomed the High School Trail Corps from the Upper Valley Trails Alliance on West Ridge Trail last Wednesday.  They followed our worklist and added pin rocks to 20 old wooden steps and waterbars. Next Spring we plan to harvest fresh trees to replace several old ones that will become barricade at trailside.

We returned to Winslow Trail on Thursday 8/4.  There we were lucky enough to find a large rock 3′ from where we used it as a stepstone to complete a cross-drain. We added another next to it, then moved uphill over rock steps built by the SCA summer crew leaders school in 2015 and Trailwrights in 2014. Where the trail funnels between two boulders we saw the need of a few rock steps, but we spent the rest of the morning finding a few that were acceptable. Where the good rock is depends on geology and what direction the last glacier flowed.

After lunch, two of us focused on setting rock for steps, and the third dug a rock-backed drainage dip just uphill from the steps to protect them from floods. We added a rock step to restore a waterbar just uphill and then decided to quit while we were ahead.  The cold drinks at the store never tasted better.

Watch this page for a workday next week.  Thank you for your interest.

7/27 rock rolling on Rim Trail

   Last Thu 7/21 two of us found enough usable rock at and near a gully on Winslow Trail that we were able to set 6 new rock steps on the right side of the gully.  We then picked and shoveled mineral soil from the left side under a ledge that sheds a lot of water (when we have any), re-establishing a ditch to catch that water and carry it down to where it crosses the trail at a stone waterbar.  We set two slabs beside the steps at narrow points to ensure the water doesn’t undermine them.  We used the soil from the ditch to backfill around the new steps and under some old ones just above that have been undermined since being set 29 years ago.  Next worksites on Winslow Trail are a wee ways uphill, adding steps and revetting under the trail tread.
   On Sat 7/23 three of us quarried 10 rocks from slopes both above and below the brook bed relocation we are building on Rim Trail.  Thus on our weekday  this week I plan to bring our rope puller and webbing so we can move those rocks along a terrace and more particularly up a slope to the trail route.  For this we will need at least three and preferably four people, to carry the tools and to rig and operate the system.  I would like to see four of our 4′ 10-lb. bars used as rails as we wrap the rock with a choker hitch, attach a snatch block to it for a 2 to one mechanical advantage, hang a second snatch block to a tree to make it easier to pull uphill, and anchor the rope puller to the base of a tree to ensure it stays there.  Most pulls will be straight line although our gear is light enough in weight that it is relatively easy to move and set up in a different place to change the direction of pull.  Now, who can tell us how to avoid getting bitten?
    Those of you who have the AT Fieldbook please review pp. 94-96.  We will have a formal safety briefing before we start to set up our rigging. Hard hats will be issued, and worn while operating the setup.
    If all we do is get the rocks safely staged handy to the trail route, that will be a good productive day (I personally have no desire to lug all that hardware up there again).  If there is time, we can set some rocks too.
   As always, please wear long pants and leather boots, BYO work gloves, lunch, and 2 qt. water.  If you have no work gloves I will issue you a pair, which you can turn in for a new pair when worn out.  However, everyone’s hands are different and people are usually most comfortable with gear that fits them.
     Meeting place is parking lot of Mt. Sunapee ski area by Sunapee Lodge.
     Now for the earlier start.  Forecast is for 60 degrees at sunrise and 85 degrees by 1 PM.  Under the forest canopy it is 10 degrees cooler and the day heats much slower.  We can prolong that relative comfort if we start an hour earlier than our usual 9 AM, so I am asking those who can attend to please reply on the question of starting at 8 AM and finishing by 2 PM.  I will follow the will of the majority.
    This is a bit different from our usual set of tasks, but I hope you find it interesting.  Please email crgsnbrn@yahoo.com with any questions.
Yours,  Craig

Thu 7/21 and Sat 7/23, & a surprise.

Last Tuesday July 12 we added 2 rock steps and a drainage dip, then hiked up to the next worksite. There we re-dug a side ditch and re-set a three-rock toast waterbar using soil from the ditch. Next we’ll set some rock steps beside the ditch.  There is plenty of other types of work if we are so lucky as to have more crew than can fit on that narrow site.

This week’s choice of volunteer trailwork days with CHVTC runs as below. Please email crgsnbrn@yahoo.com if interested. Please forward to your email lists.  Thank you.
 – Winslow Trail at Winslow State Park 0900h Thu 7/21. Hike about 0.4 miles uphill to continue rebuilding a rock staircase in a gully, and other work as we have people and interest.
 – Mt. Sunapee at the ski area parking near Sunapee Lodge 0900h Sat 7/23.  If we are few, we will go up Rim Trail to quarry rock for the brook bed relocation we are building.  If we are many, we spot cars at Andrew Brook trailhead, then ride the Summit chairlift at 1000h.  Thence we hike to the White Ledges for a break, thence down Andrew Brook Trail brushing and adding waterbars and steps until quitting time.  Then we hike down to our waiting cars and stop for cold drinks on our way back to the ski area.
On both of these days, please BYO lunch, 2 qt. water, work gloves. Wear long pants and leather boots. Steady rain cancels, and I will notify signups of changes.
    The surprise is that I have just adopted a neglected one-mile trail in Enfield to rehabilitate. We’ll restore old drains, add new ones, add pavers and bog bridges, and generally bring it to normal specs.  I still have to write the worklist and flag it before we have workdays there; please reply if you want to help.
    We are halfway through the usual season with about 340 hours of work accomplished.  Hurray for you, trail crew!

Tue July 12 & Sat July 16.

Greetings from the heart of SUMMER!

Last Thursday June 30 four of us added six large rock steps to climb slopes on the Rim Trail brook relocation. There is plenty of small jagged rock thereabouts and we used it to scree in beside the steps.  Rock of the right size and shape for steps is running low thereabouts, so next time we go there we will need a large crew to quarry and move rock.

    We have taken the last 10 days off from trailwork due to appointments, travel, and summer weather.  Now that the earth has had a good drink, we’ll meet at Winslow State Park on Mt. Kearsarge at 9 AM Tue July 12.  There we will carry on up Winslow Trail, rebuilding old fixtures until quitting time around 3 PM. Usual gear: Wear long pants, leather boots.  BYO lunch, 2 qt. water, work gloves.  Tools supplied or BYO.
   On our other day of trailwork this week we will join SPNHF at Mt. Monadnock at 9 AM Sat July 16 (arrive early for coffee and doughnuts).  We will build steps or waterbars or bridges as they may direct us.  Same quit time and gear as Tuesday.
    I really hope you can turn out for these days, especially Saturday.  It is fun to go to places we seldom see. Please reply so I can bring enough of our tools. As always, please write me at crgsnbrn@yahoo.com with your concerns and questions, I want you to work safe and have a fun time.
Yours,  Craig