My fellow Moose TrAC-ians,
Four score and seven days ago, we stood, as team Moose TrACS, at a place not so different from where we are now. At a side parking lot off of Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, we ignited our season at the one and only, the Direttissima. A simple trail linking one sad section of Route 16 with another sad section of Glen Boulder Trail. The team—fresh off the drive from Campton—was ready for action. We had the energetic Eben on wheel, ready to run over his first rock with the utmost precision, ready to take on that demanding, callous inducing job. The devilish David, green monster pencil in hand, prepared to take on the frazzlement yet pure adrenaline rush of survey. And the amazing, awe inspiring Alice, blue steel at her fingertips, ready for serious scouting of the forest and scenery. And so the three of us set out through the woods that fine day, a sense of adventure at hand. Almost, shall we say, a three person wolf pack. So we were three wolves, running down the trail, replacing steps where no steps existed before, constructing new natural fords which glaciers had not even deemed existed when they carved out this beautiful East Pond 10,000 years ago, and blazing by TC2 trails like no tomorrow. We howled under the night skies of Turner, Maine, Camp Dodge, Zealand Campground, and Campton Campground, and foraged through the caves of Hannaford’s, Walmart, Save-A-Lot, and (in David’s case), the blackberries outside the Campton bathroom for additional sustenance. Throughout this whole time, the wolf pack has survived terrible storms, river crossings, bluebird sky days in the Pemi, and Jim—us wolves have undergone the trials and tribulations of Sandwich Notch Road, bear corridor, Wam-Bam-Sutta, Shitake Shelburne, No-Pee-Land Trail, and Eben’s Volvo.
And now, after all that, here we are!
The wolves have run for just under 200 miles and this is it. We now stand before not only the last TrACing day, not only the last trailhead, but the last twenty feet of trail. Twenty feet from a not so different from the Direttissima parking lot, on a day of glorious sunshine not so different from the weather in Pinkham Notch four score and seven days ago. But my fellow Moose TrACS friends, as the great Winston Churchill once said, this is not the end. It is not the end of TrACS, it is not the end of our work in the great outdoors, it is not the end of our future lives in the field of conservation. It is only the end of the beginning.