Hitch 6: Starring: Fat Bob & Trevor Knight

White Mountain TrACS

Hitch 6 Report

Pemigewasset District – Zealand Trail, Lend-A-Hand Trail, Hale Brook Trail & Chippewa Trail
7/30/2012 – 8/2/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 9.3
Total miles hiked: 24.2
Total service hours: 120 hrs
Prepared by Eben Spalding

Monday, July 30, 2012:

The hitch began with some dark humor from Alice Webber, when she drove into Campton campground saying she forgot the keys for the truck in Maine…very funny, Alice. Soon after, we packed our base camp in the truck and shipped north to Zealand Campground. Upon pulling into the campground we were greeted by Dot, a retired school principal and world’s greatest campground host. She guided us to a pleasant campsite on the edge of a beautiful river. We quickly set up our new base camp and headed out on the trail with only half the day remaining to TrAC. The target was Zealand Trail, a flat 2.5 mile trail starting on the end of Zealand Road and ending at an intersection with Twinway Trail. The trail was in good condition up until mile 2.0 where the trail followed a body of water. There was major flooding on the trail due to an ongoing turf (or surf) battle with the beavers. Due to the flooding, an extensive boardwalk will need to be repaired to get the trail out of the water. Even treading in 2 feet of water at points, it was a stunning trail and a popular one with the public. We reached our goal and completed TrACing the whole of Zealand and were back home by dinner time to enjoy some Bean & Kale soup. TrACed: 2.5 Hiked: 5 miles.

Tuesday, July 31,2012:

The goal for the day was to TrAC a trail named Lend-A-Hand trail, 2.7 miles long. In order to get to the trailhead, one must first hike Zealand trail 2.5 miles to Twinway trail and then another 0.3 on Twinway past the AMC Zealand Falls Hut. The hike in did not take much time at all and by late morning we were TrACing Lend-A-Hand Trail. The first mile and a half of Lend-A-Hand travels through a swampy section and requires extensive bog bridges. Soon after, the trail started to climb at a steep grade but in great condition, needing minimal work to prevent further erosion. In no time at all we hit the end point of Lend-A-Hand at the summit of Mt. Hale where we took second lunch and enjoyed the minimal views of the wooded summit. Then, we packed up and started our long trek down the mountain, following Lend-A-Hand back to the Zealand hut where we took a moment to appreciate the talents of the AMC chef and sample the lemonade and cookie bars. TrACed: 2.7 Hiked: 11 miles.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012:

The third day of the hitch the plan was to TrAC Hale Brook Trail. Hale Brook Trail starts at Zealand Road and travels up the east side of Mt. Hale, connecting with Lend-A-Hand at the summit. This trail climbs the same amount of elevation as the Lend-A-Hand trail, Zealand Trail, and Twinway Trail, but in less than half the mileage. This trail was 2.2 miles of extremely steep terrain. Because of the steep nature of the trail, many steps and staircases were needed to help with the erosion problem. The trail was continuously steep with tricky footing for long stretches of the trail to the summit of Mt. Hale. For as glad as we were to summit the 4000 footer for a second time, we were just as eager to descend and avoid the skies opening up and dumping buckets of water on us. We got back to our base camp in Zealand, packed up and hit the road towards Campton Campground, beating the storms by a fraction of a minute. TrACed: 2.2 Hiked: 4.4 miles.

Thursday, August 2, 2012:

For the final day of the hitch our program coordinator, Trevor Knight, came out to meet and work with us. We spent a good portion of the morning at the Forest Service Headquarters to have individual meetings with Trevor, as well as working on TrACS paperwork. With only half the day to TrAC, we went to our amazing agency contact, Jenny Burnett, to find us a short beautiful trail that will give Trevor a good taste of the White Mountain National Forest. She did not disappoint when she recommended Chippewa trail. Chippewa Trail is a 1.8 mile trail leading up to the summit of Black Mountain from the south side. The first 0.9 miles is on private property so TrACing had to wait until we climbed the very steep 0.9 first and reached Forest Service land. Trevor manned the wheel while we led him up the trail, introducing him to White Mountain TrACing and catching him up on the events from the summer. From mile 0.9 to 1.2, the trail continued to be very steep and in need of steps and staircases in the few areas that it would be possible to build. However with all the tree roots and large rocks in the tread of the trail, finding a place for the structures to be installed was tricky. Mile 1.2 to 1.9 was relatively flat and on bedrock; requiring few structures. We got to take in the beautiful view at end of the trail on the summit of Black Mountain. We then had our lunch then turned around to go back to the truck, stopping to visit a historical site of an old Lime Kiln, originally built in the 1830’s. On the drive back we stopped off at Fat Bob’s Ice Cream for a treat in celebration of the end of the hitch and Trevor’s visit. Little did we know that the ultimate celebration that afternoon would be of our arrival at the ice cream place only seconds before buses and buses of screaming child pulled into the parking lot, chanting their camp chant of “ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM!” TrACed: 1.9 Hiked: 3.6 miles.