Project Leader: Alice Webber
Project Dates: May 23, 2011 - August 17, 2011
Hitch 3 Report
Saco Ranger District
7/5/2011 – 7/12/2011
Miles Surveyed: 14.8
Service Hours: 80
Prepared by Alice Webber
The SCA TrACS team’s third hitch in the White Mountains National Forest was a diverse adventure of backcountry triumphs, visitors & volunteers, and a few mountain-top cookies.
Tuesday, July 5: Basin Trail:
The team returned to the Basin Trail on their first day back to finish what they started many weeks ago. It was approached from the Basin Trail Campground Parking lot, and ascended a steep 2 miles up to reach the spur of Blue Brook Connector Trail, where the team had previously ended. With wheel in hand, a total of 1.5 miles were surveyed, including .2 miles of Spur A, the Blue Brook Connector Trail.
Wednesday, July 6: Basin Trail:
After braving the drive on Hurricane Mountain Road, the team reached the trail for the final ascent. The day began surveying Spur B, the Hermit Falls Loop Trail, and ended with the completion of Basin Trail. With a total of 1.5 miles TrACed for the day, the team sat for a bite to eat where they could absorb the beautiful views of the Basin.
Thursday, July 7: Dry River Trail:
Today was the first day TrACing the 9.6 miles of Dry River Trail, beginning at rt.302 and ending at the AMC Lakes of The Clouds. In order to use time most efficiently, the team spent the day surveying and gaining enough distance so that they can set up a backcountry base camp over the next few days. At the end of the day trip, the team surveyed a total of 3.8 miles of Dry River Trail, ending at their designated campsite for the following three nights.
Friday, July 8: Dry River Trail:
The team prepped and packed and headed back to the Dry River Trail, prepared to match yesterday’s successes. At the trailhead, the team met SCA Trail Corps’ Program Manager, Chris Sparks, along with SCA National Director for Conservation Teams, Leslie Rimmer. With base camp set up, the team was eager to spend time on the trail with welcomed guests and friends to share knowledge and experience of the inner workings of the TrACS programs, as well as a few stories and tales from the field. Thanks to the help of new insight, another 1.8 miles were surveyed.
Saturday, July 9: Dry River Trail:
A full night’s rest under the stars, the Dry River singing us to sleep, was enough to refuel the team for another day to tackle the trail. 5.2 miles of Dry River Trail already under their belt, the team powered on through the toughest terrain and conditions they’ve experienced this summer. Overcoming a few dubious river crossings, swampy tread and steep terrain, the team totaled 1.9 miles. Chris Sparks, armed with chocolate gifts, joined the team for a hearty dinner of cheesy quinoa and another night in the Dry River Wilderness.
Sunday, July 10: Dry River Trail:
Being acutely aware of the potentially arduous hike ahead of them, the team and Chris Sparks prepared themselves by filling their bellies with oatmeal and coffee, strapping their packs down, and tying their boots tightly. Again manning the rivers and the swamps, the troops reached the base of their final 2.1 mile climb to the end of Dry River Trail. Chris Sparks jumped in head first to the learning and understanding of TrACS and brought the team new perspective and energy for the process. Leaving the team with a fresh outlook and a wave, Chris Sparks bid goodbye and the three TrACers were on their own to brave the alpine zone, the rocks, and the final mile. At the end of their 6 mile hike up, Dry River Trail came to a close at the AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut. The team celebrated the close with fresh chocolate chip cookies, lemonade, and a jaunt up Mt. Monroe before their lengthy descent.
Monday, July 11: Dry River Trail:
Creaking joints filled the air as the team packed up camp and headed out of the Dry River Wilderness and back towards civilization. Back at their Bartlett Headquarters, 6 knees were happy to have a few weightless moments as the team reviewed, organized and uploaded the week’s data.
Tuesday, July 12: Pine Bend Brook Trail & A Day with GIS:
The final day of the hitch brought an exciting change to the White Mountain TrACS routine. Matt was presented with the opportunity to spend a day volunteering with the WMNF GIS Specialist, Norma Sorgman, which left Carson and Alice to test out a 2-person TrACS team on Pine Bend Brook Trail. After they were able to complete surveying 2.2 miles of the trail in one day, the team was glad to realize that the greatest obstacle to a 2-person TrACing team was only too few hands to swat the bugs away.