Hitch 6 Report
Androscoggin Ranger District
8/8/2011 – 8/16/2011
Miles Surveyed: 9
Service Hours: 80
Prepared by Carson Gorecki
Monday August 8: Great Gulf Trail
To kick of the final hitch of the season, the TrACS Team tackled Great Gulf with the goal of finishing the remaining 1.9 miles. The forecast showed rain, but this did not deter anyone as they motored up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The Team strategically chose the Chandler Brook Trail as the quickest and most direct route to the starting point. They, along with USFS Ranger Jake Lubera from the Androscoggin, quickly discovered that direct was an accurate description, as were slippery, treacherous, and rocky. After surviving that brief misadventure, they began to explain the TrACing methods and philosophy with Jake, the reason he tagged along. The trip in had taken long enough where Jake was unfortunately unable to witness any TrACing in action, but he left with a better understanding than he began with, as did the team. From there they commenced surveying. The trail itself is beautiful and surely a fun hike, but the surveying was difficult at times. As ususal, this only hardened the Team’s determination to finish the trail strongly. And that they did, heroically climbing through the water and over the boulders out of the Gulf. From there they made the short hike to the summit of Mt. Washington where they secured a ride back to the truck courtesy of the good people at the Mt. Washington Auto Road. All in all it was a long day and a difficult section of trail to survey, yet the Team persevered and conquered.
Tuesday August 9: Osgood Trail
After drying out a bit, the Team regrouped and started the 3.8 mile Osgood Trail. This trail began at a junction with the Great Gulf Trail (before it gets steep) and ends at the Madison hut, traversing the Madison summit en route. Much of the trail coincides with the Appalachian Trail. As an added bit of excitement, a friend from Bartlett decided to join us and see what TrACing is all about. Janet Gorman who spent the summer volunteering for the Forest Service, had some free time and luckily chose to spend it with the Team. They were more than glad to have her. Despite the occasional drizzle, the Team was productive and finished 2.4 miles of trail, finishing just above treeline and in sight of the summit. It was a very solid day.
Wednesday August 10: Osgood Trail
Today was day number two on Osgood Trail. Matt was feeling under the weather, but Janet was able to join the Team for a second day of surveying. Having her along again made the day immensely easier and enjoyable. She handled the measuring wheel like a seasoned professional. The Team surveyed the remaining 1.4 miles of the trail, appreciating the brief pocket of sun on the summit of Madison. They also appreciated some brownies and coffee inside the Madison Hut before the hike down. The round trip hike was one of the longer ones of the season at 11.2, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the smiling faces after finishing. Another trail is in the books for the TrACS squad.
Thursday August 11: Saco Data and SCA Appreciation Pizza Party.
After completing the Osgood Trail, the Team received a bit of a physical respite while they compiled all of the data collected on the Saco District Trails. It was a fun experience to relive moments on the trails and see just how much was actually collected. It was an impressive amount. In the afternoon the squad traveled to the Ranger Station to partake in a Thank You Pizza Party held by the Forest Service. Other SCA Crews were there, as well as many friends from the Forest Service. It was a very enjoyable occasion and the pizza wasn’t bad either. After the feast, the Team delivered their stack of paper to Bailey for eventually entry into the Forest Service database. We wished her luck and said our goodbyes and thank yous to all of our friends and contacts at the Saco agency.
Friday August 12: Bunnell Notch
This was the very last day of surveying for the Team this summer. Bunnell Notch, a trail located in the Kilkenny Range, was added by Jake earlier in the week and listed as a priority. The Team tackled the 3.3 mile trail with gusto. Before they knew it, it was all over. The trail itself was very well maintained and the Team made quick work of it, their accrued experience in full force. Just like that, the Team had finished their last trail and a season’s worth of work. Afterward, there wasn’t much left to do, but reminisce a job well done.
Monday August 13: Cleaning and Inventory
After having a couple days off to complete anything on their “White Mountains Bucket List”, the Team reconvened to take care of the task of cleaning and counting all of the gear. It is at these times that one truly realizes how much stuff we have. Due to unexpected personal circumstances, Alice was not able to make it to work today, and the day’s work was undoubtedly trusted in the hands of team champions, Carson and Matt. The Team made efficient work of all that had to be done and even gave Bartlett a thorough scouring. It was the least the Team could do as a way to thank Chris Costello and the Forest Service for having us.
Tuesday August 14: Andro Data and Administrative Odds and Ends
Today was the Team’s last day of work for the season! It all went by so quickly that before any of the Team knew it we were going to be on our respective ways. The morning was taken up by the finishing up of the Data collected on the Androscoggin Trails. They then delivered the completed and neatly organized collection to the Ranger Station. With that taken care of, the Team celebrated by having their last dinner out on the town, enjoying some delicious pizza. The day was then wrapped up by taking care of the last of the Americorps and SCA exit paperwork. It was a bit of an anticlimactic way to end the last hitch and the season, but it had to be done.
Wednesday August 15: Travel Day
Today the Team said all of their goodbyes. It was a sad occasion, but also exciting as all of the members were heading off on new adventures. It was a very solid summer. One in which a lot was learned and experienced. I think I speak for everyone in the Team when I say that we all grew as people and hiked hundreds of miles. All in all it was a very productive and unforgettable summer.