First, a brief journey into David's mind...buckle your seatbelts...
White Mountain TrACS has been quite the journey, and I will take you through some of its highlights (warning: mileage may not be entirely accurate… at all).
Mile 0—the start of the Dirrettissima, our first “real” trail.
Mile 11—crossing the Raymond Path waterfall/river in the pouring rain and slipping and sliding down the mudpath trail.
Mile 27—the Glen Boulder undercast, see Eben’s post above.
Mile 43—the controlled fall down the Wamsutta, and the wheeling back up to the Auto Road
Mile 64—the scorching hot day while TrACing the logging road of Shelburne Trail
Mile 68—the drenching rain on the second day of Shelburne Trail
Mile 72—the drenching rain on the third day of Shelburne Trail
Mile 96—being foiled at the Peabody River while trying to tackle Sphinx Trail on the backpacking trip
Mile 98—getting coffee at the White Mountain Café after being foiled by the Peabody River
Mile 102—successful crossing of the Peabody River
Mile 115—the glorious view from the Imp Face
Mile 137—the bluebird sky day on the rock faces of Welch Dickey
Mile 162—tubing a mile down the river during All Corps
Mile 178—climbing Tecumseh… two days in a row… from opposite sides.
Mile 192—stopping at Zealand Hut for lemonade.
Mile 194—Quote of the season from a passing hiker—“Remember Eben: Listen to the frogs”
Mile 202—hiking with Trevor on Chippewa Trail
… and more to come.
Stay strapped in as we are now granted special access into Eben's thoughts on the season....
With so many memories to pick from the whole summer from training to TrACing it is hard to put a finger on the best part. The one I am about to tell you about is just one of many highlights I have had over this summer. This one took place early in the season on Glen Boulder Trail. At the trailhead the sky was dark and cloudy. After a long hike we broke tree line and discovered how the trail go its name. About a mile or two back from the junction with Davis Path is a massive boulder perched precariously on the edge of a cliff just asking to be pushed off. It was a magnificent sight. We were high enough in elevation that we were looking at the surrounding mountains breaking through the clouds below us. The view was so nice that we elected to have an early lunch so we could take in as much of the view as possible. I found the perfect place to sit and pulled out my PB&J and let the beauty of the White Mountain National Forest sink in. It was at that moment where I started to laugh. I was thinking about where my friends back at school were at that exact moment. I have a friend working as a bus boy at a restaurant, one at Wal-Mart, another working at a grocery store, and many others working indoor jobs. And here I am. In the White Mountain National Forest working above tree line above the clouds with breath taking views everywhere I looked. It is moments like this one that make me really appreciate how fortunate I have been to spend a summer with the SCA.
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.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 7 Report
Pemigewasset District – Algonquin Trail, East Pond Connector Trail
8/6/2012 – 8/12/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 6
Total miles hiked: 10
Total service hours: 135
Prepared by Alice P. Webber
Monday, August 6, 2012:
7:30 a.m. marked the first minute of the first day of the final hitch. Emotions ran high while demeanors remained cool; there was still much work to get done. Thanks to agency contact Jenny Burnett, the team had a great week planned. They were to head to the Sandwich Range Wilderness for the first time as a team and TrAC the 4.5 mile Algonquin Trail. Both excited for and respectful of what Wilderness areas behold, the team prepped with a full communication meeting of what the week will bring: hiking, TrACing, and ice cream. They took off on the mountain after their rallying cry and took in the beauty of the Sandwich Range Wilderness. They powered up the mountain, driven by the accomplishment of making this far in their internships. The team TrACed a total of 2.7 miles of the Algonquin Trail, turned around and mentally prepared for the BBQ feast that was to become their dinner. TrACed: 2.7 Hiked: 5.4 miles.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012:
Quadriceps, biceps and triceps were fueled by the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and a crisp breeze this Tuesday. Mother Nature blessed the White Mountains with a second day of stunningly temperate weather and blue skies filling the spaces between the white pine canopies. A return to the Algonquin Trail meant a return to Sandwich Notch Rd., a historical rd. built in 1801 connecting NH 49 to the town of Center Sandwich and NH 113. A narrow and bumpy trip, though oozing magic from each over-hanging branch, brought the team back to the Algonquin trailhead to TrAC to completion. Enjoying each minute of the steep climbs and bedrock stretches, the team eagerly reached their previous day’s ending point and sat on down to enjoy a lunch with a view of the White Mountain National Forest. Bellies full, they arose to pull out the wheel, the silver folder, the green binder and their two pencils to help them complete one of their final days of TrACing. As smoothly as ever (as if they had been doing it for the entirety of the summer), the team TrACed the remaining 1.7 miles of the picturesque Algonquin Trail up to the summit of Sandwich Dome. A popular, and small, summit amongst the locals amounted to the team having to sit in the shade and await their turn to stand at the tallest point, mark the final foot, and just take it all in. A 9 mile roundtrip hike brought the team up and down Algonquin trail this Tuesday. Luckily, there was handmade ice cream and bacon to ease their quadriceps, biceps, and triceps. TrACed: 1.8 Hiked: 9 miles.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012:
One sentenced was running through all our minds the moment we woke up, “Last day of TrACing.” It was almost too much to bear and Cinnamon Toast Crunch was consumed quickly to mask the intensity of the reality. The team headed back to Tripoli Rd. to complete the last trail assigned to them: 1.5 miles for the East Pond Connector Trail. We decided to hike up Little East Pond trail to arrive at the start of East Pond Connector, which would mean being able to hike the whole of the loop by the end of the day. The trail was slightly wet at the beginning junction due to the flooding of Little East Pond in years prior. After the initial swampy 0.1 mile, though, the trail maintained an easy grade traveling over multiple ups & downs which allow for natural drainage. The good condition of the trail made for quick TrACing, and before we knew it, we were just a couple hundred feet from the end! Installing a new step was one of our final features before reaching the end at the junction of East Pond trail with the final number we’d ever write down for the 2012 season being nothing else, but a spectacular palindrome: 8118 feet. And just like that, we had wheeled our last foot, recorded our last sign, and clicked our pencils closed for good. The moment was flooded with indecipherable emotions. Luckily, David had prepared an epic speech to commemorate the season. Propped up on a rock, David had us captivated with his words and emotions, all jotted down on a few sheets of paper. In the end, our claps were as loud as our smiles and we took off towards East Pond for a few silent moments to appreciate where the entire summer had led us. TrACed: 1.5 Hiked: 4.6 miles.
Thursday, August 9 – Saturday, August 11, 2012:
Our final days were full. Full of paperwork, cleaning, evaluating, eating, pushups, and more eating.
A few sad goodbyes to Jenny and the White Mountains and each other, and then full excitement for the next big thing.
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.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 5 Report
“It’s Always Sunny in the Pemigewasset.”
Pemigewasset District – Rattlesnake Mtn. Trail, Black Mtn. Trail, Basin-Cascades Trail, Kinsman Pond Trail, Mt. Tecumseh Trail, & Little East Pond Trail
7/6/2012 – 7/23/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 14.9
Total miles hiked: 34.8
Total service hours: 245
Prepared by David Stahl
Monday, July 16, 2012:
After a three day break, MooseTrACS hit the ground running! We first went to the National Forest headquarters in order to pick up some Trail Management Objectives (TMOs) so that we would know which trails to work on for Hitch 5. We decided upon one, Rattlesnake Mountain Trail, which we had a good feeling we could do in a half day. After doing some preparatory work in one of the HQ conference rooms, we then drove out to the Rattlesnake Mountain trailhead. The short car ride took us on several beautiful country roads. We started TrACing, and the first 0.8 miles took us up a steep eroded trail, where we installed numerous steps in a “staircase like” fashion and rock waterbars for drainage. Then, about an hour later we hit the 0.9 mile loop trail to the summit, which was mostly flat and in good condition. At about mile 1.5 we reached the top of Rattlesnake Mountain, which had a beautiful view south from the ledges. Then, we descended back into the trees and reached our endpoint, the start of the summit loop. From there it was a quick twenty minute walk to the car. TrACed: 1.7 miles. Hiked: 2.5 miles.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012:
The team set out early with the goal of completing Black Mountain Trail, a 45 minute drive to the northwest corner of the National Forest. After navigating through a couple back roads and down a narrow gravel stretch, we found the Black Mountain trailhead and began TrACing the 2.4 mile trail. The first mile went quickly as we hiked down an old logging road. Then the trail began to ascend steeply up Black Mountain, where we installed numerous rock waterbars and replaced several log waterbars in order to deal with erosion issues. Along the way we ran into several signs we had not encountered before, such as ATV and Adopt-A-Trail postings. As we reached mile 2.0 the trail began to level out, and we quickly TrAC-ed the last 0.4 miles to the summit of Black Mountain. The last 200 feet we installed a few cairns and reestablished the native tread in order to fix several beaten paths to the summit that had emerged. Curiously enough, although the TMO stated that the trail was 2.6 miles long, we only wheeled 2.4 miles in order to reach the summit. After reaching the top, the team enjoyed an excellent view from the summit and hiked the 2.4 miles back to the truck. TrACed: 2.4 miles. Hiked: 4.8 miles.
Wednesday, July 18 – Thursday, July 19, 2012:
Days 3 and 4 (July 18 and July 19)—All Corps
Friday, July 20, 2012:
The team started out at headquarters preparing multiple ERPs, TMOs, and preparatory paperwork for the rest of the trails for the hitch. This lasted for most of the morning, in which we then set out north to Franconia Notch in order to TrAC Basin-Cascades Trail and Kinsman Pond Trail. Although Basin-Cascades Trail is only 1.0 miles long, it took longer than expected to TrAC. We first had a little trouble finding the exact start of the trail among the maze of trails in the Basin area. When we did in fact find the trail, the TrACing was slow going as we ran into numerous erosion issues, where we worked on improving staircases, replacing individual steps, and reestablishing the native tread. This was probably the most popular trail we had worked on all season, and it was certainly packed with scores of hikers on this sunny afternoon. After finishing the Basin-Cascades Trail, we then hiked the 0.5 miles along the AT in order to reach the trailhead of the Kinsman Pond Trail. Although the first section of the Kinsman Pond Trail we hiked was mostly in good shape, we did notice that several bog bridges needed to be replaced and brush clearing needed to be completed. We were able to cover ¾ mile on the Kinsman Pond Trail before having to turn around for the day. TrACed: 1.75 miles. Hiked: 4.5 miles.
Saturday, July 21, 2012:
Today we set out with the goal of TrACing a good portion of the Mount Tecumseh Trail. This trail runs for 5.6 miles from the Waterville Ski Parking Lot, over the summit of Mount Tecumseh, and back down to Tripoli Road. From mile 0 to mile 1.0 the TrACing was fairly easy, as the trail meandered along Tecumseh Brook with easy grades. Along the way we noticed the work of the “mysterious” Tecumseh trail builder, an ambitious volunteer who has decided to put many hours into building structures along the Tecumseh trail. For example, we noted a twenty foot section of unusual rip rap surfacing which was probably built by the volunteer, which was somewhat unnecessary but quite pretty and a joy to walk across. At around mile 1.5 the trail became quite steep and eroded—water clearly was taking the trail as the shortest path down the mountain and took away much of the soil and organic material which should have been on the trail. We installed numerous staircases and retaining walls in order straighten out much of the mess surrounding this part of the trail. At around mile 2.0 the trail leveled out, and at mile 2.2 we arrived at the summit loop around Tecumseh, which was somewhat confusing in that the TMO was unclear as to which path we should TrAC. We decided to take the right fork in order to go counterclockwise around the loop, and arrived at the summit at mile 2.5. Then, we began TrACing downhill towards Tripoli Road. We were surprised as to how different this section of the trail was—instead of the steep talus we had climbing up, the trail going down consisted of mostly moderate grades and the tread had little erosion. At approximately mile 3.6 we stopped TrACing and turned around for the day. TrAC-ed: 3.6 miles. Hiked: 7.2 miles.
Sunday, July 22, 2012:
Today we drove to Tripoli Road in order to finish the last portion of the Mount Tecumseh Trail, which we had started the day before. We first hiked the 2 miles from the parking lot to where we had stopped TrACing the day before. This was one of the first times we TrACed downhill, and so we developed a system in which the person on survey would scout ahead in order to determine if steps or staircases were needed for steep sections. From mile 3.6 to mile 4.5 the trail was in pretty good condition, with little erosion and only a few rock steps needed here and there. However, from mile 4.5 to mile 5.0, the trail went down a very eroded path with many erosion issues, and numerous rock waterbars had to be installed where none were present. From mile 5.0 to the terminus (mile 5.6) the trail flattened out and was in excellent condition. After completing Mount Tecumseh Trail, we drove about a half mile to the East Pond Loop parking area with the goal of TrACing Little East Pond Trail (1.7 miles). We first walked the “0.4” miles along an old logging road to the Little East Pond trailhead (it was actually only 0.2 miles) and then began TrACing. From mile 0 to mile 1.0 the TrACing was fairly easy, with most of the features being drain dips and natural fords. After mile 1.0 the trail steepened, and we installed/replaced numerous steps and decommissioned several log waterbars in order to prevent erosion. Some no deck puncheons and check dams were also replaced. At mile 1.7 we reached Little East Pond, and then hiked the 1.9 miles back to the parking lot. TrAC-ed: 3.7 miles. Hiked: 7.8 miles.
Monday, July 23, 2012:
Today we set out with the goal of finishing the last 1.75 miles of Kinsman Pond Trail, which we had started three days previous. After driving to the Basin, we hiked the 1 mile up the Cascade Brooks Trail, 0.5 miles along the AT, and the 0.75 miles on the Kinsman Pond Trail we had already TrAC-ed on July 20. As we began TrACing, we noticed that the trail had numerous drainage issues—it seemed that much of the trail had water on it and no place to put it. At about mile 1.5 we realized the cause of this fact—much of the trail was built straight up a stream, and the water was naturally taking the trail as a path down the mountain. With not much to do in this situation, we rerouted a few several hundred foot sections of the trail in order to avoid the stream. As we approached the level of Kinsman Pond the trail became flatter, and we replaced numerous bog bridges which were built in order to avoid the wet areas around the pond, but had deteriorated over time. At mile 2.3 we reached Kinsman Pond, a beautiful mountain pond nestled in a low spot along Kinsman Ridge. Thousands of yellow pond lilies were about to bloom on the water, their bright colors providing an interesting contrast to the dark waters of the pond. The trail then followed the length of the pond and was rough but generally in good condition. We soon reached the Kinsman Pond shelter, and then the final Kinsman Pond trail junction at mile 2.5. We then hiked the 4 miles back to the parking lot, stopping for lunch at Kinsman Pond and detouring to the famous Basin along the way. At Forest Service headquarters we finished the paperwork for all of the trails, and so concluded Hitch 5. TrAC-ed: 1.75 miles. Hiked: 8 miles.
AllCorps: 2 Views 
View: David Stahl:
An amazing time, where so many SCA people came together it
Looked like a giant conservation party. We
Laughed a lot (I mean, A LOT!), and had an awesome time
Cruising down the Deerfield River in (partially inflated) intertubes.
Shelburne Falls was a cute little town we stopped in, where we saw the biggest glacial pothole in the world (
Oh man it was a big one!) and had the world’s biggest ice cream cones. Then, after seeing the spectacular,
Riproaring talent show we prepared for the ALL CORPS CHALLENGE, where there was major
Pressure for our team, Bear Brook + others, to dominate.
So we did, parted ways with Vermont TrACS, and said it was good.
View: Eben Spalding:
It twas a Thursday. With Black Mountain freshly in the books it was time to set off for ALLCORPS. Having never been a SCAer I have never had any experience with something of such caliber like ALLCORPS and thus I had few ideas of what to expect.
Upon arrival, and when I say arrival I mean we drove by the camp the first time because the taste of ambition was blinding, we reunited with the Vermont TrACS team and formed SUPERTrACS. For the rest of the night SUPERTrACS spent catching, both up on life and Frisbees.
The next day, after mistakenly waking up at 7am for an 8am breakfast, we split up into different activity groups. I, along with David and Lukie, signed up for the RIVER EXTRAVAGANZA crew. We headed over to a spot on the Deerfield River for the day where Lukie sat neck deep in the water for hours talking about nothing. In the late afternoon, after realizing how pruned we were, the RIVER EXTRAVAGANZA crew turned into the SHELBURNE TOWN EXTRAVAGANZA crew. As the SHELBURNE TOWN EXTRAVAGANZA crew we spent about two hours exploring the many ice cream and candy stores that Shelburne has to offer. Upon returning I spent a good chunk of time destroying the competition in Cribbage. Then we enjoyed the first talent show I have even seen where there was still talent after the first two acts and does not turn into a joke. Some may call the talent show spectacular. After playing cribbage in to the wee hours of the night I returned to my tent only to wake up to catch breakfast at 7am.
A large breakfast was key in what was soon to come in the next few hours. We all know what I am talking about of course. I am talking about the ALLCORPS CHALLENGE. For the challenge SUPERTrACS joined hands with Bearbrook to form NORTHERN NEWENGLAND. The challenge consisted of a bridge of doom station, bees knees challenge, orb toss, 7 legged mutant run, hammer time challenge, water boarding station (even more difficult than torture), and an old fashioned tug of war to cap it off. Just before the tug of war it was anybody’s game. However NORTHERN NEWENGLAND went undefeated in the tug of war (still undefeated and accepting challenges) and came out on top and took home the famous horn trophy. Well, Bearbrook took it with them but we got a sweet picture with it. With the end of the challenge came the end of ALLCORPS and we packed up our belongings and left.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 4 Report
Pemigewasset District – Greeley Ponds Trail & Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
7/9/2012 – 7/12/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 9.5
Total miles hiked: 17.6
Total service hours: 117
Prepared by Alice P. Webber
Monday, July 9, 2012:
Today was the transition day for NH TrACS; moving all possessions from Gorham and the Androscoggin District down to Campton and the Pemigewasset district. The team said goodbye to Jake Lubera and Camp Dodge, packed up camp and secured it all before beginning their trek to the southern region of the White Mountain National Forest. There, they met new agency contact Jenny Burnett at the Campton Campground to set up a new home. Jenny brought the team up to speed on the events of the district and expectations of the team while serving the remainder of their internship in the Pemi. The team spent the remainder of the afternoon prepping paperwork, safety standards, gear and food for their first hitch in the Pemi.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012:
The first trail in the Pemi the team was going to survey was the Greeley Ponds Trail. This 5.1 mile trail was heavily damaged during the 2012 Hurricane Irene, and has a 1-2 mile section in the middle still closed to visitors. The damage seen was heavy erosion with severe trenched tread, bridges blown out from the storm, and lengths of trail that previously ran close to the river completely wiped out. A trail in this condition was a first for the NH TrACS team, and all neurons were firing. Adapting a new mentality of TrACing that required more massive trail overhauls than before, the team managed to TrAC a total of 3.8 miles, hiking a total of 8.2 miles to do so.
Wednesday, July 12, 2012:
Luckily, the Greeley Ponds trail runs from Waterville Valley to the Kancamagus Highway. This allowed the team to access the trail from the other end to complete TrACing and use their time efficiently. The final stretch of the trail was in much better condition and seemingly not nearly as affected by the storm as the first half of the trail. After a quick morning stretch accompanied by their trusty companions, the mosquitos, the team completed TrACing the final 1.3 miles of the trail by noon, hiking 2.6 miles to do so. The team switched gears as they arrived at their car, and drove to the Welch-Dickey Loop trail. While eating lunch at the trailhead, the team reviewed the Greeley Ponds paperwork and organized their data to completion. With Greeley Ponds Trail done to entirety, the team put their packs back on to TrAC Welch-Dickey Loop Trail. The team had visited this trail before, one month ago, during their TrACS training and the first 1700 ft. was somewhat familiar. They picked up where they left off before and continued up the mountain. The Welch-Dickey Loop trail sees heavy traffic in the summer months due to its stunning views along the bedrock at the summit. Due to this, there are many stone features on the trail to maintain the standard and the team’s afternoon pushed through cramped fingers and TrACed a total of 1.2 miles before the day’s end.
Thursday, July 13, 2012:
Waking up to a beautiful morning in Campton Campground, the team was more than ready to complete the trail they began one month ago. The team hiked the Welch-Dickey Loop trail to where they had finished the day before, and did their stretch circle under the bright sun warm the ledges and the Pemigewasset District. The beginning of the team’s morning was smooth sailing as the trail continued up and along bedrock to the summits of Welch and Dickey Mountains. As the trail run along bedrock above tree-line, there are fewer features making for faster TrACing. As the trail dipped below tree-line, the features began again but the team managed to finish TrACing the final 3.2 miles of the Welch-Dickey Loop trail in the early afternoon, getting to finally hike the 4.4 mile loop trail in its entirety. They finished their hitch with reviewing and editing their data and paperwork and preparing all their documents and gear for the upcoming hitch.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 3 Report
Androscoggin District – Shelburne Trail, Buttress Trail & Imp trail
6/25/2012 – 7/2/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 13.7
Total miles hiked: 52.8
Total service hours: 220
Prepared by David Stahl & Eben Spalding
Monday, June 25, 2012:
Today was the second day we TrACed the 7.0 mile Shelburne Trail. We first hiked 1.5 rainy and mosquito-ey miles down the initial logging road stretch of trail in order to reach where we had ended TrACing the previous hitch. At mile 1.5 we began TrACing, and throughout the day TrACed a total of 2.5 miles up to the top of the Moriah Range. From mile 1.5 to mile 2.0, the trail was mostly a featureless logging road and went by quickly. From mile 2.0 to mile 4.0 the pace slowed due to several drainage issues along the trail, where we installed numerous drain dips, individual steps, and rock waterbars. At mile 4.0 we reached the junction with the Kenduskeag Trail (which runs along the top of the Moriah Range) and turned around for the day, hiking a total of 8 miles throughout the day.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012:
Today was the third (and final) day we TrAC-ed Shelburne Trail. Since we ended at mile 4.0 the day before, we first hiked the 4.0 rainy (some might say “very very rainy”) miles to the junction with Kenduskeag Trail. We then TrACed steadily downwards on the opposite side of the Moriah Range for 3.0 miles towards Wild River Road, reaching the junction with the Highwater Trail (mile 7.0) around 4:00 in the afternoon. The TrACing went surprisingly quickly, due to the great condition of the trail and the fact that the trail was in a wilderness area and the standards were guided by the notion of “keep the wilderness wild.” The only major problems along the trail were some treadwork issues, where some of the trail had washed away (probably from Hurricane Irene). After we finished TrACing, the only thing remaining for the day was the 7.0 mile hike back to the truck! The hike was long but very enjoyable, knowing that we had finally tackled Shelburne Trail once and for all.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012:
After the 14.0 mile hike the day before, we spent all of rainy Wednesday finishing up the Shelburne Trail paperwork and data, as well as preparing for the Buttress backpacking trip. That morning we worked in the Androscoggin Ranger District Office doing the finishing touches on the Shelburne Trail papers, and began looking at the maps and White Mountain Guide to complete the logistics of TrACing the isolated Buttress Trail. We decided on camping at the junction of the Six Husbands and Buttress trails for two nights instead of one, coupling a Buttress TrACing session with the Sphinx Trail. That afternoon we went to Hannaford’s in North Conway for the next four days of food shopping and Eastern Mountain Sports for a few extra camping supplies. After returning to Camp Dodge, we divided all of the group gear and food for the backcountry trip the next morning.
Thursday, June 28, 2012:
We drove the 200 feet from Camp Dodge to the Great Gulf Wilderness Parking Lot to start off our backpacking trip. However, after hiking for 2.7 miles we came to a river crossing, which, although quite simple to cross in normal weather, proved to be impassable with heavy packs after four days of constant rainfall. Since our original camping spot was located 2 miles further down the trail and there was no other way to access the campsite (with our Plan B, accessing the trail via the Mt. Washington Auto Road, closed for the day due to damage from the rain) we decided to turn back 300 feet and camp at the Osgood Tentsite (located on the beautiful Bluff with a view of Mount Washington). We set up camp and hiked back out of the Great Gulf to catch up on office work and to write this very own hitch report. Then, at around 4:00 we hiked the 2.7 miles back into the Great Gulf to reach our campsite, where we cooked dinner and stayed the night.
Friday, June 29, 2012:
We started the day bright and early at the Osgood Tentsite, refreshed after spending our first night in the backcountry. Although the day began with a slight drizzle, the weather over the past 24 hours had been mostly dry, meaning that the river crossing which foiled our TrACing progress the day before, was finally passable. However, about 0.5 miles later we came upon another river crossing, which, although at first looked quite difficult, could be waded through upstream of the trail in order to avoid several sections of rapids. At around 10:00 we began TrACing the Buttress Trail, which climbed steeply through wilderness until reaching the junction with Star Lake Trail, 1.9 miles later. The trail was in mostly good condition, with just some treadwork issues here and there and a few places where individual steps needed to be installed to create safer hiking conditions. After reaching the end of the trail, instead of retracing our steps and having to wade through the river crossings yet again, we decided to head to 0.3 miles to visit the Madison Hut and then make a loop over Mount Madison and follow the Osgood Trail south, returning to our campsite at around 6:00.
Saturday, June 30, 2012:
We took down camp and hiked the 2.7 miles out of the Great Gulf. We first returned to Camp Dodge in order to set up personal gear, and then went about cleaning the stoves, water filters, dishes, and bear bins from the backcountry trip. We stopped off in Gorham in order to finish the paperwork for the Buttress Trail, and also made the Emergency Response Plan for the next adventure, the Imp Trail. Then, we headed towards the northern terminus of the Imp Trail in order to begin TrACing the 6.3 mile Imp Trail loop. We made it all the way to mile 1.5 for the day, due to the fact that the beginning of the trail was not only flat but also followed the high ground above Imp Brook (making it very dry and in excellent condition). We then hiked the 2.5 miles back to Camp Dodge.
Sunday, July 1, 2012:
Today was the first of two days without Alice, providing David and Eben the opportunity to put to use all that they’d learned about TrACing and leadership. The day started off with sunshine, and we quickly hiked the 2.5 miles to where we stopped TrACing on the Imp Trail the previous day. From mile 1.5 to mile 2.0, the trail became very steep and the TrACing slowed down, as we looked for places to install individual steps and staircases where much erosion had occurred. At mile 2.2 we were treated with the view from the Imp Face, which Wilderness Maps claims is one of the “10 best views in all of the White Mountains.” It certainly was. From the 180 degree panoramic view, previous hikes and hitches flashed before our eyes. To the northwest, we could see to the Osgood Trail and the peak of Mount Madison, where we toiled up just two days previous. We could see the entirety of the Great Gulf, where we labored for hours carrying our heavy backpacking packs through dense forests and across powerful streams. We could see the whole stretch of the Auto Road up Washington, and even the spot where we parked the car for the Wamsutta, the trail which took us straight down gnarly ledges to the base of the Gulf. After taking in the view, we continued TrACing across the cliff face of the Imp. Although the elevation was mostly constant across the 1 mile trail to the junction with North Carter Trail, the rate of TrACing was surprisingly slow, due to the numerous drainage issues and erosion problems from water seeping off the cliff. After reaching the North Carter junction we headed downhill towards the southern terminus, which, except for a few major drainage issues involving some trail rerouting, the trail was mostly well designed and TrACing went fast. A bizarre storm hit us along the way down, which lasted no more than ten minutes and left us in complete warmth and sunshine after it passed through. We ended the day at around mile 5.0, which was convenient since a 500 foot spur path from our endpoint led us to the backyard of Camp Dodge.
Monday, July 2, 2012:
We awoke at Camp Dodge ready to knock out the 6.3 mile Imp Trail once and for all. After taking the spur path back to mile 5.0 of the Imp, we began TrACing. After going for a couple thousand feet though, we realized something quite strange about the trail—there were way too many features on it. Rock waterbars every twenty feet, no deck puncheons in places where no deck puncheons were needed, drain dip after drain dip after drain dip. And to add to that, everything was in perfect condition. We found out later the reason for this anomaly—it turns out that since this part of the trail is in the backyard of Camp Dodge (the trail crew volunteer center), the trail crews use this section of trail as a construction “boot camp” before going out to other trails to build things for real. A little down the trail this trail structure madness ended, and we quickly TrAC-ed the mostly flat 1 mile to the southern terminus. Then, we hiked back up the 1.3 mile section we just TrAC-ed to the spur path and headed into Dodge to finish the Imp paperwork and complete base camp tasks.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 2 Report
Androscoggin District – Glen Boulder Trail, Wamsutta Trail, Rattle River Trail, Shelburne Trail
6/18/2012 – 6/21/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 9.1
Total miles hiked: 21.4
Total service hours: 124.5
Prepared by Alice P. Webber
Monday, June 18, 2012:
A few days of rest and sunshine were all the team needed to jump into Hitch 2 to complete Glen Boulder Trail. The beautiful morning put the team above the clouds, and the stunning views fueled the quick climb past the previously TrACed section. Beginning where they ended last week, the team geared up and worked at an efficient pace. They completed the final 1.6 miles of the trail with majority of the features being rock cairns with a few drainage structures here and there. A total of 1.6 miles TrACed and 6.4 miles hiked. Back at base camp, the team spent the remaining half hour of the day reviewing, correcting and totaling data.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012:
Day 2 of Hitch 2. Back up the Auto Rd. The team spent the first few minutes of the day preparing the paper work for their next trail, Wamsutta Trail, and checking in with agency contact, Jake. With yet another good weather forecast in their future, the team headed 6 miles to access Wamsutta Trail. To reach the beginning termini, JCT with Great Gulf Trail, the team descended a fast 2,200ft in elevation in 1.7 miles. It was a benefit to hike the length of the trail before TrACing it, to see what was in store: steep rocks, steep rocks, and a few more steep rocks. This was the first TC-2 trail in a wilderness area that the team has worked, and so it was a learning curve to adjust what features to both record and implement to the future plans on the trail. With much more lenient standards of conditions in the wilderness area, the team completed TrACing the 1.7 miles with time at the end of the day to review the data and prepare for the following day.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012:
Today marked the first time team Moose TrACS dug deep within themselves to find the strength needed to pull off a very long day. They decided to begin Rattle River Trail (running along a section of the Appalachian Trail), in spite of the countless warnings of the leagues of mosquitoes destined to be encountered. The first quarter mile surprised the team as it was a shallow grade on soft organic material in very good condition, and was a welcomed change for their knees. Before they knew it, they had TrACed 3 miles by second lunch! The trail saw many drainage structures along the way, as well as the USFS Trail maintenance team, and continued along a sustainable grade, averaging 10%, the entire 3 miles. They continued TrACing another mile in the final 2 hours of their sevice day. The team decided that with only .5 miles left of the trail, it would be a much more efficient use of their time to put in a longer day to complete the trail than to do the entire hike again the next day. All hands on deck and the Moose TrACS team carried on and finished the final .5 miles of steep, rocky terrain in just over one hour. The team completed TrACing the 4.3 miles of Rattle River Trail, hiking 8.6 miles to do so, and putting in a combined extra 4.5 hours of service.
Thursday, June 21, 2012:
One word to describe today: hot. The heat and humidity engulfed the White Mountains today, making working conditions less than desirable. Luckily the team’s morning was spent reviewing, organizing and inputting the data from all of Rattle River, followed by working on getting their website up and running. Agency contact Jake Lubera discussed with the team the day’s hazards that come with the heat before heading them into the field. They headed to begin Shelburne Trail with water pump in hand. The trail began along an old logging road which made for good trail conditions, but high exposure to the sun. Setting a safe pace for themselves, the team still managed to TrAC 1.5 miles on Shelburne, hiking 3 miles to do so. At the end of the work day, the team had their Hitch 2 debrief/ Hitch 3 preparation meeting. When all was said and done, a quick trip to the swimming hole was definitely in order.
White Mountain TrACS
Hitch 1 Report
Androscoggin District – Direttissima Trail, Raymond Path, Glen Boulder Trail
6/11/2012 – 6/14/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 4
Total miles hiked: 14.4
Total service hours: 120
Prepared by Alice P. Webber
Monday, June 11, 2012:
Monday marked the White Mountain TrACS team’s first official service day in the field! After two weeks of SCA training in Seattle, and one week of TrACS training in New Hampshire, Alice, Eben and David were ready to hit the ground TrAC-ing. They met agency contact Jake Lubera, Assistant Ranger of the Androscoggin District, in the early morning at his office to exchange supplies, information, and hellos. The team spent their morning preparing the safety features of the internship; creating the Job Hazard Analysis document, the Emergency Response Plan, locked into the USFS radio communication system, and became acquainted with their first trail, The Direttissima.
The afternoon began and ended at the trailhead. Eager to do follow the no. 1 lessen of TrACS training, “Collect the right information the first time,” the team set a sustainable pace that allowed for productivity and education. The successful first day of TrACS completed .74 miles of data collection, as well as countless opportunities of absorbing new information.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012:
After a bowl or two of oatmeal, the team was ready to begin their first full day in the field. They returned to The Direttissima Trail and completed the final ¼ mile within an hour and half. First trail successfully TrACed! A brief stint in the Androscoggin District office followed their hike out to review their data, as well as prepare for their next trail: Raymond Path.
A great thanks to the Mt. Washington Auto Rd. for allowing the team special access to the trail heads. 2 miles up the Auto rd. at Old Jackson Rd. Trail and the team hit Raymond Path head on. The afternoon totaled 1.2 miles of Raymond Path TrACed.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012:
Back up the Auto Rd. to complete Raymond Path. Today was the first day that the team faced of the hairy challenge of “TrACing in the Rain,” and thankfully they were prepped with a few precious “Rite in the Rain” forms. This was also the first day that the team applied the practice of combining multiple features into a singular section, and just recording the mile post of each individual feature. This saves time, and very much paper. Neither the rain nor the river crossings could slow the team down now. By 12:30 the team reached the ending termini of Raymond Path, having completed TrACing the final 1.2 miles of trail. A few moments at the end of the day were spent reviewing the collected data to make sure everything was correct before handing in the information to the USFS, as well as prepping for their next adventure.
Thursday, June 14, 2012:
Taking Jake’s advice to exploit the day’s beautiful weather, the team decided to begin TrACing Glen Boulder Trail. The trail rises in elevation quickly and comes out above tree-line within 1.5 miles with exposure to weather and expansive views, including the one and only Glen Boulder. The team spent the entirety of the day in the field, TrACing drainages, up and over rock staircase after rock staircase, and climbed out of tree-line by early afternoon. They saw and recorded new features, such as rock cairns and talus fields, and ended the day strong at 1.6 miles TrACed. The hike down caused s couple “jelly-knees,” and a nice long sit back at base camp was the perfect way to begin the weekend.
This is Eben and David writing from the Androscoggin Ranger District office in Gorham , NH! We just came back from our SCA training in Carnation, WA (near Seattle) which was simply put, awesome! On May 21, after a never ending flight from Chicago, we arrived at the training camp and met our fearless leader, Alice. The first few days the whole camp went over SCA basics such as member expectations, AmeriCorps, and conservation ethics, all during a typical northwest “liquid sunshine” that never seemed to let up. Then, we quickly transitioned into the next three days of CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Leave No Trace training. Eben’s favorite part of the WFA training was acting out backcountry medicine scenarios. David’s favorite part was learning about how to deal with lightning storms in the field.
The next day we learned how to set up base camp (lighting stoves, purifying water, putting up tents, etc.) and also learned how to use tools and mechanical advantage. Work smarter, not harder!
Using our new knowledge of simple machines and proper tool usage, we entered into a four day work skills marathon. Each day had a specific trail maintenance theme. At the timber station, we learned how to use cross cut saws, chisel benches, and use wedges to split logs hot-dog style. On trail construction and trail design days, we worked on a new trail that linked the lake view amphitheater and the dining lodge so that the little girl scouts would stay off the road and not get run over. On tread and drainage day, we learned all about inslope/outslope, switchbacks, climbing turns, rock/timber water bars, and how to get the water out of the trail or the trail out of the water.
Throughout the whole ten days we enjoyed fantastic meals from the kitchen goddess, Raven. It just so happened that the only two birthdays in the one hundred person training camp were both of ours (May 26 and 27), and so the whole camp got to enjoy homemade cake and ice cream two days in a row! We were sad to see our new SCA friends leave for their projects across the country, but our sadness is masked by our ambition to preserve trails for future generations to come.
My name is David and I am excited to be a member of the NH TrACS team for summer 2012! I am a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in environmental science and minoring in statistics. I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) and had my first true connection with trails and nature when I was ten years old, while hiking the Billy Goat Trail with my family just outside Washington, DC. From then on, I took an interest in everything having to do with the environment and outdoors. I hiked and biked as much as I could during the summer, became president of my high school environmental club, and volunteered with the local nature center in the outdoor education and trail maintenance programs.
My first experience hiking in New Hampshire was when I was eleven years old and climbed my first mountain, Mount Monadnock. Getting to the summit marker was one of the proudest moments I had ever felt in my life up to that point, and I immediately knew that I wanted more. I soon discovered the White Mountain National Forest and loved the flora, fauna, and topography of the region, making it a goal to travel to the national forest as much as I possibly could. During my summers in high school I volunteered with the Appalachian Mountain Club, restoring sections of the AT in the North Country.
Additionally, I now have an ongoing goal of hiking as many of the 4,000 footers as I can (8 out of 48, and counting!). One of my favorite parts of hiking in the Whites and anywhere else is a well built trail, and I believe that people enjoy nature much more when they are on a well built trail. By serving on the NH TrACS team this summer, I plan on playing a huge role in identifying trails which need restoration in the Whites, thereby improving the recreational experience for future hikers to come.
The name is Eben (like Ebenezer minus the ezer). I was born in Nashua New Hampshire and grew up in the middle east… of Massachusetts. I just recently turned 19 and I am entering my second year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a Civil and Environmental Engineering major. Some of you may ask, “Eben, what is an engineering guy like you doing trail work in the White Mountains. Well, mystery persons, I have some news for you.
Firstly, I got to experience the outdoors at a young age. Growing up I got involved in scouting. I spent many weekends learning about and experiencing the local wildlife. On my summers I was fortunate enough to travel to various areas with breathtaking wilderness such as Lake Winnipesaukee, Cape Cod, and northern Ontario. This past summer I spent working for the Youth Conservation Corps with the US Fish and Wildlife. It was there that I was introduced to the basics of conservation and trail work. Throughout my life my love for the outdoors has been growing and better preparing me for a summer with the SCA.
Secondly, engineering and trail work are much more similar than they may seem. Although one requires calculus while the other requires an axe, they both have their origins in surveying. This summer with TrACS we will be collecting data of land features across the White Mountains. The experience I will gail from this summer is directly applicable to the field of engineering.
Most importantly this summer I will not be working a cash register or the front desk of a library like so many of my friends. This summer the White Mountains is my work space. How many people can say that?
My name's Alice and I'm the PL for the 2012 SCA NH TrACS team (otherwise known as "MooseTrACS!).
I was born and raised in the hustle bustle of urban-suburbia New Jersey where I learned to appreciate the beauty in urban landscapes, good bagels, and great pizza. Every summer, my family and I would adventure up North to the serenity of the woods and mountains of Maine. The exposure to the diversity of these two places, including environment and economy, has been the driving force behind my desire to travel and explore to experience.
After high school, I attended SUNY Purchase, where I studied Fine Art and played for the school’s varsity soccer team. A few days prior to graduation in May 2008, my biology professor recommended looking at the SCA website, and I have been working with them since.
My start with SCA began in the California desert completing widely various conservation projects from monitoring Golden Eagles, to working trails in the Southern Sierras. Trails quickly became the venue I wished to focus my efforts towards, and I continued on to complete numerous stonework construction, timber projects, rigging work, and leading trail teams of high school students, college, and older. My experience with, and passion for, trail work is what has guided me towards TrACS. The program offers a new problem-solving venue to support the conservation efforts through trails. This will be my second summer leading TrACS in the Whites, and I’m so eager for us to begin covering new ground.
This past winter, I worked with Maine Conservation Corps as the Trail Training Instructor, completed my WEMT course, and learned to cross-country ski. There are a few other things I love as much as I love building with rocks: cereal, soccer, baking cookies, rock climbing, and singing too loud when I’m alone in a car.
What is TrACS, you say?
TrACS stands for Trails Assessment & Condition Surveys, and we're doing exactly that! This summer, the TrACS Team is hiking and collecting data on sections of the 1,200 mile hiking trail system throughout the White Mountain National Forest, NH.
The White Mountain NF is comprised of three districts: the Saco, Androscoggin, and Pemigewasset District, which span over 800,000 acres in New Hampshire and Western Maine. The Forest is home to many unique and distinct features, including 6 Congressionally designated Wildernesses totalling almost 149,500 acres, 8 square miles of Alpine Environment, and Mount Washington, the highest peak in the NorthEast at 6288' with the reputation of the world's most erractic weather and highest recorded wind speed of 231 mph. Here's a link to the WMNF website:
The SCA TrACS Team is a 12 week internship to learn and apply the TrACS system in the White Mountain National Forest. The team is small in numbers but big on enthusiasm; team leader is Alice Webber, and her two eccentric interns are Eben Spalding and David Stahl. Together, these three will be hiking and backpacking the Androscoggin and Pemigewassett Districts, surveying the current conditions of specific trails and prescribing possible solutions to create "Pie in the Sky" hiking environments.
Hope to see you all on the trails soon!