By: Peter Kannam
It was day five of our first hitch and it had become clear we were running ahead of schedule. If we were unable to find more work to do around Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, we would be done all projects by day six. The park staff were thrilled about the speedy completion of the prescribed tasks they were unsure of what to assign us next. That lunch we were approached by one of the many regular visitors to the reservation. He asked if we were here to open the Little Purgatory Loop. We had never heard that trail name before so he told us that Little Purgatory Chasm was the second most popular attraction in the park. While showing us the loop on the map he told us that there was no loop on the Little Purgatory trail causing many people to get lost. We thanked him for bringing this to our attention and decided to ask the park supervisor if that was a project we could work on.
When we asked the ranger and park supervisor, they were delighted on the idea of opening the loop. Apparently, the initial park builders decades ago began to work on the Little Purgatory trail but ran out of time to complete it all. The park supervisor said that it slipped her mind because it had been a problem ever since she started working there more then fifteen years ago. We walked to little purgatory, found a social trail that would complete the loop, and decided to make it the official trail. We were identifying dangerous areas that needed to be rerouted, the supervisor surprised us with donuts from the local favorite donut shop. She told that she was ecstatic we were opening the loop because next year is the 100th anniversary of the park and Little Purgatory Loop completed the vision of the park that is laid out on the map. She then added that if it wasn’t for us at the SCA projects like that would never be completed. We did a lot of good work that hitch, but the highlight for all of us was how enthusiastic the park staff was about out service.