Hiking and Hard Work

After spending three days struggling on the Grafton Notch Loop Trail a couple of weeks ago, Earl and I decided to spend Memorial Day weekend doing some clean up work on that same trail.

We started out not as early as we would have liked on Saturday. We got to the trail at around 10:30 a.m. Our plan was to clear trail as we hiked to Sargent Brook campsite. The first few miles were fairly easy going. We tossed broken branches and small fallen trees off the trail.

We stopped at Bald Mountain campsite for lunch and met some young men from New York state. Unfortunately, they had started a roaring campfire. Earl informed them that campfires were not allowed. Luckily the guys didn’t give attitude and put the fire out.

We waited for them to pack up and head back down the trail. This delayed our own hike and clean up efforts, but we wanted to make sure the fire was properly extinguished before we took off. It was still fairly warm, so we poured more water on it.

The next four miles were tough going.

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We had to examine some of the blowdowns to determine where to cut. When two or more trees or branches were involved in the tangle, we had to be careful to not dislodge something that would hurt us.
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The Mighty Axeman! Earl sawed and chopped at this maple for a long time. When he was ready to call it quits, I took over with the saw. I didn’t want someone else to claim the kill. HA HA
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The Weary Axeman! Finally got it done. It took teamwork.
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There were quite a few branches laying across the trail that just needed to be moved. It was kind of funny that people would pass us on the trail, thank us for the work we were doing, but would then seemingly just walk over or around branches that could be easily moved off the trail. Sigh… thanks for the help, folks! 🙂
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Hiking with a full pack can be tough enough. Clearing the trail with a full pack is extra tough. I was tossing one branch off the trail and nearly toppled over because the pack threw my balance off. Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. HA HA

We spent the night at Sargent Brook campground again. It was chilly and windy. I made my first attempt at using an alcohol stove. It was a semi-successful venture. You see, I have a healthy respect for fire (or I could just admit that I’m afraid of it!) and the wind was definitely making things more difficult. Earl finally got it going for me.

We had mashed potatoes and mac and cheese for dinner. Funny how these types of side dishes can taste so good when you are out in the woods.

We turned in early but had a rough night’s sleep. The campsite was sloped so we were sliding again. It was cold and the wind was blustery and some cold drafts managed to seep into our sleeping quilt.

But Sunday morning was bright and warm. We went back to work on the trail hoping to reach Sunday River Whitecap before we needed to turn around and head back to the car. Unfortunately, the remaining 1.1 miles was pretty sloppy so we didn’t quite accomplish our goal. But we definitely made the trail a bit friendlier for others.

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