Project Leader: Alice Webber
Project Dates: May 23, 2011 - August 17, 2011
Hitch 5 Report
Saco and Androscoggin Ranger Districts
7/25/2011 – 8/2/2011
Miles Surveyed: 17.6
Service Hours: 80
Prepared by Carson Gorecki
The SCA TrACS team’s fifth hitch in the White Mountains was highlighted by the completion of Davis Path (longest trail of the season) during a backcountry expedition, the battle against winds on Boott Spur Trail, the enjoyment of a centennial celebration, and a two-man excursion into the Great Gulf Wilderness. All in all, it was an epic nine days and a lot was accomplished.
Monday July 25, 2011: Davis Path
The TrACS squad started the hitch of with a bang as they headed into the Presidential Dry River Wilderness to complete the 14.4 mile Davis Path. With 9 miles remaining to be surveyed and 3 TrACing days to do it, they had their work cut out for them. Today was taken up by the summiting of Mt. Washington (by automobile) and the 4 mile hike down Davis path to our campsite at the junction with Isolation Trail (East). We set up base camp and rested up for what would prove to be three intense days of TrACing.
Tuesday July 26, 2011: Davis Path
Waking up early and taking the day by the horns, the TrACS team began their survey of Davis Path. To do so, they first had to hike the 5 miles south to the point where they had left off more than a month earlier, when they had started surveying the trail. From there it was a magnificent display of TrACing skills as the crew set their season record for miles surveyed at 4.3. A highlight was the completion of Spur C, a quick trail up to the summit of Mt. Davis. At the top they were given a taste of what we had accomplished so far and it was inspiring to be sure.
Wednesday July 27, 2011: Davis Path
The terrific progress of the previous day was not to be matched on this day. The weather turned against the Team and just as they began surveying the rain started to fall. They, however, soldiered on, summiting Mt. Isolation (Spur D). This time there was no view at the top. In fact there was no view anywhere as the clouds and fog severely limited visibility. After battling with the rain all morning, the Team decided to take a break to see if the weather would change in their favor. The afternoon provided slightly better prospects and the surveying continued, despite some grappling with soggy paper and cold unresponsive hands. All in all it was a very productive day. The team TrACed 2.9 miles from where they had left off Monday all the way up to the junction with Glen Boulder Trail above tree line. In the evening they had only to focus on staying warm and dry.
Thursday July 28, 2011: Davis Path
The team woke up bright and early on Thursday so that they could pack up base camp and make the hike back to Mt. Washington, TrACing the final 1.8 miles along the way. On the way up the team ran into a familiar face. Jarrod Ball, SCA Corps Trails Program Director from the Boise office, came out to see for himself what this TrACS business was all about. He joined us for the triumphant completion of Davis Path, even driving the wheel for a bit. The TrACS squad finished the day off by summiting Mt. Washington via Crawford Path. The weather was gorgeous and by all estimations a great end to a successful last backcountry trip and it was great to have Jarrod along for the experience. A strenuous backcountry adventure as such could only be celebrating in one measure: pizza.
Friday July 29, 2011: Weeks Act Centennial Celebration
Friday provided a unique experience for the TrACers. The Forest Service and myriad partners put on a party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Weeks Act, the piece of legislation that created the White Mountain National Forest and many others. It was a festive occasion that showcased all-things forest. Everything from wood skills exhibitions to wildlife biology was represented under the tents at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The TrACS squad volunteered to help out with the rigging demonstration put on by Jed Talbot and his trail company Off The Beaten Path, as well as setting up and taking down after the celebration. It was a great learning experience for the Team as there were interesting and knowledgeable people everywhere willing to share. There were not any miles surveyed on this Friday, but there were plenty learned and new friends made.
Saturday July 30, 2011: Boott Spur Trail
Saturday meant back to TrACing and back to the trails for the squad. The trail for this day was Boott Spur, a steep alternative to the popular Tuckerman Ravine Trail. It was great to get back out there and the team felt reenergized enough to take the entire 2.9 mile trail on in one day. Once above tree line the wind became fierce and attempted (unsuccessfully) to halt the Team’s progress. It was a great accomplishment and fitting way to start off the second half of the hitch.
Sunday July 31, 2011: Great Gulf Trail
With Boott Spur finished in one day, the team turned to some administrative tasks in the morning before beginning work on the 7.5 Great Gulf Trail. Despite starting in the early afternoon, the TrACers still managed to survey 1.3 miles, a sizeable section of trail.
Monday August 1, 2011: Great Gulf Trail
The next two days presented a special opportunity for Matt and Carson to work a two-man TrACS crew on the Great Gulf Trail as Alice was away to take care of some administrative tasks. On Monday, Matt and Carson continued where the Team left off and set off to a fast start. The two-man crew worked well and the boys surveyed 3.2 miles more of Great Gulf. With that, the nicest parts of the trail were completed and the grade began to increase noticeably as the trail continued to follow the river up the ravine. It was a long, but gratifying day.
Tuesday August 2, 2011: Great Gulf Trail
Last day of hitch #5. Today was day number 2 of Matt and Carson on the Great Gulf Trail. They picked up where they left off, hiking in the 4.5 miles just to start. From there they scaled slick slabs of smooth rock and scampered across tricky river crossings, surveying 1.1 miles. It was at that point that the weather turned against them making TrACing extremely difficult. They pushed through the rain to the junction with Sphinx Trail before turning around to make the long, wet trek out. It was an 11 mile day, hiking-wise. Since the day was shortened a bit, the boys worked on cleaning up the Davis Path data when they returned to Bartlett.
Everyone on the Team will agree that it was a challenging, yet truly successful nine days. They ended up completing the longest trail of the summer, and totaled an impressive 17.6 miles surveyed in 7.5 days of true TrACing.