The weekend leading up to this hitch saw the better part of the Eastern seaboard railed by Hurricane Irene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irene_(2011)). Although here at the Whitney headquarters we remained relatively unscathed, many of the eastern portions of the park fell victim to extensive flooding and storm damage. In particular, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, one of the most famous and picturesque parts of the Adirondack Park and where our weekly Santanoni crew spends much of its time, saw some of the worst damage of the area. Following the storm, all of the trails in the High Peaks, and many more in other parts of the park, were closed completely until safety and access could be properly restored. This meant for a number of changes in the work load and schedule of our crews here, but everyone rolled with the punches to get the work done. The SCA Adirondack crews and state DEC employees all worked hard to get the trails cleared as quickly and efficiently as possible, and most if not all of the trails have since been reopened. Anyway, on with the hitch reports...
1. Santanoni Historic Site
This crew spent the week focused solely on storm cleanup. On the main road into the Santanoni Great Camp, the crew cleared an estimated 115 trees that had blown down into the trail. The crew then split up; while a couple members remained to finish clearing the main road, the rest of the crew split up and worked with various DEC workers to scout a number of other trails and assess damage in other parts of the area. Finally, they spent their last day clearing 4 miles of the Slide Brook Trail near Elk Lake and restored access to the lean-to on the site.
2. Wilmington Wild Forest
The bridge building continued at Wilmington this week. Work consisted of preparing the site for the work of the following week. Materials were acquired and brought to the site, 110 feet of approach trail was cut, and foundations were fortified with more retaining structures. The crew also put the finishing touches on another bridge, installing 32 feet of side railings on its edges.
3. Vanderwhacker Mountain
The crew at Vanderwhacker Mountain was assisting in the rehabilitation of the old observer's cabin on site there. They began the week by clearing the trail leading up to the project site, cutting out 12 blowdowns from the recent storm. The clearing work continued around and leading up to the project site, with the removal of 4 hazard trees and the lopping back of 1/4 mile of trail. Once this work was completed, the crew began shuttling dimensional lumber and tools, to be used in the restoration of the cabin, up the steep one mile trail to the site. Work began on the restoration, raising the sunken wooden floor of the cabin and shoring up the foundation.
4. Fish Pond, St. Regis Canoe Area
Hiking in about 5 miles to Fish Pond, this crew got to stay in a lean-to constructed in 2010 by last year's SCA Adirondack corps members. They continued and completed the deconstruction of the the old lean-to, salvaging what they could and dispersing the rest back into the woods from whence it came. The main focus of the project was the establishment of a new horse-accessible site. The crew built three 10' x 10' tent pads, a fire pit, a new privy site, and cleared the surrounding areas and paths in between.