Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Trail work at Makoshika

Some of the kinds of trail work we did at Makoshika:

Makoshika - Day 1

Put in some steps as a temporary solution to a washed-out bridge.

Makoshika - Day 3

Put new steps in on slopes.

Makoshika - Day 3

Rerouted eroded trail that was built too steeply uphill.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Volunteering at Makoshika State Park

I finally did something I've been interested in for a while - went on a American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacation. This one was in eastern Montana, an area I had never been to before, despite having spent a fair bit of time in the western part of the state.

(To be accurate, I did once drive from Billings to South Dakota, so I had passed through part of eastern Montana. But I didn't see much.)


The above photo shows the flight from Billings to Glendive, where the park is located.

Makoshika - Day 1

Here you see a typical scenic view within the park. Notice that there are very few trees. It's not a good place to find shade.

Makoshika - Day 1

These caprock formations are common throughout the park. All these hills and formations are a strange contrast, because they are quite fragile, yet they've held up for a long time. Trail building is hard, because the ground probably won't hold up - yet the park is a rich source of dinosaur fossils.

I'll talk more about the trail work in another post.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Invasive species removal

Water chestnut removal

I spent Friday helping Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and volunteers from Tibbetts Brook Park remove water chestnut from the lake in the park. Water chestnut grows fast and smothers everything else in the lake, including fish.

The project is expected to take several years, and this year's work is a pilot. It's a rather slow process, but you can see in these two photos that it's possible to make a dent in the problem.

Water chestnut removal

Monday, July 9, 2018

End of the traverse

Mt. Jackson

After breakfast the next morning, I set out for Mt. Jackson. It was nice to take advantage of being on the traverse to reach a peak, rather than hauling up from the valley floor.

The trail was quiet, since day hikers from the valley hadn't reached the ridge yet. The trail passed through boggy areas, with modest ups and downs, then some modest rocky climbing. This was the first peak I found myself surprised to be approaching - the elevation gain from the hut is really quite low. The weather was quite lovely, and the views from the top were nice.

Mt. Jackson

I went down via the Webster-Jackson Trail, which is no joke.

Mt. Jackson

On the way down, the crowds picked up. What with it being a nice weekend day, they were considerable. Near the end, I stopped at Bugle Ledge for a snack, though, and had it to myself.

Mt. Jackson

From there I went around Saco Lake, back to the Highland Center, for one last night before the bus ride home.

It was disappointing to only make half the peaks, but that was always a possibility given the weather up there, and it was still a nice trip.

The middle of the Presi traverse

Valley Way

The Madison Springs hut woke up to bad news the next morning: Thunderstorms and rain all day. The hut croo advised that no one walk along the ridge to Lake of the Clouds but instead to descent to valley level.

While a few people did opt to go on, I decided it wasn't worth it. I'd have to skip past the summits anyway. Instead, I descended via Valley Way, which is supposed to be the most sheltered trail.

My initial plan was to take the shuttle over to the Highland Center and then climb up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, which is the most sheltered way up to the Lake of the Clouds hut. However, I didn't relish doing another mega climb for the second day in a row. So when I got to the Highland Center, I inquired about changing my reservation to stay there instead - and they could do that.

Mt. Pierce

The next day the weather cleared up - at least, it wasn't raining. However, it was very cloudy, which turned to fog at higher elevations. I followed the Crawford Path up to the top of Mt. Pierce, which was still wreathed in fog.

Mt. Pierce

However, within a few moments of sitting down to eat a snack, I watched the clouds blow away.

Mt. Pierce

From there I hiked down to the Mizpah Springs hut for another evening's rest.