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Section Reports (7/03)

Leg Stretchers and Loose Connections

“It’s just a little leg stretcher,” I answer to an on-trail inquiry about my destination. “I’m going up for only an hour.” A little leg stretcher is a term I coined some time ago to describe those brief forays into the woods that are more than a walk but fall short of a full day excursion to a distant destination. Some are planned, but more often than not “little leg stretchers” are those spur-of-the moment hikes when it’s just too beautiful not to be out there, but I have only a few hours to carve out of my day. Once warm-up hikes to longer and tougher trips, little leg stretchers now match my mellowed peak-bagging enthusiasm (and possibly my fitness level too) but certainly don’t diminish any sense of enjoyment and well-being gained by being out on the trail.

And here’s another leg stretcher. Remember the water bar pledge? Marty Lawthers issued a challenge last summer to clean two water bars per hike. You don’t need to carry any special tools and it only takes about five minutes. Here’s the procedure, from GMC Field Supervisor Pete Antos-Ketchum:

  • With the heel or outside edge of your hiking boot, dig out any debris that has accumulated on the uphill side of the water bar.
  • With the side of your boot, scuff away any major leaf piles immediately above the water bar.
  • Dig out the drainage channel to make sure that the water is diverted down and away from the trail. The heel of your boot makes a great shovel!

And speaking of challenges, did you check out the back page of the latest issue of the Long Trail News? If so, then you’re already aware of the Club’s current membership drive, complete with incentive coupons, to reach a goal of 10,000 members by April 2004. The Burlington Section currently has about 800 members. How about a Section goal of 1000 members by January 2004!

Recently, I participated in a pilot GMC membership “phonathon”, contacting former members whose memberships had lapsed. What’s the old adage – ‘what goes around, comes around’. My treatment of telephone solicitors is far from stellar – I was afraid this could be payback time! How wrong I was! Overall, the response was very positive. Most folks asked to receive information about rejoining and one renewed his membership on the spot.

One last comment: Raise your trail maintenance skills to new heights! A reminder that trails above tree line are available for adoption. Adopters will be required to attend an Alpine Skills field program (free!) July 12, 2003. Call GMC to register. Contact Sue Girouard at 644-5941 or if interested in adopting a trail.

Light Turn-out, Trails in Good Shape

Trails Report by Pam Gillis

At this writing, we have completed 4 of our 5 spring trail work outings (Long Trail walk through). The turnout has been lower than in any recent years, just 3 to 7 people (including leaders), probably due to the fact that the trail work outings were left off the Spring Schedule by mistake. However, the trails are in good shape and we’ve been able to do basic maintenance on lots of trails. We’ve done most of the work with groups of 2 or 3. We’ve taken some blown-down trees with the chain saw, but there weren’t many down. The late spring means that the clipping needed was less than usual. The adopters will need to do some clipping in the summer after there has been more growth.

The Boy Scout troop that has adopted the LT from Jonesville to Bolton Notch Road is going out several days to do blazing and trail clearing. We covered that trail with 2 volunteers to do the required chain saw work.

Our work outings have covered the LT up to Butler, except for the section above Bolton Valley that’s planned for National Trails Day. We’ve also done some maintenance (amount varying from trail to trail) on Nebraska Notch, Butler Lodge, Lake Mansfield, Sunset Ridge, and Halfway House Trails.

We’ve encountered almost no bugs so far. The sun was out and temperatures pleasantly cool for the first two outings. We had cool (almost cold) temperatures and on and off rain for the next two outings. It’s better to be wet and cold than have black flies and mosquitoes surrounding us!

As you hike this year, let us know of any trail problems you find. You can send reports for the Rt. 2 to Rt. 108 trails from the Burlington Section GMC web page or phone Sue Girouard, 644-5941, trail adopter coordinator (and Burlington Section President). If the problem is not between Rt. 2 and Rt. 108, contact the GMC in Waterbury Center, 244-7037.