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Mt Clinton Trailwork, Mt Jackson
October 13-15, 2006

Route: Crawford Path, Mizpah Cutoff,
Webster Cliff Trail, Mt Clinton Trail,
Webster-Jackson Trail
Map:
 
Elevation: Mizpah Springs Hut - 3800 ft
Mt Clinton trailwork - 3340-3800 ft
Mt Jackson - 4052 ft
Vertical Climb: 2830 ft
Distance: 9.0 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

Day 1

This was my third trip performing trail maintenance on my recently-adopted trail, the Mt Clinton Trail. In addition to my small bow saw, I brought a pair of pruning shears and borrowed a medium-sized pair of loppers from the AMC toolbox at the train depot. I was going to concentrate on trimming the branches of the small balsam firs and red spruce that had encroached upon the trail, nearly obliterating it in spots. Although I had done some trimming in June, I took a class on trail maintenance in September, and learned that I could be a bit more aggressive in my trimming, even on a wilderness trail.

I left the Crawford Path Trailhead around suppertime, knowing that it would get dark on the way up. I had my headlamp, a spare headlamp, and spare batteries, so I didn't anticipate any problems, especially since I was familiar with the trail. It got dark enough to turn on my headlamp about halfway up to the Mizpah Cutoff. It's quite a different experience hiking in the dark, with only a narrow field of view illuminated by the LEDs in my headlamp.

The hut was certainly not crowded. Everyone there was either a croo member or some kind of volunteer like me, including a pair who were maintaining the Dry River Cutoff. In my bunkroom, it was just me and a couple who were there to work as volunteer greeters for the weekend.

Day 2

After breakfast the next morning, I gathered my tools together and hit the trail. Actually, I had most of my tools. The one thing I seemed to have forgotten were my work gloves, but I was lucky enough to be able to borrow an extra pair from the croo. The upper part of the Mt Clinton Trail, between the hut and the Dry River Cutoff, was in pretty good shape, so I didn't need to do any work there. But beyond that, it was still fairly overgrown, even with the work I had done on two previous trips.

It was extremely slow going. There were endless branches that needed trimming, and even a number of small trees growing in the middle of the trail that I decided to completely lop off. I never even got to use my saw as there were no new blowdowns. After switching back and forth between my pruning shears and the medium-sized loppers a few times, I decided to stick to the loppers to make it easier.

I worked on the trail from about 8 in the morning to 4:30, then climbed back up to the hut to rest up for supper. There were quite a few more guests staying at the hut by this time; my bunkroom was full except for an empty bunk beneath me, which made it easy for me to spread out. After a hearty dinner, I relaxed in my bunk with a good book for the rest of the evening.

Mt Tom silhouette. The sun was setting as I headed up the Crawford Path to Mizpah Hut.

My bunk at Mizpah Springs Hut. The first night wasn't crowded, but the second night was nearly full.

Hallway at Mizpah Springs Hut. The bunkrooms and bathrooms are situated on both sides of this hallway, which is a half-floor above the dining room.

Mizpah Springs Hut. Fall, and even a hint of winter, was definitely in the air on this trip, with patches of ice and a dusting of snow in shady spots.

Mt Clinton Trail sign. The upper end of the Mt Clinton Trail begins in the clearing outside of the hut, and ends at the Dry River Trail, about 1900 feet of elevation lower.

Mt Clinton Trail. The trail was still fairly overgrown, even with the work I did on two previous trips.

Self-portrait on the Mt Clinton Trail. Most of the work I did on this trip was brushing. There were no new blowdowns, and I planned to wait until the next year to attack the drainages.

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