It was a beautiful Fall morning for a Paugussett Trail work party, but as we were turning on Indian Well Road the cops at the intersection asked if we were going to the Regatta. "Oh, you're going to Trails" the officer said with a pleasant smile looking in the back of the car at the rakes and chainsaws, "Well good luck with parking". Yup, we scheduled a Trail Work Party at Indian Well State Park on the same day as the Head of the Housatonic Rowing Regatta; one of the largest rowing events in the northeast.
As it turned out we had most of the little parking lot by The Maples to ourselves, but as we watched the line of school buses, trailers with rowing shells, and school vans carrying all the teams rolling by we wondered how long that would last. We were putting fine touches on the Paugussett Trail Southern Extension in anticipation of CFPA mapping the trail by GPS for formal inclusion into the Blue Blaze Trail System. Some of us headed off to Mayflower Lane and worked northward to avoid everybody getting blocked in. The rest headed across the meadow and into the woods.
Jeff & Anthony raked, Jim weedwacked, Bill chainsawed, Rich leaf blowed and Lynn, Bill, Jim, Ian, John and Terry spread out and cleaned up the trail.
John and Ian are walking along the trail that follows a historic road running past an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Workers from the CCC built the stone walls and roads leading to Indian Well State Park as a conservation program during The Great Depression in the 1930's.
The volunteers cleared up a lot of trash and leaves that collect along the wall from Rt. 110 down into Indian Well. New blue trail blazes were recently painted as requested by CFPA during a field review last month.
One of the tasks was to repair some stone steps that had washed out in places. The stairs were built in gravel at the end of one of the retaining walls and had some severe problems. Steps were rebuilt or extended, large stones were scavenged from downhill and laboriously carried up the steep slope across slippery dry leaves, new treads were added, coping stones were placed along the edges.
Stair building takes a surprisingly long amount of time. It might not look as elegant as some stairs, but it is a lot safer and easier to walk down than it was. If there's any complaints blame Rich, he came back to help and as such inherits all responsibility.
Trail Safety Tip: If you're dropping two heavy rocks on top of a third rock, make sure your fingers and toes are clear first.
Once the stars stopping swimming in front of my eyes and I could breath again I uttered a number of unprintable things. Luckily no children's ears were nearby to hear how much I enjoyed The Granite Kiss. One of the occupational hazards of trail building, but pretty minor compared to the shape of some of the other Trail Committee members right now.
Other that that it was a successful and safe work party, and as it turned out our cars were not blocked in by the Regatta. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people were out enjoying a warm beautiful day on the Housatonic River. Everybody can also now enjoy the new Paugussett Trail Extension this Fall.