Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tahmore Trail 2.0 Blazes and Benching

Anybody see a trail here??
In November, CFPA asked Terry & Teresa (the one writing this post) to become Trail Managers for the Paugussett Trail from the Monroe border to Indian Well State Park, including the side trail known locally as Tahmore Trail. The first order of business was to assess the trail and see what needs to be done. We decided to start with Tahmore Trail on the assumption it had been overlooked for several years. 

A very faded blue/yellow blaze

We were right. Wow.  Many of the blazes were faded, and with a thick covering of fresh oak leaves on the ground, finding the trail was not easy. First order of business: Reblaze. There were also a few areas with brush that needed to be cut back and some blowdowns to be removed. Finally, the trail has always suffered from poor footing. There are a few steep spots, but worse is the cross slope along one section. The combination of the cross slope and slippery oak leaves made the trail downright hazardous, even when I was wearing microspikes on my boots, so the trail needed to be leaf-blown immediately. Lots of work to do! 

There. That's better. 
The previous blazes were the tradition CFPA blue blaze with a yellow "dot", signifying that the trail was a side trail off of the Paugussett. CFPA has changed that style of blaze because it required the blue paint to dry before the yellow paint was added over it. The new style consists of the top two thirds of the blaze painted blue, and the bottom 1/3 painted a secondary color, in this case yellow.

Clarified trail junction. Go left to the Paugussett Trail,
right to do the Tahmore Loop. 
We reblazed about 3/4 of the trail, but left a section unblazed where it comes very close to homes and backyards while we think about a possible reroute. That section is easy to follow, so we're not too worried about people losing the trail. There is some yellow survey flagging out there marking the possible reroute. The new route would take the trail up the hill to an open area and seasonal views. 

Before: bad cross slope, faded blazes. Where's the trail??
After we got the trail back to where people could follow it, we decided to improve the footing along a hundred-foot stretch where there was a steep drop, a bad cross slope and a steep rise. This section was rerouted to follow the contours and eliminate the drop, but to do so had to be benched into the side of the hill. It's a lot of work, but is a huge improvement. We will be looking for Eagle Scouts and others who are interested in improving the footing along this trail. Many opportunities here!

Benching in a trail is hard work. 
Rocks in the treadway are moved to the downhill side.
Much better! The original trail was about 30 feet down hill. 

Update 12/28/2015: 

For Christmas, Emma Gallagher routered up a sign for the Paugussett/Tahmore junction as her father's present. Check it out: 

Also, we've proposed the following reroute to the Shelton Land Trust. The reroute would move the trail away from backyards and driveways, and add in a scenic hilltop with partial seasonal views of the Housatonic River: 

Proposed reroute
The reroute would go here instead of next to people's back yards. 


  1. Nice work! The Gallaghers did it again!

  2. This looks great, Teresa and Terry. I think SLCT will totally support the reroute. Thank you so much for taking the initiative.