Are we done yet??? YES, we're done! SHS students have completed the Paugussett Trail reroute at Birchbank. Not only that, but they also completed an extra reroute of Birchbank Trail that had been flagged out just in case the other stuff got done.
We split into two teams. The first team head down the hill to a deeply eroded switchbank on Birchbank Trail, where they proceeded to build a bypass trail. The erosion is largely due to years of illegal quads and dirt bikes chewing up the trail. It's become too difficult to walk.
This reroute was a spur of the moment project set up just in case we had a good turn out and finished rerouting the Paugussett. Good thing it was all flagged out! Although this reroute wasn't very long, one section did need to be banked into the side of the hill, and that's always a big job.
We basically extended the switchback to an overlook of the water chutes of Upper White Hills Brook. This provided both a scenic overlook and better footing. It was a great place for a well-deserved break. This team got the better break location, but then had to walk all the way back up the hill when they were done to get to the parking area.
The second team stayed up on the ridge and finished leveling off the Paugussett Trail tread. This is where we were working on our first day. Some parts had been finished off nicely, but many other parts were still pretty rough.
We spotted a coyote running along the hill down below us. This was the third time a coyote was seen running through that area in the last month, so I think there may be a den nearby.
Although the trail reroute is finished, it still needs to be blazed. Blazing takes longer than expected if you're doing quality blazes. It took me 20 hours to blaze 3/4 mile of yellow/blue trail at Tahmore last November. We'll also post some signs up alerts hikers to the new blaze colors.
The newly completed Paugussett reroute will gain a blue blaze. Part of this route joins Birchbank Trail and will have two blazes: one white and one blue. The old Paugussett section that is being replaced will be demoted to a blue/white connector trail. It's still a good trail, but I think people hiking the Paugussett from Monroe to Shelton Lakes will enjoy scenic features of the reroute better, especially the restored Houstanic Overlook.
Here's a list of all the students who helps out for the third work party: