Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Birchbank Connector Reroute

The latest reroute is shown in purple

There have been a number of reroutes at Birchbank over the years to address sections of trail that were either deeply eroded or overly steep (and therefore becoming eroded). The latest one is near the top of the blue/white connector, which was formerly the Paugussett Trail until that trail was moved up the hill to the overlook. 

The new route has turns where water can be directed off the trail

The Birchbank Connector is a nice trail allowing people to create a heart-pumping loop past the overlook. There were two problems, though. First, part of this trail was ridiculously steep and quite hazardous if going down the hill when leaves are on the trail. There are leaves on the trail for most of the year, so that was a real problem.

Second, the steep section was developing erosion issues. The trail is about twenty-five years old, but it was really just the past few years that a lot of people started to walk (or run) it routinely. That wear and tear straight down a steep hill was predictably leading to the formation of a gully down the middle of the trail, which would have necessitated a series of water bars. 

The new trails heads up a scenic valley

The new route is still moderately steep, but it has strategic turns and flat areas where water can be diverted off of the trail, hopefully reducing future erosion issues. 

One of several stone piles

The new section runs up through a deep, broad valley, passing several large boulder where the old people placed some stones. Why? There are several possibilities. Farmers would put stones on boulders to get them out of the way. This doesn't seem likely, since the area is a real boulder field and there are no stone walls indicating the land was used for farming. 

A second possibility is the stones were marking an old property line. This seems more likely. 

A third possibility is the rocks were place by Native Americans for ceremonial or remembrance purposes. 

We'll probably never know how the rocks got there. But it can be fun to ponder as you walk past. By the way, this is one reason it's best not to start moving rocks about to build unnecessary cairns or whatever. You might accidentally upset something created a few hundred years ago. 

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