Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tahmore Trail Tamed

A crack squad of volunteers (or a squad of volunteers on crack depending on your perspective) cleaned up the Tahmore Trail this morning.  The Tahmore trails are on land owned by the Shelton Land Conservation Trust and tie into the Paugussett Trail overlooking Indian Well and the State Park.  The volunteers split up into pairs and moved off clearing blowdowns and removing limbs, leaves, and slippery items from the trails.

Here's Rich and John clearing a section of trail on the northern half of the loop.  The Tahmore Trail is a rolling figure 8 that ties into the Paugussett Trail.  It is an easy access off the end of Tahmore Place without the climb up from the Indian Well parking lot on Birchbank Road.

Frankenstorm Sandy did not leave this hillside untouched.  This oak was off the trail and it looks like someone set off dynamite inside the trunk.

Luckily this wasn't hung up over the trail.  I don't even want to think how to cut this one down safely.  We'll have to put in for some C4 on our expense account if Rich can get us some on E-bay.

Here's John clearing out more of the upland trail.  Tahmore and the Paugussett Trail in this area are in open hardwoods and offer some nice views of the Housatonic River.  We even discussed taking out a few trees to improve views of the River from The Overlook.

It was a fun and productive work party.  Joe and Ryan Welch, Rich Jim, Sandie, Lynn, John, and Luis were a big help and made short work of the job.  Joe collecting 15 cents in old beer cans and Ryan made us all hungry for crab cakes with his fishing tales.  Thanks to Bob and Rob U. for taking care of the park.

Join us on Thursday, December 27th at 1:00 for a guided hike.  Meet at the end of Tahmore Place off Village Road in the White Hills.  It should be good hike for families with kids who are home from school. Enjoy a fun and safe Holidays on Shelton's trails. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

CFPA Volunteers Work Miracles on the Paugussett Trail

A dedicated group of volunteers met at the Methodist Meeting House in Monroe Sunday to clear a massive pine blowdown that was blocking the upper Paugussett Trail.  The crew went in on East Village Road about 0.15 miles west of Barn Hill Road.  At first it looked bad, but not too bad.

Then we crossed the powerlines, and it looked like a lumberyard.  And not a tidy lumberyard at that.  Hurricane Sandy had leveled dozens and dozens of pines of all sizes; several 30"+ in diameter.

One volunteer sawyer from CFPA  had been in earlier and dropped a lot of trees, but there were many logs on the ground or still lodged in blowdowns that had to be bucked up and cleared.

I don't know who the guy was that cut all those trees, but I can tell you one thing, he was good; really, really, really good with a saw.  Bill; the resident trail manager from CFPA called in for help because he didn't have a chain saw.  He should've called for a grapple truck and a log skidder.

After a while with two chainsaws going and a lot of hands rolling, dragging, and tumbling logs a trail began to re-emerge from the mist.  John in particular was impressive with the the way he was throwing logs out of the way; "They're light" he said "They're only pine".   

The CFPA folks were well organized.  Glen had brought some pre-painted shingles that the nailed up on trees as temporary blazes where they had to re-route the trail around blowdowns.

They also packed in all their tools, including the chainsaws, on modified frame backpacks.

Eventually the trail was cleared over to the old Hoop Skirt Dam on Boys Halfway River.  There used to be a mill downstream of the dam that made Hoop Skirts back in the 1800's.  Not much call for those today, but the river was pretty.

This is the "After" picture of what the Paugussett Trail looks like through the pine maze once the trail was raked.  I though that we had done some tough clearing of storm damage, but this takes the cake.  Many thanks to all the CFPA volunteers out there who take care of the 800 miles of Blue-Blazed Trails across Connecticut.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Successful Saturday at Boehm Pond

The Shelton Trails Committee and some great volunteers cleared ALL the blowdowns from the Boehm Pond Trail system on Saturday.  An eight person work party armed with a variety of loppers, rakes, chain saws, and leaf blowers cleared about 1.5 miles of trails in under 3 hours.  It was an excellent effort.

Sheri Dutkanicz and Mike Clay did a great job clearing the trail.  It was Mike's first trail work party and he came armed for bear; with a chain saw in one hand and a leaf blower in the other.  Excellent job Mike!

We fanned out from Farmill Street and tackled different sections of the trail.  Luis and Lynn cleared out the white and yellow loop.  Jim, Rich & Sandy moved over to Winthrop Woods Road and attacked the worst of the blow downs.

This was a typical before picture:  one oak tree came down and took out another oak and they both landed in a pile across the trail.

A little strategic whittling later (note the safety equipment), the trees were out of the way.

Here's Rich and Sandy clearing the trail down from Winthrop Woods Road.  There were a number of trees cleared at the stream crossing.  The yellow trail was in decent shape; but Luis, Mike and Lynn cleared out that loop too.  Jim and company also cleared out to Boehm Pond, and took out a large pine top that was blocking access to the footbridge.  Anybody hardy enough to go fishing now is back in business.

It was grey and raw but except for a little sleet the weather held off.  After the work party members of the trail party headed over to the Huntington Street Cafe for brunch and something hot to drink.  Unfortunately, we discovered that they don'e serve Irish Coffee (boy are they missing a market there), but the brunch was delicious anyways and the coffee was hot.  We should do this more often.  It was a good turnout - thanks to everybody who came.