Sunday, November 25, 2018

Great Turnout for the Turkey Trot Hike

The warm, sunny weather brought quite a turnout for today's hike on the Turkey Trot Trail -- 42 people, 2 dogs, no turkeys. We enjoyed a leisurely walk and dodged a few mud puddles from last night's heavy rain. A good time was had by all! Thanks to all who participated.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Paugussett Reroute at Indian Well: Blowdown Brook to Hickory Hill

"Before" (looking northbound)
A short but annoying stretch of the Paugussett has been bypassed with a reroute at Indian Well. This section was part of a long, straight walk up a moderately steep slope as the trail climbed up "Hickory Hill" (the hill on which Hickory Lane is located). Because of the long hill, there was a lot of erosion, and a gully about a foot deep had formed in the worst section. At the bottom of the gully was a pile of leaves and of course some random cobbles and sticks under the leaves that could turn an ankle. So you had to go really slow and watch your step. It was just steep enough that a group of hikers in light snow couldn't make it up the hill and were forced to turn back.

"After" (looking southbound)
The reroute curves back and forth along the slope, roughly parallel with the old section. Some parts had to be side-hilled. The new section is less steep, and the curves allow water to drain from the tread before getting up too much speed and washing out the trail. Hiking down the hill is a lot more pleasant now!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Indian Well Reroute at Bridge

Trail reroute due to an advancing giant gully

CFPA Trail Managers Terry & Teresa Gallagher completed a 300-ft reroute of the Paugussett Trail at Indian Well State Park next to the pedestrian bridge near the beach area. The original trail was pretty steep, but a more serious problem was an advancing gully beside the trail that is 15 to 30 feet deep . The gully threatened to undermine the existing route. The old route descended along the stream, while the new route moves away from the stream quickly.

"Before". Lots of barberry
It probably wasn't done before because of all the thorny barberry. A gas-powered brush cutter really helped.

We'll have to stay on top of the resprouting barberry during the 2019 growing season. We were able to dig some of it out, and will probably dig out more.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Paugussett Work Party Thoreau Drive

Terry Gallagher and crew install the second fence
The Trails Committee and volunteers worked on the Paugussett Trail north of Thoreau Drive where the trail slips through a twenty-foot-wide open space corridor between houses. The trail was shifted earlier this year after we had the property surveyed and discovered part of the trail was on private property.

Mark Vollaro and Jim Taradine work on the first section of fencing
 After the subdivision was constructed, no one really knew exactly where the open space boundaries were located. Trail managers took a guess and neighbors just mowed whatever the developer had cleared. Once the property line was established, we were able to move the trail to the best location based on the topography. This lead to neighbor concerns that hikers might leave the trail, so a fence needed to be installed in two locations.
John Giliotti attack some rock in the treadway
The new trail tread was also uneven, so volunteers worked at hacking out some ledge and leveling things off.  

Mark Vollaro, Jim Taradine, Luis Isaza, and Val Gosset work on the 2nd fence
Two fences were installed, one with two sections and the other with four sections. Hikers should feel more comfortable in knowing the location of boundaries of the public property on which they walk.

The new fence helps delineate the trail
The opposite side of the twenty-foot open space corridor was previously delineated with some new plantings, allowing room for the new shrubs and trees to grow. It's hoped that the corridor will re-vegetate over the next several years, providing a better hiking experience.  

Paugussett Trail Manager Terry Gallagher is happy with how everything turned out

Friday, November 9, 2018

Paugussett Reroute at the Monroe Border

"After" - Reroute at the top of the obsolete stairs
A long set of steep stairs have been rotting near the Monroe border. New steps are a lot of work, and expensive, too. Purchasing, cutting, and hauling new timbers and stakes is a big job, and that's just the beginning. And then the steps have to keep getting replaced every ten years or so.

"Before" - Top of the rotting stairs
This year, a bypass route was dug into the side of the steep hill, made possible in part by a recent land survey. The stairs were replaced by a switchback that takes hikers directly to the bottom of the hill.
New switchback helps replace the stairs
It was a lot of digging in, but not much more work than replacing the stairs, and it's definitely less work in the long run.

Lower leg of the switchback
Even so, it was a lot of muddy work. Lots of rain this season.

Trail had to be dug into the side of the hill during some wet weather
The crossing location for Round Hill Brook was also moved, so instead of continuing downhill along the brook, crossing into Monroe, and then following the brook back up the hill, the trail crosses immediately into Webb Mountain Park. The new crossing location is immediately below the old stairs.

Round Hill Brook and the Shelton-Monroe town line at Webb Mtn Park
The old stream crossing had become very difficult. Maybe it was once easier with stepping stones, but those stones washed out. The new location is much easier to cross, even when the water is a bit high.

Joining the old route at Webb Mtn Park
Once across the stream, it's only a few feet of new trail in Monroe before the old Paugussett route is rejoined.

The old Paugussett Route was converted to blue/red at Webb Mtn. 

The abandoned Paugussett route in Monroe was reblazed to blue/red, since people definitely walk this old road along the brook. It leads to the orange and red trails near the camping area (the red trail leading to Goat Rock overlook). The blue/red blaze signifies a trail connecting the blue and red trails. Previously, a portion of this route was unblazed and a bit confusing.