Traditional Ladder – Hi-Cannon Trail, Cannon Mountain
Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship – Today’s blog article focuses on a keyword search term. I chose one search term, trail ladder, and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents this area of trail stewardship. And because staircases and ladders are often considered to be one and the same among some hikers, I have included trail staircases.
Here in the New Hampshire White Mountains, we have some steep trails. And if it wasn’t for trail ladders we would have a heck of a time hiking up and down some trails. Can you imagine ascending or descending the Six Husbands Trail or the Hi-Cannon Trail without ladders? Six Husbands Trail would be interesting.
Appalachian Trail – Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire
Rock Cairns, Trail Stewardship – A rock cairn is a man-made pile of rocks that marks a landmark or the route of a hiking trail above tree line. They have been used for many centuries and vary in size from one foot to massive piles of rocks. The word “cairn” is Scottish and means a “heap of stones”. Cairns are found throughout the New Hampshire White Mountains, and they make great photo subjects. My favorite ones are along the Appalachian Trail on the summit of Mount Moosilauke.
For some time now there has been an increasing concern about rock stacking (random piles of rocks) on public lands. People are innocently building rock cairn look a likes along beaches, rivers, and trails, and it is drawing both positive and negative attention. Out west, rock stacking is a major problem. Here in the White Mountains, fake cairns built along the trails can cause navigation confusion for hikers, but that is for another blog article.
Blowdown – Mt Kinsman Trail, White Mountains
National Trails Day, White Mountains – Today is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, an annual event held on the first Saturday in June. And the intention of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for America's Trail system. Today is also a day to recognize the work of volunteers who do trail maintenance along the trails. On this day events are held in every state, and range from biking, hiking, picking up trash, to doing volunteer trail work.
Today, I am going to limit the photography talk. And use this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who put in countless hours to make the trails of the White Mountains better. Without your dedication, the trails in the White Mountains really would be in shambles, and I think some trails would be abandoned.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
Bad Trail Blaze Removal, Trail Work – Since 2011, I have been making regular trips to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire to photograph a yellow birch tree that has fallen victim to vandalism. I am using repeat photography, also known as photo monitoring, to show the impact of improper trail blaze removal. This type of photography is useful for educating land stewards and others about responsible environmental stewardship.
In October of 2011, I documented newly applied trail blazing (above) along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley. Sometime in the spring of 2012, the blaze on the left side of the yellow birch tree in the above image was improperly removed from the tree. And a large wound (below) where rot, fungus, and insects could enter the tree was visible. The bark, where the blaze was, appeared to have been cut and peeled away from the tree.
October 2011 – New Stonework, Mt Tecumseh Trail
Trail Hillside Erosion, Trail Work – The included images show how a section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire has elapsed over time. The first two images are from October 2011 and the last image is from May 2016. The intent of this visual journal is to record the progression of hillside erosion on the left side of the trail and to document how this section of trail holds up to foot traffic.
I am using a technique known as photo monitoring to document this section of trail. Photo monitoring consists of repeat photography of an area over a period of time. Photo monitoring is used in land management to help recognize issues that are not immediately obvious from one or two visits to a location. The ending result is a permanent visual record and journal that showcases the environmental changes of a particular location.
Davis Path Reconstruction – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Davis Path, Trail Work – In July of 2012, I had the opportunity to hike into the Dry River Wilderness in the New Hampshire White Mountains to photograph stonework that is being built along the Davis Path. A professional AMC Trail crew, with the help of volunteers, is working on a trail project repairing heavy erosion damage along a section of Davis Path.
With the use of low impact practices and adhering to trail maintenance guidelines, this trail crew is doing an outstanding job repairing the trail. The stonework looks excellent, blends in well with its surroundings, and should last for years. The care being taken to conserve Davis Path is awesome. Kudos to the trail crew!