May 7, 2005
Smugglers Notch Work Hike
We left from Montpelier with only three of us (Duncan W, Rick M and Michael C), so I thought it would be a quick work hike. At the notch we met two more workers waiting for us (Bill C and Ken H). I was informed that another worker (Fred J) would arrive around noon time and come up Elephants Head Trail and meet us in the early afternoon. Our plans were to concentrate on the Sterling Pond Trail because of the much needed work on the water bars. So the crew of five started cleaning water bars has we went up the Trail. Shortly after we started we were joined by the two adopters for Sterling Pond Shelter (Jordan and Lia) and they had brought two parents with them (Carol and Neil), so the work crew was growing in size.
We only got a short distance up the trail when we noticed the snow, which had been absent from the ground in the notch below, was everywhere around us and deeply over the trail. The work hike should have been advertised as a snowshoe instead. For the morning we worked on the lower third of Sterling Pond Trail. The rest was still deeply buried in snow, 2-4' deep in places. Some workers went ahead to the Sterling Pond Shelter site to start preparing it for the new shelter. The general area around the shelter was free of snow!
The two shelter adopters and parents spend much time picking up trash where the trail crosses the ski trails and at the shelter site, and then headed back down around noontime. Another worker (Ed L) showed-up at the shelter site late in the morning to round out the work crew to a total of 11. We inspected the two privies and Watson Camp and made plans for the major site clean-up on May 22nd while having lunch at the shelter site. Two members of the work party planned to go down the Elephants Head Trail to meet one member of the crew coming up the same trail. But they had to turn around because of very deep snow, and we all went down the Sterling Pond Trail. Reached our cars around 3 pm and most headed home.
Bill C and I stayed at the Elephant Heads Trail head to make sure the last worker got safely down around 5:30 pm. We had a good time but did not get many water bars cleaned out, because most were under deep snow still!
Duncan Wilkie, Trails/Shelters Coordinator