Green Mountain Club
Montpelier Section

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Spring Work Hike to Bamforth Ridge
Trail Talk description: Bamforth Ridge. Prepare Long Trail for hiking season: remove blowdowns, add puncheons, and other related jobs. All abilities. Wear work gloves.
The plan was based on a scouting hike by Reidun N, Fred J, and Andrew N on Thursday 16 May. The customary spring chainsaw walk-through from Couching Lion to Duxbury Road was not scheduled since we have received no reports of problems (and there were no serious storms this winter).
We want to have enough work for everyone who attends, so there are more tasks listed than will actually be done.

Priority TaskTools
1Everyone: remove small downed branches; remove leaves from stepped-on stones; clipping; brushing in at all 90-degree turns
1Waterbar cleaning north of Wiley site. 4-6 people.Hazel hoes, shovels
218-inch tree about 0.5 miles in. This will be done on the return trip.Chain saw
2Bamforth Ridge Shelter (BRS): Clean "burn spot" and spur to water. Pick up chain saw. Add steps if needed.Hazel hoe (on site)
3Cut down 2 leaners at BRS tent platformsChainsaw
3Stepping stone at brook south of the "Great Ditch"Pick-mattock or 4-foot bar
4Install 3rd puncheon 0.25 miles N of Bamforth Shelter. Drain this area. Also, drain area S of "Bannister".

The day was cool and sunny. We followed the plan made the previous Thursday by Fred, Reidun, and Andrew.

We assembled at Montpelier High School and decided which of 3 work units to join and made carpooling arrangements. We arrived at Duxbury Road trailhead about 8:45, took a group photo, and headed out between 8:50 and 9:10.

A group of 7, led the the N's, worked from the trail head to Duxbury Window. They cleaned drainages, moved the winter's detritus from the trail, and cleaned stepping rocks. They brought a small rake, which proved useful in cleaning rocks and removing leaves from drainages. Hazel hoes were used to remove gravel and shape the drainage.

An offshoot of this group broadened the sidehilling on several spots. They also rechannelled water on a brook crossing. A rotted log had redirected water towards the south side of the brook. The tree was removed and the channel straightened. The south side was rebuilt with several rip-rap rocks. 2 treadway rocks were added.

A group of 2 proceeded to the puncheon site at mile 2.5. They dug a 25-foot drain, which lowered the water level to the footers on the puncheon. They also trimmed a tree on the west side which allows hikers to skirt a wet spot on the east side with a very short dogleg. They added rocks to the area between the dogleg and the second puncheon. They result was that hikers now have a dry footpath. Installing a third puncheon was not necessary.

A group of 7 proceeded directly to Bamforth Ridge Shelter. They completed all their tasks before lunch: checking the path to water, removing 2 burn spots, cutting 1 tree overhanging the tent platform, and installing clothesline hooks in the back of the shelter. (The 2nd hanging tree at the tent platform was recognized as a tree purposefully left standing in 2002 and was again ignored. It is securely lodge against another tree in in no peril of falling.)

After lunch, we added 5 dips in the section just south of the spur trail. There is clear evidence of water running down the trail, although no serious erosion is evident.

We also examined the start of the climb, about mile 2.9, where hikers must ascend roots of a large birch tree or slide down a rock. This spot was yellow-flagged in 2002. We considered possibilities, and recommended that this be a special project in the next few years for the section. The trail should be adjusted as follows: At the left side of the rock, sidehill and ascend gradually; make a small switchback, head for the low spot with bare rock, then continue to the right and rejoin the Long Trail. There is plenty of fractured rock just above the top of the proposed adjustment which can be used to build 3-4 steps at the top. This will require a half-dozen people for a day (maybe 2) for the sidehill work, and 1-2 days with a 4-person rock crew using rock bars. (Grip hoist is not necessary.) The work can be done over several years if necessary.

Having completed our work, we returned earlier than expected. They last workers were in the parking lot by 3:30.


We felt the trail is one of the best on the Long Trail system. All work items were addressed. The Bamforth Ridge Shelter was well designed, built well, and continues to be well maintained.

Participants: John B, Kathy G, Doris W, Eric S, George R, Priscilla P, Ken H, Thomas W, Andrew N, Reidun N, Allen J, Michael C, Matt L, Dave B, Fred J, Bill C (15 section members)
© 2018 Montpelier Section of The Green Mountain Club, Inc.     Top    Sun 5 Aug 2018