October 30, 2005
Sue, Kim, Maureen, and Paul and I enjoyed this easy hike to the old cabin foundation just under the summit on a sunny, crisp fall day. There was enough snow on the ground higher up so that a few feet got wet. Paul and I continued up to the tower. It was wet and sloppy, with water running on the rocks and deep puddles.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that earlier in the month, the bureaucrats at Forests and Parks decided to improve (translation: mutilate) a significant section of the tower trail. They "reasoned" that because of the difficulty of a short section, hikers were bushwhacking around the rocks, causing erosion possibly leading to long term damage. They hired the permanent trail crew of the GMC, whom I found expertly attacking the problem with a power winch and jack hammer one day in early October. They were creating steps, and had divided in half the rise of one of the boulders that presented a challenge to hikers, a challenge that I and many others looked forward to for safe, easy ice practice to get ready for winter each year.
Indeed, many hikers on this popular trail do bushwhack, almost always to get around the ice which is common to this trail in Fall and Spring. The changes in the trail will do nothing to prevent this: the iciest section, the one part that is impassible by any means except crampons when icy, will still motivate the same bushwhack as before. No changes were made in this section. This bushwhack, in fact, is recorded in the trip report of my Elmore hike of last winter. Further, the segments where most of the work was done were in fact not the segments that presented hikers of limited ability with enough challenge to cause them to walk around. It would have been simpler and much cheaper to put up a few ladders on the steepest parts of the bushwhacks. These are the only spots where erosion could possibly be a problem. Hikers experiencing difficulty could use these, and the trail might have been left intact for the majority of hikers who enjoyed the trail as it was and are not at all pleased with these changes.