Many hikers are already familiar with the impressive work that is being done by the Shelburne Trails Club (STC). But for those who are not, then please click HERE to read a short news article about this trail club. Dick Lussier, a Shelburne resident and active hiker, is the president of the STC. Under his leadership, a group of dedicated volunteers has restored many abandoned trails throughout the town of Shelburne, such as the trail to Middle Mountain, and the Scudder Trail to Mt. Ingalls.
Recently, I volunteered to help the STC by doing a bit of trail work that was small in scope, but every little bit helps! My mission was simply to remove saplings and generally brush out an old corridor (about 0.2 mile long) that connects the Middle Mountain Trail with the upper end of the Millbrook Road. Although this task took a couple of hours, it wasn't difficult work.
To access my "job site", I used the recently restored trail up to Middle Mountain. This trail begins on North Road (about 2.4 miles from the west junction of Route 2 and North Road). I've heard the first part of this trail referred to as the Gates Brook Trail, as well as the Gates Brook Road (a former logging road). Regardless, trailhead parking is conveniently located on North Road at a nice semicircular pull-off which is large enough to accommodate about 4-5 cars. But, be aware that the trailhead itself is NOT located directly across the street from this parking area. You need to walk about 50 ft westward on North Road to access the start of this trail (look for a red fire hydrant).
The composite photo below shows a portion of the semicircular pull-off for parking, as well as the fire hydrate adjacent to the Gates Brook Road.
And to complete this picture, shown below is the trailhead sign.
After about a half-mile of pleasant hiking on this old woods road, you come to a trail junction. At this juncture, the orange-blazed trail to Middle Mountain continues straight ahead. However, off to your left you will see a cute little wooden bridge across Gates Brook. This bridge leads to private property.
And then, off to your right, you will see the trail heading off to Mt. Crag (named as the Yellow Trail on most hiking maps). You might want to consider working this little 1,412 ft mountain into your agenda. Although it is small in size, it has a BIG view. I didn't have time to visit Mt. Crag on this trip, but shown below is a snapshot taken from there on another occasion. The Presidential Range is the focal point of this particular scene.
I hiked for about another 0.4 mile beyond the trail junction that I just described above. It was at this point where I began my trail work. There is new sign at this location as shown below.
As indicated at the beginning of this Blog report, my mission was to remove saplings and generally brush out a short segment of trail about a 0.2 mile long. It was moderately overgrown, and took a couple of hours to complete the task.
Eventually this short segment of trail joins the Millbrook Road. As of the time this report was written, I must advise that at the upper end of Millbrook Road, there is a collection of logging debris (a.k.a. "slash"). It extends for 25 feet or so in length, and it's spread across the entire width of the roadway. So, if your route includes this upper section of the Millbrook Road, then you will need to either plow your way through the slash, or bushwhack around it through the adjacent open woods.
Oh! Would you like to see a "before and after" snapshot of the trail work that I did? Sorry! I completely forgot to take a "before" photo, but I did remember to take an "after" snapshot (see photo below).
After completing my trail work, I had time to hike the additional 3/4 mile to the top of Middle Mountain. I've been there several times. I just did it "because it was there"! It was an overcast day, and therefore I expected no views, and I got none! However, shown in the photo below is a sampling of views from this mountaintop that I've experienced on other occasions. There are very nice views from the summit looking eastward down the Androscoggin River valley, and to the northeast toward Mt. Success. The summit view looking southward toward the Presidentials is currently a bit overgrown.
To sum it up, no high peaks were climbed, and no sweeping vistas were experienced on this particular day. However, I consider my adventure to have been a quality experience that was both rewarding and fun. I liked it!