That photo shows my friend Marty who is assisting me with doing trail maintenance in the Great Gulf region of the White Mountain National Forest on 05-May-2012. It takes a true friend to agree to help with an undertaking such as this! Especially considering that we had nearly 40 water bar drainages to clean, plus about a half-dozen downed trees to remove from the trail corridor.
The lower section of the Osgood Trail (0.8 mile), as well as the Osgood Cut-Off Trail (0.6 mile) are two of the six trails that I have adopted under the auspices of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). As a participant in these programs, volunteers agree to patrol their adopted trails at least twice each year and clear the drainage of debris, remove downed trees from the trail, and other trail maintenance tasks as needed.
Marty and I opted to do this maintenance work on this particular day since the weather was overcast and drizzly at the time we set forth. It seemed like a great day to do work in the forest since there would be no views from the high peaks with this type of weather. Well, when you live in the mountains, the conditions can often change unexpectedly. That is exactly what happened on this particular day! By the time we arrived at the trailhead, conditions had markedly improved. It was rapidly becoming a glorious sunny day!
As a mark of a true friend, Marty agreed to stick with the original plan of doing trail maintenance, rather than doing a hike to a mountain peak to take advantage of the vastly improved weather conditions. And so, we crossed the Peabody River on the suspension bridge to begin our work detail. The bridge and the river are seen in the two photos that follow.
It wasn't all work and no play! We still had time to "smell the roses", or trout lily in this case!
Also, it wasn't as though we were deprived of views of magnificent peaks. We were working in the mountains, after all! The next two photos show two of the vistas we enjoyed. The first photo is looking into the mouth of the Great Gulf. Portions of Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay and Nelson Crag are seen rising above the floor of the gulf. The second photo features Mt. Madison standing proudly at the top of another gulf which is called the Madison Gulf, appropriately enough!
Great Gulf as Viewed from Osgood Cut-Off (see pages 108-109 of 29th edition of White Mountain Guide)
Mt. Madison as Viewed from The Bluff (see page 97 of 29th edition of White Mountain Guide)
In addition to the gorgeous scenery shown in the preceding photos, we took advantage of the many opportunities to ramble off-trail to the banks of the West Branch of the Peabody River. Here we were treated to up-close views of this attractive river. The next two photos show a few typical scenes.
We even took time to explore a portion of the old Osgood Trail that used to cross the West Branch of the Peabody River on a high bridge. The next photo was taken at this former crossing point. One of the old bridge abutments can be seen in the top right portion of this snapshot.
We were not the only folks enjoying the river on this day. At one point along the way, we caught sight of some kayakers making their way down the river (next photo).
To help make some sense out of the route that Marty and I followed on our work/play mission, shown below is a map. Our route is highlighted in yellow. Outlined in a pinkish color are my adopted trail segments. (Click on map to enlarge it.)
And here is just a bit of additional trivia information. Benjamin Osgood was a famous guide at the old Glen House back in the late 1800s. In 1878, he led a crew who cut a trail leading from the Glen House to the summit of Mt. Madison. The trail and ridge that it follows were named for him. Although a portion of the trail's lower end was relocated several years ago, the remaining sections are the oldest route still in use to Mt. Madison's summit. Regarding the Osgood Cutoff, it is part of the Appalachian Trail, and it provides a shortcut between the Great Gulf and Madison Gulf trails.
To sum it up, I never consider trail-work as actual "work". I derive as much pleasure from this as I do from pure hiking. This particular outing was made even more pleasurable by the congenial company of my friend Marty, as well as the totally unpredicted sunny day which appeared from out of nowhere!