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13 May 2012

My Free-Spirited Child: Mt. Tremont

A rainy spell is predicted for the upcoming days.  That situation, combined with a number of other factors, will likely keep me off the trails during most of the upcoming week.   Rather than let this Blog sit idle, I offer the following.   But please be forewarned from the outset that this particular posting contains very few pictures.  It's mostly just chit-chat about the Mt. Tremont Trail, which is one of the trails I've adopted under a program administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

If you've had dealings with children, either as a parent, or as an aunt, uncle, etc, then you know that there are certain kids who are free-spirited, and some might even say rabble-rousers!  However, despite the child's behavior which is often wild and maddening, you can't help but admire their spunk!

Of the six adopted trails that I maintain, by far the Mt. Tremont Trail is the most troublesome of the bunch, or to be a bit kinder, let's say "free-spirited".   Each time I visit this "adopted child", I can be assured of discovering some problems that have occurred while I was away.

The rambunctious nature of this trail will often result in downed trees laying across the trail, and/or debris scattered everywhere.  Such was the case on my most recent visit on 11-May.  And this time, in addition to the expected outbreaks, I encountered other "mischief".   A small brook that normally runs harmlessly across this trail was now running lengthwise down the trail's treadway.   A short bushwhack up the brook revealed a log jam which was causing this problem.  Once the clog was removed, the problem was solved.

Despite the troublesome nature of this trail,  I truly admire its wild beauty.  It is so full of excitement and youthful energy!  I like to retain some of the untamed nature of this trail by not totally removing all the remnants of the impish activity that occurs here.  If a downed tree presents no hazard or undue hardship for the hiker, then I'll often leave it alone, especially if it can easily be stepped over, or walked under with a slight duck of the head.   For certain, some will disagree with this style of trail maintenance, and some might even consider it laziness.  It's not a practice that I use for all my trails.  Just as with children, each one needs individualized treatment.

Since this trip involved so many "toys" to pick up and things to be put back in place, there was only enough time to visit the lower half of the playground where my free-spirited "child" so freely romps.   But as said earlier, it's difficult to harbor any lasting irritation, especially when you are provided with terrific "peace-offerings" such as picturesque cascades and delightful wildflowers.

And occasionally, there will be a surprise awaiting for me that is quite pleasant.  On this visit, just off to the side of the trail, there was a beech seedling. Okay,  I know that might not sound overly exciting.  But nonetheless, it was something that I'd not seen before.  At first,  I thought it was a wildflower.  It wasn't until I posted the photo online that I learned it was basically a "newborn" seedling which was possibly only a few hours old.  How can you help but overlook troublesome behavior when you are provided with prizes such as this? :)

Here is just one last snapshot.  Believe it or not, it is related to maintenance of the Mt. Tremont Trail.  On my way to "work", I must drive by the Mt. Washington Hotel.  Many times, this roadside vista verges on being simply stunning, as was the case on this particular day.

To sum it up, on my next maintenance visit to the Mt. Tremont Trail, I'll be going to my free-spirited child's upper "playground" area.   I'm certain there will be copious pick-up and clean-up required at that location as well.  But, all will be quickly forgiven when I reach the top of Mt. Tremont and am gifted with the awesome vistas seen from there.


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi John,

Great to read about your trail maintenance and to know that you leave a little bit of roughness behind. Nature loves a mess! Srini and I keep thinking we should adopt a trail (or two). This gets us thinking more since you tackle six! Your photo of the Mt. Washington Hotel looks like a post card - great shot. Ellen

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Ellen for your comments!

Also, it’s refreshing to read that I have a kindred spirit regarding leaving “a little bit of roughness behind”! As you say, “Nature loves a mess!” Just as one acquires a taste for things like coffee, I think perhaps it’s an acquired taste to see the beauty and value of Mother Nature’s disarray!


Scubahhh said...

Lucky for Tremont & Owls Cliff that they're not "on the way to" anywhere and not 1000' higher, eh? Of course, I can remember saying the same thing about Desolation Shelter 40 years ago...

1HappyHiker said...

Wow! The “Desolation Shelter”! It’s been awhile since I heard reference to that spot in the Wilderness! Did you have trail maintenance and/or caretaker duties relative to that structure? Or, were you just a happy hiker who frequented that area? Nothing wrong with that! :)

Thanks for taking a moment to post your comments.


Summerset said...

You can't pave the wilderness, but a little character left now and then isn't a bad thing, especially given the seemingly impish nature of this trail!

1HappyHiker said...

Very well put! I completely agree!
Thanks for posting your comments,


One Day in America said...

It's wonderful that you maintain half a dozen trails, John. Nature needs more volunteers like you!
I enjoyed your discussion, and the comparison of your trails with offspring is a great metaphor.
The pictures are amazing too—I love beech trees and it's wonderful to see a newborn one! I hope it has a long and happy life; that shouldn't be a problem with caretakers such as you around.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

It’s great to read that you enjoyed the blog report, and I truly appreciate the time you take to post your comments. You invariably manage to offer insightful perspectives.

Regarding that “newborn” beech that I photographed, I fear that might have been its “15 minutes of fame”! That unfortunate little guy was growing right on the edge of the trail corridor. I highly suspect that “death by trampling” will soon be the cause of its demise.


Steve K. said...

This was an enjoyable post, John, and thank you. The waterfall photo is lovely, and the Mt. Washington (and Hotel) photo is great! We take that photo every time we visit the area (2-3 times per year) and never tire of it.

1HappyHiker said...

Steve . . . your thoughtful comments are very much appreciated! Thank you!
I know exactly what you mean about stopping to take a photo of the Mt. Washington Hotel view at Bretton Woods. And, as I know you realize, it’s never the identical view. Not only does it change from season to season, but there are daily permutations as well. It’s almost like taking a photo of a superstar model who is continually putting on a different set of clothing. It’s the same model, but a different look with each change of wardrobe.