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Ampersand 6/24

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  • Ampersand 6/24

    Due to my wife being due, our combined weekend hiking goals have changed a bit; a slight detour from completing the big list but an adventure and a new challenge is an adventure and a new challenge!! Smaller peaks (under 6 miles/ 2500' elevation gain with open summits) is the new adventure.

    Ampersand was the chosen summit of the day this past Saturday and at a more leisurely pace than usual. Starting a hike at 2:00

    The first mile or so of the trail was flat and mostly dry. The cool breeze was keeping the bugs at bay. The bridges were varied from falling apart but easily passable to being in fine shape.

    Slowly gaining elevation at first, the trail became muddier. The next 3/4 mile or so was steeper. There's obviously been quite a bit of effort put into building rock steps but unfortunately, quite a bit of traffic seems to be routing around the steps (!?!?) and creating a very eroded and muddy widened trail :( The trail then got slabby and steep with a major herdpath on the left of a quite steep section. The re-route is more-or less a mudslide shortcut on the north side of the main trail. Seems like the wet trail conditions are exacerbating the propensity of people widening the trail and pulling down trees at the edge because of the lack of traction on the slabs from muddy boots etc.

    The trail then became dryer with the exception of a giant mudhole as we crossed a saddle in the ridge. Herdpath on the left was really the only way to go because I wasn't wearing my swimming shorts. Two short tricky sections up to the summit. It was glorious up there. My first time up there, very impressed and spent quite a bit of time soaking up the sunshine, watching the clouds pass by and daydreaming of the day I will summit the Sewards laid out before me.

    Back to the car, safe and sound and tried out the BBQ place. It was fantastic and relaxing, washed down the brisket with a beer and back home to my Green Mountains.

  • #2
    All too common theme, people don't want to get their sneakers dirty, or their feet wet, so they keep widening the trail.
    46er #9404


    • #3
      Originally posted by greenmountaingoat View Post
      ....unfortunately, quite a bit of traffic seems to be routing around the steps (!?!?) and creating a very eroded and muddy widened trail....
      A good many people must dislike hiking on rocks and rock slab. There is a lot of first hand evidence of that, as you reported here.

      Probably a lot of reasons for this. I can think of a couple right now. Rubber on mainstream boots is not sticky enough. Rock steps are often big steps and can be tiring when climbing. Rocks jolt the feet and joints and your likely to get sore by the end of the day. Again rock steps are often big steps and the bigger the step the bigger the jolt. And while it lasts duff is offers a soft jolt and better traction.



      • #4
        My volunteer work for the GMC has so far been to help them with building design (on the Headquarters Planning Committee and the Camps Committee) because of my field of work. Between having been hiking (and reading about hiking) for the better part of 20 years and the time I spent with the staff on their building made it pretty apparent how much hard work goes into trying to keep the trails in good shape and to prevent trail erosion. The rock staircases on Ampersand were substantial. To see the hiking public so uninformed about trail use and the damage/ direct impact was a little shocking to see on such a large scale.

        I really like the idea of promoting hiking as an activity for people but one of the common threads of the conversations here seems to be the need to inform and educate people on how to treat the resource with the care that it deserves. How to do that in an unobtrusive way I guess is the challenge. Interpretive signage? How much is too much?

        Some people are variations on different types of lost causes in that regard but some people will change their behavior with the right messages.