It was time for my trail maintenance training, and there was about 19 of us waiting in the lot. I was glad to go to this, as I was well versed in brushing after last year, but the waterbar training was just what I needed. It's not anything difficult, just need to see the technique in action. We split up in to 4 groups and went at it, planning to meet at East Pond. Our 2 small groups took the trail up to the bridge, and had plenty of waterbars to clean out, but we had a great time doing it.
Once we got to the bridge, I went off on my own pace to give my legs and lungs a stretch up to the lunch spot at East Pond. What a gorgeous spot! The col between Osceola and E. Scar lay in front of us, flanked by a sub-peak of Osceola and the false summit of E. Scar. I stood staring at the south ridge of E. Scar forever, surprised to see hardwoods. Continued staring revealed this to be apparently dead birch, which my guess meant young fir and blowdown misery. Finally, I decided to take a run up the Little East Pond Loop to see if I could spot what I suspected to be the old trail, or another likely logging road. I was hoping after the training to follow what I found, and if it took me up easily to near the E. Scar summit, I'd bag it.
As I went on, however, all I saw was moderate pencil woods. Yuck. It was unlikely to get better. I did spy what appeared to be a faint herd path, not on the ground, but only in the opening of the branches. I followed this for a short ways, but it was all wrong for a trail – way too many small bumps in the way. Continuing up the trail further, I saw what may have once been a logging road, but if it was, it was long overgrown. No good. Ah well, maybe some fishing in one of the ponds later instead.
Back at the pond, I ate some, and took a walk a bit around the pond. No sign of fish. Argh. After lunch, we got a lesson in blazing, and it was becoming clear we had a few jokesters in the crowd (self-included). Good for some laughs. A group picture, and a lesson in brushing and down we went, splitting up again. One went to the height of land, another went up the loop, and the 2 little groups of ours merged to take the trail down. Now I was in my element, and it was great leapfrogging each other to make quick work of it. Before we got to the bridge, there was nothing left to do and we paused at the Little East Pond Trail. Here we went to the mill site just off the trail. Pretty neat, with some long walls remaining and some other artifacts. East Pond used to be mined for diatomamceous earth (aka Tripolite, which is how the road got its name and apparently pronounced Triple-eye locally).
A short trip down and I got all nostalgic seeing the first waterbar. :) I decided against fishing and we said our goodbyes. No pixs since I was planning to switch packs and hike back up. Thanks especially to Jenny, my USFS teacher who's a lot of fun, and to Gif for organizing all the volunteers. The Forest Service really appreciates the help with now only 2 pro crew members for the entire Pemi district. They're great folks, and they're real people, not some uniformed strong-armed entity. I'm happy to be of help to them, and hope the current trend of less orphaned trails continues.