A beautiful weekend on the way and the news that Carrie and Wendy from the Forest Society would be paying us a visit on the coming Friday, we were all geared up to get Beauty Ledge trail completed. We had been working on signs for a couple weeks and they were finally done and ready to hang. Sunday morning rolled around and the weather was anything but beautiful. It was cool, damp and windy. So we worked on new signs together to pass some time, breaking yet another piece of equipment in the name of volunteerism...the sander. So Scott went out and bought a new one, it was time for a new one anyway.
The weather finally improved mid-afternoon and we headed up to Beauty Ledge Trail with our new signs. We hung the trail head sign o the birch tree and it looked oh-so-good with the white lettering playing against the white birch! On up the trail we stopped regularly to cut exposed stumps we missed and to do some spot raking.
After the steep climb up a ledge section we came to a large rock slab that the trail was originally slated to climb. Looking now with the snow gone off this area, it was apparent the trail had to be reverted. The rock was covered with pretty, delicate lichen that I didn't want to see trampled. So we flagged out a new trail that swung to the right around the rock and climbing up on the back side to the top of it and rejoining the trail.
We now arrived at the Beauty Knob junction and hung the two signs for this section. One tree gave us some difficulty, breaking two lag screws. We won the battle in the end and this beautiful sign now points the way to the knob and ledge! We climbed up to the knob finding a fresh, large blow-down right across the trail...go-figure! Luckily it was dead and hollow so easy to move with the two of us given the size of this obstruction!
Up on the knob we placed the summit sign and a "to ledge" sign. We then walked down to the ledge to check out the view of the now thawed landscape. Except for Bowser Pond which was still 3/4 frozen. Scott spotted, as he always seems to do, a porcupine in a tree next to the ledge. We walked over and checked it out. These guys are so cute sitting high up in the trees!
The sun beginning to fall behind the Moose Mountain range, I stopped back at the knob to get some pictures in of the lichen and the setting sun shining off the pine trees. and then headed down doing some spot cleaning as we went. We ended the day at the kiosk walking up the woods road that will be an extension of Phoebes Nable Mt. trail. A truck had apparently done some mudding up the road. What aggravated me most was he ran over a stick with pink tape on it that was marking the site of an orchid that I found last summer. Back on the road we stopped at a woods road that is at the point just before the tar changes to dirt. This connects to Phoebes Nable Mt. trail and will be called South trail. No sign of truck activity here or up on the landing, so we were happy with that.
Sunday brought a mild morning and thoughts of finishing the trail cleaning. A face book friend mentioned she and her friends would be climbing the trail today, so that was exciting to hear and I hoped to see them up there and hear what they thought of the trail! The day started as it ended Saturday. Us checking out the truck trail and we wondered if it got past a blown down tree we left mostly intact to discourage truck use. Sure enough he didn't get past this and had turned around. This satisfied us and back at the parking lot we blocked this road with some rocks and logs and placed a "no motorized vehicles" sign on a nearby tree in hopes of discouraging trucks and ATV's.
This task done we also stopped at Piper Mt. trail where most of the ATV traffic is coming from and put up "no motorized vehicle" signs here too. It would be nice to gate some of these access points but is proving difficult with them being town roads and class six roads that can't be legally gated. It's rather frustrating to see the roads getting torn and mucked up and trash being discarded from the ATV users and not really being able to do much about it! Now it was off to what we came here for. We headed up Beauty Ledge trail with our loppers, shovel, hoe, metal rake, work gloves and our packs with our lunch in them! It was already getting warm and we were in T-shirts in no time! We dropped our bags at the split rock above the steep/ledgy section and began our work on the new by-pass trail around the lichen-rock area trying to avoid the fresh moose poop that was along many parts of the trail.
After marking, cutting and raking this area we worked our way down to the steep section. Scott continued cutting and raking as I attended to making some steps on a loose, steep section of dirt. After rolling 2 large rocks over and messing with them for a good 10 minutes I added a third to the mix and another 10 minutes later got them aligned just right to create good steps that didn't move under the weight of hikers.
Needing a break at this point we headed up to the ledge with our drinks and an energy bar to relax a bit and re-nourish ourselves. After returning to our bags we grabbed our equipment and headed back up to the knob to work on the upper section. As we got back into the woods a prop plane went over head at tree level and right over the ledge! Too bad we weren't still out there! We continued raking and cutting and then headed back to our bags. Back at our base camp four ladies came up the trail led by the lady that follows the MMR face book group page. We chatted briefly and they all had great things to say about the trail, yay! They headed up to the ledge and we plopped down for lunch!
Our lunch consumed we headed down the trail to work on the area below the steep/ledgy section. Scott continued cutting and raking as I worked on leveling out the ledgy area. Rocks needed to be moved around and others rolled over to make more of a terraced ascent. After all the work we both did in what was turning out to be a hot day in the sun, we called it a day. We touched up a few spots in the two pine areas on the way down. As we got back onto North trail an ATV was just coming up Piper Mt. trail as we passed, guess they couldn't read the bright orange sign! We were happy to get back to the truck and on the road with a breeze blowing in to cool us down!
Total of 7 hours over the weekend! It's well worth the time and energy...and sore bodies! We just have a little more raking and stump removal and then the blazing and the trail will be completed! Got to see a nice sunset over Sunrise Lake on our way home Saturday :)