Photo by: Al Seppa
Our fine crew picked the right time to report for trail crew duty – just after 8 inches of rain from the hurricanes was dumped on Mt. Desert Island. Otherwise we enjoyed excellent weather. We established our home base at AMC’s Camp Echo on Echo Lake. Actually the only thing to establish was deciding whether to sleep with the mattress on the floor or on the steel bed-springy thing in the canvas tents. Otherwise the closed camp was ours for the stay. Excellent meals were prepared in the kitchen/dining hall, with a little fireplace ambiance happening. Elsewhere in the camp one could take a sunfish boat out for a sail, or try a kayak. Some tested the water for swimming. Nick, our AMC leader, also proved there were fish in the lake, landing a huge one from the dock (standard fish story exaggerations apply). Later in the evening, one could find the library a cozy spot with its fireplace providing a little heat. As in week 1, the showers were still hot.
Eight hardy trail workers led by Nick spent 3 workdays reclaiming a long-lost trail from Bar Harbor to Schooner Head and Great Head. This trail, on National Park land, is being constructed to ADA accessibility standards. Using traditional trail tools we grubbed out organic material and widened the trail to standards. The bonus here was the opportunity to play with some gasoline-powered equipment. The first was a walk-behind, rudder-tracked Canycom material hauler (think wheelbarrow on steroids). It was quite useful for hauling waste material out to the road for pickup, or hauling a truckload of CRM uphill for the trail surface. Sure, you could use a wheelbarrow, but the Canycom was whole lot easier, faster, and more fun. (Yeah we still used wheelbarrows too.)
Photo by: Nick Scott
What’s CRM you ask? It’s “carriage road mix” – a mixture of clay, sand, stone dust and particles especially designed for use on the carriage roads of Mt. Desert Island. After the CRM was spread out and leveled, the other power tool was put to use. It was the plate compacter, which is basically a motor on a heavy steel plate that vibrates to compact the CRM to a smooth, hardened trail surface. I daresay we left one fine, professional-looking trail surface. We had a sweet lunch spot at Schooner Head, sitting on the cliffs overlooking Frenchman Bay. From there we could watch lobstermen tend to their lobster pots, as well as watch Egg Rock lighthouse look like, well, a lighthouse.
We spent a day on the Dorr Mtn. trail moving a couple of tons of quarried granite for the National Park Service crew that was building steps on the trail. Here we used two high lines to lift the granite stones from the quarry site to another spot where a third high line was set up to transfer the stones to the trail. It’s certainly the easiest and least damaging way to move rock across the terrain. The NPS crew demonstrated how the granite rock was split using an electric rock drill to drill holes for the wedges and feathers to split the rock. Our own Joe tapped the wedges with a hammer to split the rock. A grand view of Bar Harbor was provided for our lunchtime viewing.
Photo by: Nick Scott
Photo by: Stephen Klauck
We capped off one work day with a side trip to Sand beach. It’s just a great, picturesque spot. There, the hardiest tested the water to confirm it’s cold. The area offers a lot to do on the off day. From hiking to the summits with awesome views of ocean, islands and land , to bicycling the carriage roads, kayaking the surrounding waters, or just plain taking in the shops of Bar Harbor and the other quaint towns of Mt. Desert Island. Friday evening’s dinner was a chicken barbecue at Seawall picnic area. This spot had beautiful views of the ocean, the Cranberry Islands and the Islands mountains. The trails brochure mentioned a lobster dinner. You betcha. We picked up our lobster right from the dock at Beals Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor. It doesn’t get any better than that. There was even some interesting lobster parts trading going on at dinner too. What a great place to spend a week.