Fountain Pond Teen Trail Crew 8/2-7/09

The Birth of a Trail:

Our project at Fountain Pond was unique and exciting. We weren’t just fixing a deteriorating trail; we were building a new one. Ultimately, the trail on which we worked will connect the Berkshire South Community Center to the Fountain Pond parking area off of Rt. 7. The trail is part of a greater vision to extend a network of trails to the places where people live, work, and learn. Why drive to a faraway parking area to begin your hike when you could take a trail right out of your neighborhood? It’s a pretty neat idea, and I think everyone on the crew was psyched to help make it a reality. Walking into the woods and walking away from a real hiking trail is an awesome accomplishment.

Livin’ it up at Berkshire South:

As participants and their parents rolled up to the Berkshire South parking lot, a lot of people asked Connor and I were we were going to camp. “Right over there, just beyond those trees,” we would answer, pointing to the woods just beyond the picnic area. The Fountain Pond crew was the AMC’s first teen trail crew to work in the “frontcountry.” The location definitely had some merits. Being in the frontcountry meant flush toilets, showers, a picnic area, and best of all, no need to treat drinking water.

Running water aside, the campsite was pretty woodsy, filled with vegetation, wildlife, and a ridiculously large mosquito population. We stayed in tents on top of a few wooden platforms, next to a low ropes course. Our food also needed a safe place to stay, out of reach of bears and other critters. We set up two bear hangs, hoisting our provisions with ropes rigged in trees. There’s no better team building exercise than getting everyone working together on hoisting 4 giant bags of food 15 feet in the air.

This ain’t your grandma’s trail crew:

We were a pretty tough crew, and we got a lot of work done. The daily routine was: getting up at 7 am, taking down the bear hangs, eating breakfast, packing for the day, hoisting the bear bags bag up, taking a brisk 2.5 mi. hike to the work site, working, breaking for lunch, working some more, returning to camp, bear bags, dinner, bear bags, and some much deserved rest.

Our hard work definitely paid off. We filled two turnpikes, set seven stepping stone, and did and incredible amount of side hilling and brushing in. We started from square one and left behind a section of trail that people will enjoy for many years to come. Basically, we kicked butt.

Fun stuff:

Of course, all work and no play makes for a dull trail crew. Our work week definitely had some highlights. We ate some awesome food. Dinner was a major part of every day, and we ate dessert every night except the night we decided we were we just to full from so much delicious dinner. Wednesday evening was probably the most gourmet. We went to the community center for a community dinner, provided by a local chef. The other camp food was good, but you can’t beat professionally prepared salad, gnocchi, and poached peach. Wednesday was also cool because a bunch of local volunteers joined us at the work site. It was cool to meet new people, and have even more volunteers working on the trail. We did some cool after work activities over the course of the week, as well. We swam in the Green River, picnicked at Lake Mansfield, and played an awesome game of tag.

The week ended with the traditional pancake breakfast. We had all morning to eat delicious pancakes and wait for parents to arrive. While we were indulging in some fried, syrupy goodness, two staff members from the community center came to take our pictures for the news letter. So in conclusion…We’re kind of a big deal. Thanks for a great week, Fountain Pond Crew.