WINDBORNE grit and ice scour them. Porcupines gnaw on them. Sun and rain beat on them. And still, the wooden trail signs that help guide hikers in the White Mountains put up with it all, serving as silent guideposts in the woods and above the treeline, around the clock, often for years and years before they need to be replaced.
Each year, trail sign fans and supporters of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s trail stewardship program provide future homes for retired trail signs by submitting winning bids in the annual online trail sign auction. This year’s auction opened on eBay on Tuesday and continues until the close of bidding at noon on Friday, Dec. 2. As noted on the What’s New blog at outdoors.org, “All proceeds from the auction will directly support AMC’s trail maintenance efforts and, in particular this year, trail cleanup and repair work following Tropical Storm Irene.”
Six signs are available, representing such locales as the Presidential Range, the Zealand Valley and the Mahoosucs, among others. The Tuckerman Crossover sign is among those in this year’s auction. According to the description on outdoors.org, the sign “spent several long hard years living amid diapensia and mountain sandwort above treeline at the Tuckerman Junction. When not covered with rime ice or befuddled in fog, this sign directed countless numbers of hikers along the Tuckerman Crossover toward the Southside Trail and Lakes of the Clouds Hut.”
Fans of the Mahoosuc Range will likely recognize the Goose Eye trail sign, which had been located at the junction with the Carlo Col Trail since 1985.
A white-and-green Royce Trail sign is also in the auction and includes directional arrows and mileages for other trails and features in the area, including Burnt Mill Brook Trail, West Royce, Laughing Lion Trail and the Brickett Place.
The Cascade Brook Trail sign is billed as the only sign in this year’s batch to carry the Appalachian Trail logo. Others include an Osseo Trail sign and the Ethan Pond Trail sign. The auction is an important fundraiser for AMC’s trail maintenance program.
By: Rob Burbank- AMC