... Well several hikes, covering 117 trails and roughly 360 miles.
Trail Crew on Bondcliff for a quick break.
May 28th marked the first day of the AMC's annual patrols where the White Mountain Trail Crew greases their boots, sharpens their axes, and grabs their rouge hoes for 3 weeks of patrolling all AMC maintained trails. The AMC maintains trails from as far west as the Kinsmans through the Pemi Wilderness, over the Presidential Range, west into Evans Notch and up north through the Mahoosucs to the Old Speck trailhead on Rte. 26. AMC trails are: along the AT, in Wilderness areas, in NH State Parks, in the WMNF, on MBPL, and on private land.
Crew member chopping out a blowdown on the Grafton Loop Trail.
The crew splits into smaller factions completing well know loop hikes such as Falling Waters - Franconia Ridge - OPB, and epic days such Lincoln Woods Trail - Bondcliff Trail - Twinway - North Twin Spur - North Twin Trail. Patrols are basic in theory; hike, clean drainages, chop blowdowns, and make sure the trail corridor is clear (4'x8'). The hard part comes when you have a massive yellow Birch leaner, 200 drains heading up the A-Z trail from Zealand towards the Mt. Tom spur, 13 miles to go in pouring rain, and it's Tuesday with 3 more days before the weekend. Patrols aren't easy, no crew member would tell you that they are but they are critical for the trails -- patrols are our effort to get AMC trails cleared as quickly as possible, make sure drains can function as best they can until Trail Adopters or crews head out for more thorough detail, and get an idea of where work should be focused for future projects.
Crews have been in just about every region as of today. It's been a heavy blowndown year especially in the Mahoosucs -- crews chopped over 60 blowdowns on the Grafton Loop Trail from Old Speck down to the southern end of the GLT on Rte. 26. The Mahoosuc Trail has also seen a lot of snapped Spruce/Fir tops still on their hinges smack dab in the middle of the trail.