CONTRIBUTION FROM DENNIS FOLLENSBEE JR. – Alpinebee.com
The network of historic, scenic hiking trails in New Hampshire’s White Mountains is vast – with more than 1,200 miles of rocky paths leading to granite-topped summits, pristine ponds, and remote wilderness areas.
Some routes, such as Davis Path and Crawford Path, are among the oldest hiking trails in the United States. Others, like the rugged landslides of Tripyramid Trail and Flume Slide Trail, are products of nature – marked with the purpose of indicating clear, albeit painfully steep, paths of ascent.
Due to the number of footpaths in the White Mountains, organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club and the US Forest Service depend on work from volunteers to help clear and maintain many of their trails. They are always looking for help!
Hikers may adopt an “orphaned” trail through one of these organizations by visiting their websites. The AMC and the USFS provide free training and require that volunteers visit their adopted trails twice a year – once during the Spring and again after leaves have fallen in Autumn.
People select their trail based on a personal connection to a mountain, their affection for a trail, or a desire to give back to the hiking community. Adopting a trail provides you a sense of ownership and a connection to the region’s hiking culture. Performing your trail work instills accomplishment and pride.
I’ve adopted two trails: the North portion of the Hancock Loop Trail and the Scaur Ridge Trail on Tripyramid. Those trails are important and historic routes on two mountains I adore.
The rugged, steep, and forest-canopied Hancock Loop Trail snakes through the center of Hancock’s network of ridges. It receives heavy use since it is the only path on the mountain. Prior to the trail’s existence, Mount Hancock was less accessible, and a common route to the summit was a long bushwhack and an ascent of the slippery and dangerous rock slabs of Arrow Slide. The loop trail is a safe and scenic route to both Mount Hancock and its narrow South peak.
Scaur Ridge Trail provides a fast and safe route for ascending or descending Mount Tripyramid’s North summit. As a former logging “tote road,” it is graded and provides easy access to the three summits. The trail is useful during poor weather, as it avoids Tripyramid’s steep and treacherous North slide.
Some people adopt multiple trails and others adopt one section of trail. Trail adoption requires a commitment of a few days per year, but performing maintenance is a fun activity you can do with family and friends. It also ensures that you visit your favorite trail or mountain a few times a year!
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