Randonnée Aventure is the adopter for a 10-mile section of the Long Trail in Vermont from Hazen’s Notch (hwy 58) to Eden Crossing (hwy 118) and nearly 4 miles of side trails: Frank Post and Foresters which connect to the Long Trail. As an adopter of these trails, RA has assumed the responsibility of maintaining them. Maureen Robertson, RA’s long standing Trail Maintenance Coordinator, has been personally involved since 1990 (and RA was an adopter even before that)!
Our 3 weekends of Vermont Trail Maintenance is varied work. In May we make sure the trails are open; we do a walk-through, remove blowdowns (trees fallen on the trail), clear branches, open clogged streams and may even do some rerouting if trail sections are swamped. August is the time for reblazing the trails (trail blazes on the trees), cutting back growth, and removing branches, etc. on the trails. Our October weekend involves clearing water bars and streams that may be clogged with mud and leaves, causing back up on the trails.
Our New York Weekend in September is in the Adirondacs where we work on a project headed up by an employee of the ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club). Satisfying past projects include: replacing log steps (cutting the trees and debarking them by hand!) in trail sections, opening up and creating new trails, assisting in the reconstruction of shelters and helping to build a wheelchair accessible short section of trail to Heart Lake.
The work can be hard and tiring; sometimes we get rain or even snow, but it is so rewarding to know that RA is helping to keep trails open, particularly since our Club uses these trails on a regular basis. With budget cuts, the various associations depend on volunteers like us to maintain trails which would otherwise become impassable in very little time.
Even though space is limited (we usually take about 6 people due to accommodation constraints) and we do have our faithful regulars, we always welcome and make room for new faces. In Vermont we have accommodations in a local’s home and in NY we are invited to use a crew cabin off the High Peaks parking lot. In other words, we always have a warm, dry place to sleep and hot showers. Mealtime, especially dinners, are great fun with all contributing in the preparation and lively chat about the day’s events. Transportation and food costs are shared by the group as is the camaraderie, which is never lacking.