Sometimes we are asked if we do trail care all year, including the winter months. Actually we do, although it tapers off significantly during November, December, January and February.
But it doesn’t stop completely — there are those who do get out there to remove blowdowns, especially on trail sections used by cross-country skiers. And sometimes there is new growth to be removed where it encroaches on the trail.
Also this winter there may be the ongoing project of placing mile markers along the trail. And even the weed whackers and brush cutters get a workout occasionally. It all depends on the weather and volunteer availability.
Not just everyone relishes doing trail work at this time of the year. But winter hikers (yes, even backpackers) are a hardy bunch; not much will keep them cooped up. Some just laugh it off to emerge from their tent to zero and below temps. And skiers — well cross country skiing generates so much heat that cold weather is no problem. It has been called the perfect aerobic workout.
Speaking of cross country skiing, some STS sections are very suitable for this. For example, a great starter is the first section, the Ridge Trail, from DCNR on Denton Hill to Thompson Hollow Road, about 2.8 miles of gently rolling terrain. Or you could ski out the Fire Tower Trail, from Route 44, near the fire tower, heading north. Doing a turn-around at Cardiac Climb, would give you about a four mile round-trip.
I would not suggest going down Cardiac, unless you are carrying your skis most of the way. If a little longer trip is desired, one could ski the Switchback Trail, beginning at Water Tank Vista on Route 44, all the way down to Upper Dry Hollow, and on out to Corbett, on West Branch Road (and your pick-up vehicle).
If you are looking to dine at the end of your run, you could ski from Thompson Hollow Road, east out the Ridge Trail, take the Wil and Betty Ahn turn-off, and then the Billy Brown Trail, down to the Susquehannock Lodge on Route 6. And there are many more opportunities right in the Denton Hill area; just pick up a map at the DCNR office.
Three of our members just hiked the Mount Brodhead Trail loop, around 8.4 miles. They report that it is in need of some maintenance, namely with the brushcutters and chainsaws. So that work will probably be done in the not-too-distant future.
A brief description of this loop is as follows: leaving the new kiosk on Route 44, about a mile or so SE of Water Tank Vista, the Log Grade Trail goes down to the STS in Hogback Hollow, turns northward for a short distance, then goes up the other leg of Log Grade Trail to Water Tank Vista. Crossing Route 44, you’ll find the Switchback Trail, which as the name implies, follows the old B&S RR switchbacks, down into Upper Dry Hollow. Rather than following the grade out to Corbett, you go up Upper Dry Hollow to the SE and then south back up to Route 44, and back at the kiosk.
Mark Saturday, Dec. 14 on your calendar for the STC meeting and annual Christmas Party. Held again at the home of Lois Morey, it begins with the dish-to-pass dinner at 5 p.m., followed by a brief business meeting. Then the fun begins with the gift exchange; if you don’t wish to gamble on a gift from under the tree, you just take someone else’s (ones which have been picked and shown to the group). If you are lucky enough to get the highest number you can take any gift in the room. All in good fun; you’ll love it.