If the STS isn’t in good condition by now, it isn’t because the crews haven’t tried. Believe me, they have been out there diligently clearing sections.
A testament to that is that we are now more than 2,400 hours in trail care, and that is nearly 600 hours over our record. And we have yet to erect another trail shelter, and hopefully put in a couple more bridges.
The bridges are kind of low priority right now, as there is hardly any water in the streams, but maybe later this fall or especially in the spring there will be plenty of it. Considering that the trail crosses streams approximately 30 times, it’s difficult to decide what to bridge next. We have around 10 bridges in place now, so that solves at least part of the problem.
Blowdowns are a constant issue when you have 84 miles of trail passing through an almost entirely wooded area. As one of our maintainers said, just before he gets into his vehicle to leave after clearing a section, “I think I just heard a tree fall.” Sometimes blown down trees (deadfalls, crashes, whatever you choose to call them) aren’t much of a problem, but when you get one that’s two feet in diameter, or the entire top section falls across the trail, it can be.
Hikers are a resilient bunch; they always find a way through or around, but they are out there to hike a trail, not do a lot of bushwhacking. How nice it would be if we could say, “Well the trail is in fine shape for the next 30 days. It needs nothing, so you folks can just sit in the shade and if you are so inclined maybe tip a longneck or two.”
But I can assure you, it ain’t going to happen. It would take a small army running chainsaws, brushcutters and weed whackers to open it back up. We just cleared one yesterday, Aug. 27, a large cherry that had broken off about 20 feet up, and literally smashed into a dozen pieces, most of them across the trail. I bet you could have heard that crash a mile away.
Now here’s something of a more pleasant nature, coming to us courtesy of our STC member, Penny Weinhold (verbatim): “Due to consistently low water in Pine Creek, our tubing trip had to be canceled. As an alternative, on Aug. 20, five members kayaked Lyman Lake on a perfect blue sky, 76 degree day.
“The group viewed two beaver lodges along opposite shorelines. All marveled at the many dragonflies of various sizes and colors, some of which came along for brief rides on the fronts of our boats.
“Birds seen were young flocks of mallards, a little green heron and a kingfisher. Wild flowers along the banks were pearly-everlastings, white turtlehead, Joe pye weed, blue vervain, yarrow, and jewelweed. There were also two sightings of palomino trout in a shallow section at the upper end of the lake.
“All are set to canoe/kayak next spring, possibly at Hills Creek State Park, Tioga County. Date to be announced in 2021. Participants at Lyman Run were: John and Jan Halter, Gaines; Scott Lee, Wellsboro; Beth Lounsbury, Galeton, and Penny Weinhold, Coudersport.”
What may bWhat may be our last club meeting for the year will be held again at the Lyman Lake pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 12. This location provides plenty of space for distancing, and masks are urged. And we will have hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes on hand, or bring your own. Safety is a high priority. The picnic-style dinner will be held at noon. and will feature hot dogs, burgers and sloppy joes, along with whatever you choose to bring. Meeting to follow around 1 p.m.
Trail-runner, Koloman Erway, will kick off his plan to run the 84-mile STS, at 5 a.m. Sept. 6 at Patterson Park. He hopes to complete his run in 24 hours or less.
Some of us will be at Patterson to see him off, and I expect some will also be at the many road crossings to cheer him on.
Bill Boyd is a member of the Susquehannock Trail Club. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.