Wednesday, May 21, 2014

First Week As A Ridgerunner

This is the oldest shelter still standing on the Appalachian Trail. Its located at the Horn's Pond Campsite. There are also two other lean-tos there, as well as a dozen or more level campsites, each one marked off with scree walls to help contain each site. As may long distance hikers know, there is a tendency for campsites to sprawl into the forest, even encroaching on fragile alpine growth,

During my first week working on the AT as a Maine Caretaker/Ridgerunner, I helped reset stone into the soggy pathway, remove debris from clogged drainage systems to encourage a drier path. Even if its muddy, hikers are supposed to trudge on through. 

I've met a few section hikers already heading to Katahdin. Theirs will be an icy footpath, although the recent steady rains have made a huge dent in the piles of snow.

At Horn's Pond Campsite, poised in the sub-alpine zone, are two outhouses, composting privies that help break down waste to fertile, non hazardous material.

Its laborious enough, with moving it three times to the final drying rack, before committing it back to the earth. While helping transfer the third batch, which had reached a hot 140 plus temperature during the "heating" cycle, we uncovered a family of mice. I now see firsthand while only human waste, toilet paper and and wood chips belong in this system. Those handiwipes and casings for tampons are nasty to pick out and dispose of properly. They do not degrade at all.

After a day of work, sitting down to record the day's activities, drink a cup of coffee and relax is done on the covered caretaker's platform. We're off the grid. No electrical but there is cell service on top the mountain.

The information board on location has a great hand drawn map. There is no fee at this site, either.

1 comment:

  1. What a busy week on the trail! Thanks for keeping us posted. Your job is so much move than just hiking and answering questions. Hope you can visit me in the fall. I would love to do a hike or canoe with you then.