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Thread: Post-Irene trail assessment/work - Piper Trail, Mt. Chocorua

  1. #1
    Senior Member cooperhill's Avatar
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    Post-Irene trail assessment/work - Piper Trail, Mt. Chocorua

    My intention yesterday was to assist the Forest Service crew at Saco with post-storm assessment. But as the work they were doing didn't really match with my skills, I moved on to option 2 - assessing / clearing my adopted trail - Piper on Chocorua. It has been several months since I've been there. It felt good to be back on my trail and check in on it.

    All in all the conditions proved not too bad. Bridges were intact and there was only moderate erosion in the upper sections - no entire blowouts. I was happy how my drainages held up:



    It was a full day hiking up to Penacook Camp where I re-secured the temporary tarp over the shelter (the roof is being repaired). I also cleared 10 (many sizeable) blowdowns and 30 drainages. I met quite a few people on the trail for a Tuesday.

    I realize these pictures are of limited interest but here is a brief sequence of how I dispatch with blowdowns.

    This illustration is from my favorite reference book on axes, "An Axe to Grind", & it shows the basic technique of breaking through a log efficiently and quickly with an axe.



    The notch is started. I swing the axe and chop three or four times at about a 45 angle with my right hand and then switch and swing with my left hand repeating. Eventually chips (or plates) start to pop out. You can see them in the foreground.



    Repeat until breakthrough, left side:



    Right side:



    This one took me about 15 minutes.

    Full album:

    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/5...vhost=outdoors
    Chris

    USFS Trails Volunteer / Adopter: West Side Trail (Mt. Chocorua), Sawyer River trail; USFS vol axe instructor; Chatham Trails Association (CTA), Trailwrights

    "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend four sharpening my ax" Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
    Senior Member ksearl's Avatar
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    Wow, great post! Glad to hear the Piper Trail didn't get hit too hard. That must be one sharp ax to get through in 15 minutes! It's cool to see there is an actual science to breaking through those bad boys!

    Karl
    Thanks,
    Karl

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  3. #3
    Senior Member MadRiver's Avatar
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    Thanks for the illustration. I'm more comfortable with chainsaws so when I had to cut up a large blowdown two years ago, my technique wasn't pretty and I ended up breaking the axe.
    What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Ok, I'll do lamb.

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    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Excellent! From the reports I've been reading, it sounds like washout damage has been the largest impact to the trails ??
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Very nice axe work - thanks for the diagram. I love visuals.

    I'm glad I did a relatively thorough job this spring on waterbars on Ammo Ravine. I hope they held up well. I'll find out next weekend.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    Very nice axe work - thanks for the diagram. I love visuals.

    I'm glad I did a relatively thorough job this spring on waterbars on Ammo Ravine. I hope they held up well. I'll find out next weekend.
    Ditto! I got to all but some upper ones on Edmands the weekend before the storm....had planned on last saturday and Sunday to work on N Twin :-(
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  7. #7
    Senior Member roadtripper's Avatar
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    Hey Chris,

    Nice work!

    I do have a question though - I was on Chocorua a few weeks ago and there was mounting confusion as to where the proper Piper Trail went above treeline in a few spots. I know painting rocks is generally not encouraged anymore, but do you think a few cairns should/could be built? I saw about 10 people confused between the first peak and the summit, so it's more than just one or two people. In very bad weather I suppose there is a slim chance it could perhaps be a safety issue, but that may be me being too dramatic.

    Just a thought!

  8. #8
    Senior Member cooperhill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadtripper View Post
    Hey Chris,

    Nice work!

    I do have a question though - I was on Chocorua a few weeks ago and there was mounting confusion as to where the proper Piper Trail went above treeline in a few spots. I know painting rocks is generally not encouraged anymore, but do you think a few cairns should/could be built? I saw about 10 people confused between the first peak and the summit, so it's more than just one or two people. In very bad weather I suppose there is a slim chance it could perhaps be a safety issue, but that may be me being too dramatic.

    Just a thought!
    I guess it is confusing for some and folks have gotten lost up there. I hope to re-blaze at some point. Blazing on rocks though isn't the best thing. Cairns - no rocks to speak of to build proper cairns up there. Also outside of my skill level.
    Last edited by cooperhill; 09-01-2011 at 05:32 PM.
    Chris

    USFS Trails Volunteer / Adopter: West Side Trail (Mt. Chocorua), Sawyer River trail; USFS vol axe instructor; Chatham Trails Association (CTA), Trailwrights

    "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend four sharpening my ax" Abraham Lincoln

  9. #9
    Senior Member cooperhill's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I agree I think the main issue is going to be erosion. The blowdowns were old trees just waiting to come down.
    Chris

    USFS Trails Volunteer / Adopter: West Side Trail (Mt. Chocorua), Sawyer River trail; USFS vol axe instructor; Chatham Trails Association (CTA), Trailwrights

    "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend four sharpening my ax" Abraham Lincoln

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