Tim's Corner

From time to time our fearless leader, the great Bascom Grillmaster, will post some insight (or just rant) about a topic.  This is where you'll find those gems!

Appalachian Trail Increased Use and the Changes It Brings

posted Aug 30, 2016, 7:25 AM by Harald Fraude

With the increase of hikers comes the increase of use. Is this (number) only going to go up.Where will this plateau ? What will be the end. What are we talking about in the near future?
  The internet has allowed for mass communication,where is so in so?O hell I,ll just look it up.One good thing to come out of the information spread has been the tracking down of BAD hikers. There was a hiker of on the trail this year who had a bad reputation in regards to comments he made to women. The information about this individual went up and down the trail fast.  Just think several years ago (depending on circumstances)  this info would have taken weeks if not months to be broadcast to the general hiker population. 
  The old thinking that the trail is a enclosed path in the woods is hard to maintain,but then again "Its JUST A PATH IN THE WOODS".
   Trail Reconstruction is going to take on another dimension.More money and time will needed to be poured into the system.  Shelters being closed due to over use, more land brought and rough trail locations reconfigured into community park like settings. This increase of use reminds me of two local shelters that were taken down during the 1970s. One shelter was in Fahnestock State Park the other one was near Bear Mountain Bridge. Both were taken down due to extreme over use. On the other side of this is the time, the money,that local trail clubs put into these projects.Only years later to see there hard earned labor of love destroyed.A lot of those folks end up no longer volunteering for the trail and will have nothing to do with it. 
Hope you can fit it in.More later,
Thanks,
Tim 
Bascom Grillmaster 

The 2014 Work Weekend was a huge success!

posted May 8, 2015, 6:01 AM by RPH Cabin

In terms of number of participants and projects accomplished, this was our most successful work weekend in nearly ten years!

On average, thirty people per day worked on various projects, including:

  • The vandalized post and mileage sign at RPH were replaced.
  • Several lengths of rotted treadway lumber were repaired near the shelter.
  • To complete the renovation started in 1995, T111 siding was installed under the shed area of the shelter.  Additionally, the entire shed area and one picnic table were painted with a red wood stain.
  • The Seth Lyon Memorial Bridge painting project was completed.
  • The Gerry Messerich Memorial Flower Garden on the RPH grounds was cleaned up and weeded.
  • A total of ten water bars north and south of RPH were cleaned out.
  • The trail directly south of the bridge was cleared of overgrowth.
  • A new bulletin board was installed inside the cabin, replacing one that was burned by vandals ten years ago.
  • Seventeen large rock steps (roughly 200-300 pounds each) were installed on the Stormville Mountain step project.  This project is 90% completed and will continue into 2015.
  • Maintenance on the outhouse at RPH, including some painting and lime treatment.
  • The door of the outhouse at Morgan Stewart shelter was replaced.

We are very thankful for ongoing generous support from ALDHA, B-Dry Waterproofing, Chelsea Forest Products, Richard Carroll, and Thalle Industries. We continue to use equipment generously donated by L.L.Bean in 2012. We also appreciate the local businesses who assisted us with food, Stormville Pizza and Frankie's Superette of Hopewell Junction

Work Weekend announcement and update

posted Apr 25, 2014, 8:59 AM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Apr 25, 2014, 9:12 AM ]

 
As of this date, 4/16/14, all trail restoration work is near the cabin site or within ten miles of it.
Projects:
 1. Replacing several rotted out sections of wooden broad walk near RPH Cabin area, built by the club from 2000 - 2008.
  2. Painting the new monster bridge on top of Stormville Mountain, which was built by the club in July 2013.
  3. Repairing and painting of the eve siding (T 1-11 plywood ) on the cabins south side. 
  4. Removing seasonal mold growth on the external walls of the shelter
  5. Painting the shelter ceiling after re-taping the sheet rock joints.
  6. Stormville Mountain Stone Step Erosion Situation !
        Last year during our July work weekend the club built the Monster bridge at that location. In conjunction with that project we also constructed two retaining walls-- one being fourteen foot long, four foot high by four foot deep. The other one a 20 foot long side hill wall to combat excessive water erosion from snow plowing and road drainage issues.
        This years project we will build 40 feet of new stone steps plus a new retaining wall to go with it.
    
BBQ  / Trail work / Camp out  DETAILS:
     For the last 14 years, even before RPHVC was a maintaining club, we did a BBQ on the second week of July. The food is just bloody GREAT! ( Breakfast Lunch Dinner)  Friday, Saturday, Sunday and sometime even into Monday morning. Holy SMORGASBORDS Need I say more!   
     Trail Work: All volunteers are welcome, all skill levels are more than welcome. For those who don't have any tools for the projects we the club members have them. We are more than happy to teach all volunteers.
     Camp out: Camping is right on the mowed lawn of RPH Cabin. We have spots for about 20 campers or so. Off site camping is also not a problem. If you need to be picked up from the train station, we can work that out also.
     Throughout the season ( March - Sept ) our trail club does trail restoration projects on Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm, depending on the weather. But the weather never stops us that much.             
     During the nicer weather the club will go on some hikes along the Appalachian Trail. Please see our web page for updated details.
     Remember folks, the Appalachian Trail is right in your back yard. We the club maintain a national park. Just think how cool that is. Our club, RPH Cabin Volunteers, gives the long distance hiker, the local hiker, or just the easy stroll in park folks the chance to get away from it all. Please contact me,our membership is only twenty bucks for one year!
     I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thanks,
Tim Messerich President RPHCVC      
Bascom Grillmaster 

The History of my Involvement at RPH

posted Mar 27, 2014, 8:54 AM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Mar 27, 2014, 8:54 AM ]

I have been reading a lot of trail building info online in the passed month or so. I find them somewhat informative. There is just so much you can do with a video. Most of the trail projects at or near RPH were done with no formal training to speak of. I remember thinking some years ago that the trail at RPH always became a mud hole in the spring time. What can one person do about that? Well the 4 foot trail become 8 foot wide just to avoid the swamp. You know if I haul up sand and gravel from the stream in back of the cabin and make a raised walkway, say four foot wide by sixteen feet long, that just might work. Talk about heavy duty work! First lay out logs to hold the sand and gravel, next start sifting out steam bed sand, gravel and mud. Back track just a little: the work site is uphill from the stream, which meant that I had to find a way to get the material to the site. In order to do this I used a two-wheeled garden cart which my Father put together from Vermont Country Garden. The cart was a good twenty years old at the time and in good shape. Fill trail beds, repeat!
 
So here goes, sift out 4 or 5 plastic buckets in stream, haul them up steep hill over three water bars, dump in cart. Drag cart full of sand and small stones to raised trail bed area near cabin. 

This went on for several months with me doing the work all alone. Eventually this young woman showed up to volunteer. She was a great help for several Saturdays until one day she saw a worm in the stream and that was the end of her adventure on the Appalachian Trail. 

In the meantime, the trail bed had gone from one section to four. Man this is going to demand a lot more material than I planned for. These projects tend to get bigger as time goes by.
 
Eventually the next year the local chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club was able to convince Package Pavement of Stormville, NY to donate three yards of stone/sand for the project. That was a Godsend. Package Pavement even delivered the material. 

During one of our July work weekends the remaining beds were build and filled in. We must have had twenty people working on the project. I remember hauling heavy 12 inch x 8 foot oak logs with six or eight people over to trail site. At this present date we have yet to replace any of the sections with new oak logs. If memory servers me right, the new/old walk way has been there for about nine years or so. 

I can almost say with certainty that this trail work is something most non-trailbuilders do not even think about when walking over that section.

Bascom Grillmaster 

Hiker Tech

posted Mar 4, 2014, 6:02 PM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 5:47 AM ]

I've been thinking a lot about tech stuff lately. Just think of the number of people that would not even hike at all if rain gear was still heavy plastic like stuff, Or before GPS or Spots were not invented. The numbers of AT hikes would be down; No cell phones, no pizza delivery at RPH cabin. What are we to do! The number of hikers that seem to rely on GPS instead of being able to read a map is quite interesting. On the AT map and compass are not needed at all now-a- days. Back in 1948 that may not have been the situation.  

During my hike in 1997 rain gear had come a long way; No more flying ponchos and wet leg; Although many AT hikers including my self mailed home our rain pants due to lack of use. That of course depended on what year you were on the trail. In 2003 it rained 25 days straight; No rain gear or any thing stays dry in that kind of weather. There is no question that good quality rain gear has keep large numbers of hikers on the trail  that would have otherwise turned tail and left.

 
One of the thing about tech stuff clothes is the number of people that seem to think that the clothing is the answer to all of their out door problems. This jacket is water proof,so Will It work in cold wind driven rain? Well that's what the tag says! 

I remember bicycling in the high planes of KS/NM in 1983 during such a raging storm.The jacket I  was wearing came  from the North Face one of our tour sponsors. I was so damn cold  I was pulling hair out of my mustache with my teeth for another pain sensation.The jacket held up, if it had been a poncho it my have been over. So tech stuff does push you into the next realm.

Trail Work that Endures

posted Mar 4, 2014, 6:00 PM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 5:47 AM ]

During trail work I try and think of work that will last a life time. Stone work that we do should fall in this category. Too often trail work get "Done for the short term". Oh what the hell that should be enough. Bull shit do it over! If the CCC did it, we can to. All the work that RPHCV does on the trail is damn good.

Take a look around at the Junk tools that Home Depot and Lowe's sells for trail work. 90 percent of them are not USA made. Buy a sledged hammer at Home Depot if the handle breaks, return it for a new one of similar junk. Club member's buy their own tools from yard sales, junk shops, and other American made manufactures. I've spent close to $2000.00 on tools in the last two years alone. I cant understand why anyone would want to buy a tool that is going to break.

The club has had a great number of thru hikers help us with trail work over the last ten years or so. I have noticed that people will come out of the wood work to help build bridges. Other trail work like making gravel by hand ,building water bars,installing stone steps seems to be left to the MIGHTY FEW - That's just the way it is...

RPH Shelter Logs from 1984 to 2009

posted Mar 4, 2014, 5:52 PM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 5:48 AM ]

On our clubs web site you can find 25 years of RPH Cabin Shelter Logs. Before the books went to storage I had them copied on to dvd-r. Looking back always reminds me of the freedom I had on the trail. Please feel free to get the word out, copy at will. For more info about trail work or the shelter logs please contact me or look at our web site. See you on the trail.

Local History Around RPH

posted Mar 4, 2014, 5:50 PM by RPH Cabin   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 5:48 AM ]

There are 5 or 6 charcoal burning circles south of RPH. Most of them seem to be about 10 feet across and roughly two or three feet high. I was told that 100 years ago all of Hosner Mountain was bald. All of the trees were cut down to be turned into charcoal for heating up lime kilns. If you look at a 1930s fly over photo of RPH it shows a apple orchard there along with fields which are still there to day. Most of the trees are gone now due to the snow and ice storms in the last 15 years. There are many stone walls which the trail passes thru close to the cabin area. Just think of the work that the local farmer put in to clear the fields and build the walls. My Grand Mother on my Moms side lived in the area around 1920 (?) She called the area Shenandoorah which when spoken sounds like DOORah not DOAH, Shenandoah, Virginia. Where the name came from, I dont know. Older folks in that section of Hopewell Junction still call it that, as do I.

I find going off trail once in a while is a lot of fun. There is all kinds of stuff to look at.Well for one, the old trail is sometimes still on AT property. Just think some one had to build that trail in the 1930s. I can see them now,Well what do you think George? I see the trail going over that rock this way. Oh come on, the view is better over here. We as trail restorers are doing the same thing. Certain trees bark will hold white paint blazes long after the trail has been moved from that location. Oak trees hold the best. On the west side of Shenandoorah Mountain there are three dead oak trees. The white blazes are still holding on to the ruff bark of those old giants. The trail has not been there sense the late 1970s.

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