Thursday, June 28, 2012

Glastenbury Wilderness Project Week 2

This week the LANDS crew finished up our data collecting for the Glastenbury Wilderness. We focused our efforts on the interior of the Wilderness area.  This required a week of backpacking, and leaving the comforts of our beloved van, Bianca, behind.  On Monday we set off from the Greenhouse to buy our food for the week, and then headed to Leah’s house to pack all our gear.  We drove south to Glastenbury Wilderness and set forth into the forest.  As soon as we left the van a thunderstorm started.  Lightning struck relatively close to us, but we pressed onward.  We hauled our heavy packs over beaver impoundments, up steep hills, and over trails that had seen better days.  Arriving at the Goddard shelter was quite a relief.  We set up camp, ate a delicious meal of hot vegetable soup, and watched the rain fall.  And fall it did.  One of our tents flooded, and everyone in the group was soaked from the earlier hike in.  We went to bed early and hoped for better weather.
Bianca filled with our backpacking gear
Beaver impoundment along the Long Trail
                  On Tuesday we woke to some chilly and damp weather.  We ate our breakfast and planned for the day.  Andrew and Leah planned to hike back to the van and drive it to a better location for pick up at the end of the week.  The rest of the crew split into teams and divvied up which trails to monitor for invasive species.  We focused our efforts on the West Ridge Trail and the various spur trails that connected to it.  One team found some multiflora rose, but the rest of the teams were glad to not find any invasives on the trails.  We all returned to the Goddard Shelter in time for dinner.  There were many Appalachian and Long Trail thru-hikers who passed by the shelter, disappointed to find that it was full because of our crew.  Some hiked on to the next shelter, but others set up tents near the shelter.  We met quite a few interesting characters, and decided that from now on we would sleep in our tents and leave the shelters to the exhausted thru-hikers. 
                  On Wednesday we woke up and packed up all of our gear.  The plan was to hike to the Kid Gore Shelter, 4 miles down the Long Trail.  Along the way we would monitor any side trails that branched off the Long Trail.  Less than a mile down the trail we came across a fire tower.  The view from the top was spectacular.  There was nothing but forest and lakes as far as the eye could see.  
We continued down the trail until we came across the first side trail.  We sent two teams to check out this trail, and the rest of us hiked to the Kid Gore Shelter.  
The view from the fire tower
We stopped there for lunch and updated our plans.  Because many of the side trails that were shown on the map did not actually exist, we were nearly finished with our work.  We decided to hike the 5 miles to the next shelter, and then hike the final 2 miles to the van and finish up a day early.  Andrew and Sam hiked ahead to monitor an additional 2 mile trail for invasive species.  We all met back to the van by 6 o’clock and started the long drive back to Burlington.  We stopped for some delicious pizza in Rutland and made it back to Burlington by 9:30.
Dylan at the Kid Gore Shelter

Digging into our pizza
                  On Thursday we reconvened to input our data, clean the van, sort out the gear, and finish up various other chores.  While we were sad to leave the Glastenbury Wilderness behind, we were happy to enjoy the comforts of home and to look forward to our upcoming projects.  

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