Memorial Day Work-Play Klondike Trail Weekend ’18

Our group of five had been warned that an earlier wind event probably produced a lot of blow down on the Klondike trail in the High Peaks. An additional challenge was that thunder storms were predicted for mid-afternoon of our workday.

With the temps cool enough to do trail work and the black flies mostly absent we got on the trail 8ish Saturday morning. We clipped a few trees that were completely blocking the trail just enough so we could pass and hiked 4 miles to the Yard Mountain turn off. The plan was to assess how much work we had and prioritize our efforts on the return hike. We pushed some trees off the trail and others we lifted and moved just far enough to clear the trail. About 10 to 15 trees were large enough to require time consuming saw work. We kept up a quick pace knowing that partly cloudy skies could turn to predicted thunder storms. We skipped cleaning water bars and left some blow down that could be easily stepped over. The afternoon storms never developed and we were back to the trail head by 4. In the end we had cleared 35 to 40 trees from the trail. In comparison in previous years we might encounter on an average of 5 blow downs. What a workout!

We spent Saturday evening enjoying the hospitality of Marilyn and Peter Gillespie in Saranac Lake. The DEC recommends hikers avoid the higher wet and possibly snow covered trails this early in the spring to minimize erosion. On Sunday I found it very easy to comply with that suggestion since I was very sore from playing lumberjack the previous day. I took in Baxter and Blueberry Mountain in Keene Valley.

Submitted by Lee Clukey

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