Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trail Work: Reese Hollow Trail

Couple days ago I did some recurring trail maintenance work on "my" trail.  The Reese Hollow Trail is a side trail in southern PA that links the dry, ridgetop Tuscarora Trail with a shelter and spring.

The weeds are bad this year and I used my gas weed whacker to keep the trail open and the weeds to a manageable height.

I use the term "weeds" rather loosely, becasue I never would have imagined that I would have to weed whack ferns. Turns out that ferns are ubiquitous in this area and in places would totally encroach and cover the trail.

[image credits Gary]

I used up 3 tanks of gas, and was about shaken to pieces from the chronic vibration.  Note to self: next time don't leave the goggles and hearing proection in the garage.  I also cleared 2 minor blowdowns.

I also mounted a couple of signs I made.  I don't have a router so I used a Dremel tool to cut the letters. Mine is the lower yellow sign to provide spring and distance info.



Hikers should note that Tuscarora Trail is again VERY overgrown this summer with briars (actually I think they are wild raspberries). There are some quite negative comments in the trail register on the TT near top of Reese Hollow Trail.

This ridgetop is pretty clear (many trees gone, perhaps due to gypsy moths) so that a ton of sunlight reaches the forest floor, promoting a lush growth of understory...including the briars.

Frankly, I cannot recommend hiking the southern PA section of the Tuscarora Trail (south of PA RT 16) right now unless you wear jeans and long sleeves; you will get badly scratched up.

I tried an experiment last month on a 200-yard stretch of the Tuscarora Trail just north of its junction with my Reese Hollow Trail.  Rather than clip or cut the briars since they are very shallow-rooted, I simply pulled the briars out by their roots using thick leather gloves.

That 200 yard stretch of trail remains clear enough to hike easily: grassy but the briars are still at bay off to the sides of the trail.  However, it'd take a big crew of people to cover a dozen miles using this technique.

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