I was over at the Tuscarora Trail on Thurs this week doing some weedwhacking of the rampant briars and weeds along the ridgetop trail. Due to disease and insects, many of the trees along the crest have died (gypsy moth, oak leaf roller), letting more sunshine reach the ground, resulting in a veritable explosion of weedy understory growth.
The trail is barely passable in certain parts between PA 16 south to PA 456--long pants and long sleeves are a necessity or you'd be cut to ribbons by the briars.
So, although my official overseer duties are limited to the Reese Hollow Shelter and the Reese Hollow Trail, there's not much point in having "my" trail (which links the valley access point with the ridgetop Tuscarora Trail) be all spiffied up with nowhere to go after you reach the top. So I pitched in.
Let me tell you, this type of weedwhacking is pretty arduous. My objective was to cover the 3 miles between Hell's Hill Trail and Reese Hollow Trail, heading south to north. However, due to me going off trail on my way up the poorly marked Hell's Hill Trail and veering south somewhat, I reached the Tuscarora perhaps a mile south of the Hell's Hill junction (towards the Yellow Trail).
Thinking the day would go faster, I just began my weedwhacking there. Turns out in actual experience, my pace was about 1/2 mile per hour, so in 5 hours of work I was able to cover perhaps 2.5 miles...at best. By the end of the time I was pretty much shaken to pieces from the incessant vibration.
Left undone is approximately 2 miles of trail directly south of the Reese Hollow Trail junction heading towards the junction with Hell's Hill Trail. So another trip is required, but this time hopefully the overseer for this section will be back from a trip and we'll be able to team up.