2017 Pine Link Trail Maintenance – White Mountains, NH.
For the past 10 years Zachary Berger Associates has been the sole volunteer adopter of the Upper Pink Link trail. Situated on the northeastern side of Mt. Madison, maintaining Pine Link can be both challenging and rewarding. Environmental stewardship, viewing native flora and rigorous exercise are just some of the reasons we love this trail.
Part of the AMC’s Adopt-a-Trail program our maintenance of Upper Pine Link goes beyond minimal requirements. Much of this section of trail resides in the alpine zone so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to become certified in maintaining this fragile part of the trail’s environment. Some plants can take up to 25 years to flower for the first time and an uneducated hiker can ruin those plants long-term.
So what’s does a normal day of trail maintenance entail? The answer to this largely depends on the regularity in which the trail is maintained and the overall terrain of the trail.
Adopting a trail via AMC requires at least 3 visits per year. In the event your trail doesn’t see the required attention, you can expect an increase in maintenance time. This means an earlier start, later finish and an increased pack weight due to the need of caloric replenishment and additional tools. This can be achieved with more volunteers and planning to pay for a meal at the Madison Spring Hut.
The Pine Link trail hike, without conducting trail maintenance will take the average hiker about 7 hours to complete! The shortened days of Spring and Fall requires adopters to plan accordingly.
As the above map indicates, we take Airline trail up to the hut then traverse down our adopted trail. The ascent is fairly straight forward with minimal challenges and can be achieved within 2.5 hours. The descent is a different story altogether.
The high amount of rainfall this year has led to increased foliar growth and generally slick terrain.
The beginning of Pine Link is usually a hack back (“brushing-out”) of the past season’s growth and clearing for hikers. The middle is a scurry across an intimidating boulder field (above) ending with a rewarding mesa that’s best suited for a cold beverage of your choice.
The end stretch of Pine Link can be the most treacherous considering grade and general traction along mossy boulders. Once maintenance is complete, it’s a race to the parking lot before daylight vanishes.
Adopting the Upper Pine Link trail has been an honor and tradition within ZBA and we’ll remain committed for at least another 10. Who wants to join us next year? We could use the extra hand. (or two)