Trail Journal
Volume 2020:07
Trail Ahead
In this unprecedented year, everything it seems has changed. The same can be said about hiking trails. The gradual reopening of the trail that we reported on last month has continued, but conditions on the trail are anything but normal. Here's what we know:

  • Massachusetts: Mt. Greylock Auto Road and Bascom Lodge are open for the season, but the Visitor Center and campground are closed. Hiking trails are open, however shelters and privies are closed. No overnight camping is allowed on the AT in Mass.
  • Vermont: The AT and Long Trail are open, and shelters and privies may be used with restrictions. Hikers from unrelated groups should not sleep in the same shelter, and in general either avoid touching common surfaces or sanitize those that you do. Wear a mask when around others or in a confined space.
  • New Hampshire: Dartmouth Outing Club has closed all of their facilities, including Ravine Lodge, affecting the AT from Hanover to Kinsman Notch.
  • The trails in the White Mountain National Forest are open, however shelters and privies are closed. All of AMC's huts will remain closed; however, AMC's lodges (Joe Dodge, Highland Center and Cardigan) are open. There will be no AMC hiker shuttle this year.

In addition to the closures noted above, out-of-state visitors should also be aware that each state has instituted requirements for whether someone should quarantine 14 days prior to their visit. We try to keep abreast of those requirements on our Covid-19 webpage. Please check it out.
Leave No Trace
Principle of the Month Club
Leave What You Find

In this year when most shelters are closed, anyone wishing to stay out on the trail overnight will likely have to pitch a tent or hang a hammock. In a previous edition of Trail Journal, we talked about the Leave No Trace principle of camping on durable surfaces. This month’s principle, Leave What You Find, is related.

The basic concept is that if you found it in the woods, then leave it in the woods. But the principle goes beyond that and reminds you not to disturb the ecosystem that you're in. Here are a few basics:
  • If you’re setting up camp, make only minimal site alterations. Don’t construct lean-to’s, tables or chairs out of natural materials. If you end up disturbing an area, try to put it back into its natural state when you leave.
  • Don’t damage living trees and plants. Don’t hammer nails or cut into trees, and don’t wrap tent guy wires around tree trunks.
  • Take pictures of flowers, don’t take the flowers themselves.
  • Leave natural objects (such as antlers or colored rocks) where you found them so that others may enjoy them as well.
  • If you come upon archaeological items (arrowheads, pottery shards, etc.), leave them where you find them. In some areas, it’s illegal to disturb such objects.

Two Tents Corner
I hate bad data. And I know that the older the data is, the more likely it is that it’s bad.

At the beginning of 2020, we knew that the data for the New Hampshire and Vermont sections of the AT was already at least two years old. It was getting a little grey around the temples, so our plan was to go out in the spring, revisit all the trail towns and revise our database accordingly. And then, everything changed. So rather than revisiting and revising, we’ve been busy adding new sections of the trail to the Trail Connections website knowing full well that some of the data we’re publishing is outdated. Did I mention that I hate bad data?

As states begin slowly reopening, we’ve been closely monitoring which states are still requiring out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days. New Hampshire has just lifted its quarantine requirement for residents of the other New England states. As a result, within the next few weeks we will be revisiting the NH communities along the AT and revising the database.

Vermont has reopened for residents of other states if the county where the traveler comes from has under 400 Covid cases per million. Unfortunately, the county that we live in does not meet that criteria. Therefore, for the time being, we will not be revisiting Vermont. Hopefully by the end of this year, that restriction will be lifted.

In the meantime, if you see that one of our listings is not accurate, please send us a message. We recently added a Comment feature to our website that enables any user to make a comment from any page. If you know that a business has closed, or a new one opened, or if there’s any other piece of information that you want to tell us, please feel free to send us a comment.

At Trail Connections, we strive to have the information that we’re providing be as up-to-date as possible. Despite the obstacles that this year has thrown in our path, we’re planning on delivering on that promise.
Hiker of the Month
Our Hiker of the Month is Darren. In his own words, he tells us:

"I enjoy hiking, exploring and constantly being on trails. Every hike is a new experience because you never know what you’ll run into. The views at the destination are always a reward, and being in nature has to be one of the most calming activities. My favorite part of hiking is the exercise and the people you embrace the journey with together!"

We will be making a donation to Darren's chosen trail organization. To be considered for next month's Hiker of the Month, visit either our Instagram or Facebook page, send us a couple of photos and tell us a little about why you love hiking. It's a great way to share your love of hiking with the world and to raise money for your favorite trail organization.
July Events

  • July 10-12: Family Adventure: Hiking Crawford Notch, AMC Highland Center, Carroll, NH
  • July 12-25: Teen Voices: Exploring the Culture of Wilderness, AMC Highland Center, Carroll, NH
  • July 16-19: Backpacking for Beginners. AMC Highland Center, Carroll, NH
August Events

  • August 7-9: Women's Trail Running and Yoga, AMC Highland Center, Carroll, NH
  • August 28-30: Women's 4000-foot Hike, AMC Highland Center, Carroll, NH
Trail Connections
Phone: (978) 530-6883.
P.O. Box 15, Hathorne, MA 01937