The Gile Mountain Trail used to be a muddy mess, until a series of stone steps were installed with a system of drainage, starting in 2011 and completed in 2015. Despite the improvements, leaves continued to fall, annually clogging the upgraded drainage system. This created a new trail maintenance tradition: putting the Gile Mountain Trail to bed for the winter in readiness for winter hiking and the runoff from spring thaw.
So, the 2021 maintenance ritual began at 8:00 am at the Gile Mountain parking lot when a volunteer crew of four arrived to find Nick Krembs and Jim Faughnan hard at work, cleaning out the drainage at the top side of the lot.
The crew carried rakes, hoes, a shovel and a mattock to the top of the built-up section and commenced to work downhill with each volunteer leap-frogging past those below, upon completion of a given stretch. The task for each segment was to clear leaves out of the drainage on the uphill side of the trail and move them to the downhill side. Then, to clean the leaves that accumulate at the riser of each step. And, finally, to clean each narrow drainage passage across the trail.
At about 10 am, the crew took a break to enjoy sugar-coated, maple-flavored donut holes, compliments of Nick Krembs. There was some debate as to which has emptier calories—the small, cooked ball of donut or the air in the space out of which the ball was punched!
The area from the power line to the parking lot received some minor clearing of leaves to improve drainage. The crew finished its work after about 2.5 hours.
The crew comprised:
- Jim Faughnan
- Bob Fisken (with Bela)
- Steve Flanders
- Nick Krembs (work leader)
- John McCormick
- Cody Williams
Story and photos by Stephen Flanders