May’s article is not about a hike at all, but about hacking a thin trail through tangled riverside woods. It is the hope of the group that did the hacking that, eventually, our slim path will grow into beautiful bike and walking track, part of a grand Norwalk Valley River Trail. You can imagine it like that, a shady asphalt trail along the riverbank for Norwalkers to ride and stroll on. The riverbank is now unused – almost. I went back with two of the group today to hack back new growth, and our trail took us under highway bridges where discarded bottles, graffiti and a fire pit suggested that a popular trail may not be good news for everyone. Later we found two plastic chairs neatly arranged in a rudimentary riverside shelter of branches and boards.
Urban trail, at least on the basis of “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”, is surely more important than wilderness trail. I had to drive 50 miles to get to another bit of trail work this month. It was admittedly nicer scenery up in Sharon. There another bunch of volunteers was ready to put in a shift. This crew were from the CT Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Some, like me, were newbies. Others had clearly been doing this together for a long time. I joined the party that went to build a privy at Pine Swamp Brook lean-to. It wasn’t arduous work compared to blazing the NRVT. As somebody quipped, it was about passing tools to those who knew what they were doing. But when D2 and I pass that way in a few weeks (see previous post), I will direct her to “my” privy with great pride.