| March 7th,2011 -Results of Bread n' Jam Race
Here are the results of the Bread n' Jam 5K and 10K race held at Notchview this past weekend. We had a good turnout and the prizes were yummy !!!
| 2011 Bread and Jam Classic Results|
| 10 Km Distance ||5 KM Distance|
|1||M30||Tom Keefe||35:18||1||M10||Greg Karabinos||19:16|
|2||M10||Joshua Harrington||35:25||2||M10||Alex White||19:09|
|3||M10||Luke Costley||38:31||3||F10||Mackenzie Hitchcock||21:06|
|4||M40||Chris Trager||39:51||4||M10||Will Nolan||22:15|
|5||M10||Logan Wilson||40:15||5||F10||Stephanie Adamczyk||24:08|
|6||M10||Dan Dermody||40:36||6||F10||Alexandra DeVaux||24:08|
|7||F10||Kate Costley||41:19||7||F10||Chloe Anderson||24:09|
|8||M50||Ed Hamel||41:40||8||M40||Darrell Rikert||24:26|
|9||M60||Robert Quigley||41:50||9||F10||Jessica Voight||29:15|
|10||M50||Tim Crane||42:00||10||F10||Jacky Farrell||31:53|
|11||M40||Bryan Atwood||42:53||11||F10||Maggie Bouvier||31:55|
|12||F40||Hilary Greene||45:20||12||M50||Robert Hayward||33:37|
|13||M10||Derek Wood||48:20||13||F10||Claire Dileo||36:59|
|14||F10||Kat Chenail||49:15||14||BKL||Luke Sedor Protti||37:37|
|15||M10||Curran Doyle||50:06||15||F50||Cynthia Poirier||43:05|
|16||M50||Jason Kahn||50:55||16||BKL||Clarissa Pollard||43:14|
|17||M50||Paul Shepardson||51:41||17||M50||Mark Pollard||44:11|
| Jan.7,2011 -Minor Trail Improvements
What happened last summer. The Notchview crew with a lot of help from volunteers did a rebuild of the section of Minor Trail between Whitestone and Shaw Road. The primary intent was to eliminate the ice and melt-out situation that frequently occurred to the north of the bridge over Shaw Brook.
Since the area is subject to the river protection act we filed a notice of intent with the Windsor Conservation Commission. Marc Volk of the Conservation Commission suggested that we build a modified French drain right on the trail to the north of the bridge. That we did. We started with 100 feet of filter fabric and laid it directly on the trail. We then covered the fabric with 4-5” of 4” crushed stone to provide an area to collect the water. This was covered with another layer of filter fabric and topped with 3” of crushed rock from a nearby quarry. At the foot of the drain we installed a perforated pipe to collect the water from the drain and direct it to a natural swale to the west of the trail.
For the remainder of the trail we installed natural bottom wood box culverts and ditches with check dams to slow the waters movement. Also, we took the opportunity to clear a lot of trailside debris left from the infamous ice storm of 2008. The result is a much more durable trail surface that should reduce erosion well into the future. With the first skiing behind us the indications are that things are working well. This section of Minor Trail is now one that we are able to count on in marginal snow conditions. We hope to continue with this type of improvement in future summers and welcome everyone to help out. For more information on volunteering check with the ranger at the Visitor Center or email Notchview@ttor.org.
| Wednesday,Feb.24,2010 -Notchview Heroes
The snow has been coming down like crazy today and it has been doing so since yesterday afternoon when I barely made it home on an unplowed Route 9 from Amherst to Windsor. Right now the snow is continuous, heavy, and unrelenting. It’s a real old fashioned winter snow storm. In fact, I don’t quite remember a storm that has gone on this long and there is another forecast for tomorrow. I’m sure there have been storms just like this one before but the piles are like walls and the rumble of avalanche style snow coming off the roof are a tad alarming. I wonder where all this snow will go? Mostly I wonder if the power will go out. I am reminded of a storm experience I really hadn’t ever been through before, the ice storm of December 12, 2009. In a matter of hours the electricity was out and trees of great size everywhere around us were knocked down or topped off barber shop style by devastating ice. We were off the grid for 8 days.
Jim Caffrey of Notchview Reservation said he had been sleeping soundly after a long day on a trail crew when a big branch came crashing through his roof and the whole house shook. Then he heard the bang, bang, bang of trees and branches snapping and knew in an instant it was just what had happened in the October ’87 ice storm when he managed the Field Farm in Williamstown. “I had memories of the effort and what it would take. I thought, just give me two more hours of sleep before we have at it.” From that day on for over a year now, the crew at Notchview and many volunteers, carefully supervised by Jim and his expert crew, have worked on clean up at Notchview with astonishing success. Expertise in a variety of disciplines along with a lot of hard work has turned around what were once hip high masses of branches and trees over hundreds of acres into a much more favorable ecological and recreational situation. Pat Toomey, plant and soil science and ski trails, John Dziegiel, urban forestry, Jacob Chase, landscaping, and Jim Caffrey’s forestry expertise have transformed a disaster into a carefully restored arboretum. The ski trails are open and groomed for a fabulous nordic ski season. Today’s snow will only add to the joy.
None of this could have been done without volunteers like Peter Rayton, Bill Arduser singlehandedly taking on devastated Whitman Trail, Bruce Townend, Glenn Roy, Ed Neumuth, Jeanne Mangan, Bill Williams, Dave Dirrell, Vinny Vieneau, Gene Komlosi, and Ed Hamel who rallied Berkshire Trails Nordic Ski Club for some big days. Lorie O’Reilly and Melanie Engalls with the Wachonah, Hoosic, and Lenox high school teams, for a total of about 200 people worked all year to fulfill the mission to preserve as much of the woods as possible.
Walking and skiing the trails, it is startling to notice the forest canopy has been sheared off evenly like a perfect hair cut. The sky shines through with a new openness. Jim says that it will actually be good for certain hard woods that need more light. Nature has altered the woodlands here and intrepid crews have uncomplainingly taken the situation in stride. We all need to recognize these heroes and those like them who do this amazing work, all for nature and the restoration of the beauty and recreational usefulness of an important property.
My good friend and colleague, Phil Crafts, retired last spring. He is a master science teacher, a wise and gracious man, and all the students and staff think he is great. It’s always been hard for me to see great teachers leave when I feel as though I’ve just gotten to know them, even if it has been 10 or 15 years. School years pass so swiftly and the students mature so quickly it’s impossible to keep track of time. This year Phil mentioned how he’d heard the song of the male cardinal in his yard. I remarked that I had heard that recently too, at Notchview. He said this is one of the first moments of early spring when there is all of a sudden just enough sunlight and vitamin D3 to trigger the singing response, a change in plumage, and the instinct to scatter and establish territories in the woods. I too had noticed the sudden change in the quality and timing of the light but also knew that this has been changing two or three minutes a day for weeks now. There is a special moment in the morning or afternoon when I notice there is more light, earlier or later, and my heart races a little. Another winter is coming to a close and there is always the promise of spring.
| Saturday March 6, 2010 -Bread and Jam Race Results
The Notchview Bread and Jam Race was a huge success again this year.
Here is the reults from the 24th annual race:
|5 Km (7.4 Km)|
|10 Km (14.8 Km)|
| Monday Feb. 8,2010 -Snowshoe Hiking
On Sunday Feb. 7th, I led a snowshoe hike thru the Hume Trail on the south side of the Notchview property. Jim, Pat, John and Jake have really improved the skiing on what is called the “dog loop” in the area. There are now four fields that offer groomed trails around their perimeter.
But the reason for this blog is not to discuss the great skiing but the great snowshoeing in this area. Besides the Hume Trail which is strictly a snowshoe trail in the winter, there are lots of fields to explore and the Hume barn to visit.
The Hume trail meanders along Hume Brook where people can see the work of beaver and the damage done by the Dec. 2008 ice storm. Then the trail turns sharply south and up into a spruce forest,where it winds thru second growth woods. This trail was once part of a demonstration forest / woodlot with wooden markers driven into the ground with numbers on them. An accompanying brochure described what the area near a given numbered post contained. The posts remain but the brochure is no longer used and the area has grown and changed since it was first put into use.
The trail continues thru the woods and climbs up into one of the fields . I have seen sign of owls, coyotes,beaver, deer and otter while exploring this trail at various times of the year.
We used the tunnel under Rt.9 to get over to the Hume side of Notchview and not everyone knows about this tunnel that Col. Budd insisted that the state install when they built the new Rt.9 so that he could safely move his cows across to the pastures on the Hume side. The tunnel is usually slick with ice during the winter so skiers don’t use it very often but snowshoers with modern snowshoes can negotiate this tunnel easily. I spent a morning this past fall clearing the bushes that have grown up on either end of the tunnel so it is easier to get thru now. A nice trail leads from the tunnel to the wood road leading to Hume fields and the trail.
I am amazed at the large number of people who have discovered snowshoeing this year at Notchview. Just about every time I am out skiing or snowshoeing there are signs of snowshoers enjoying this wonderful winter wonderland. If you haven’t tried it, plan on doing so soon.I think you’ll see how much more country you can discover off the beaten path.
| 01/14/2010 -Winter Trails Day @ Notchview
Winter Trails Day was an incredible hit last Saturday 01/09/2010. Even though it was cold, people came out in vast numbers to enjoy the trails, learn to ski, snowshoe, and ski joring hitched to dogs for a fun run. The snow conditions were excellent and a lot of people from Connecticut, New York, and the Pioneer Valley Valley came out where there was some base. Notchview offered ski lessons in all styles, ski tours, snowshoe lessons and tours.
Everyone who returned equipment to the desk reported having a fabulous time. There were many people who were trying skiing and snowshoeing for the very first time. Dog sledding/skiing was also a big hit. I was working the desk so I didn’t get a chance to try it but I am very keen to give it a whirl.
Later that night we had our annual volunteer appreciation banquet at the lodge and it was very cozy by the masonry stove. Jim Caffrey was very eloquent in his remarks and looked back on a very eventful and adventurous year. The press has been very supportive of Notchview of late with articles on the fabulous trails in the wake of the horrible ice storm in Dec.2008.
The crew at Notchview was nothing short of heroic in how they cleaned up the mess and restored the forest and trails. Conditions at Notchview are fabulous. We had a 6-11 inch base depending on where you skied. The cold and flurries we have had has made the trails really nice. Everyone is really happy real winter is here and if this past weekend is any indicator, a lot of people want to learn to have fun on the winter trails.
Colin Harrington, M.Ed.
Amherst Regional High School
Amherst, MA 01002
| Thursday, Jan. 6,2010 -Skiing Green
Have you seen the windmill at Jiminy Peak? When I was there on a blustery day in December ,
I skied as close as I could get to check out the sound from
the spinning blades. From a couple of hundred yards away it was hard to hear at first above the sound
of the wind. It sounded a bit like a jet flying high overhead ,
overlaid with a rhythmic whirring as the massive blades swiped
across the sky. I felt a little less guilty that day knowing that
clean energy was powering my ride to the top. I'm a big fan of windmills.
I'm an even bigger fan of cross-country skiing. I'm lucky to live where I can walk out the door
and put on my skis. I use a pair of wide waxless with
partial metal edges paired with sturdy NNN BC boots - just the thing for breaking trail in variable
conditions. I like backcountry skiing, but it can be a lot of work.
At Notchview, just a ten-minute drive away, you'll find me
on lighter gear. Why? Because the trails are packed down and smoothed out, I can use skinny skis to
skim over the surface of the snow. Groomed trails are relatively new
phenomenon for cross-country skiing.
When I was in high school in the
seventies we'd ski the course before the race to set the track.
If the snow was really deep, we'd snowshoe first. Now specialized
equipment is pulled behind snowmobiles or snow cats to prepare the snow for our skiing pleasure.
Notchview has a tiller. This piece of equipment is like a giant rolling pin
with teeth that churn up the crust and knock the air out
of deep powder. A heavy plastic comb sculpts a corduroy surface behind while hydraulic pans press
parallel tracks firmly into the snow. Skate skiing in particular would be
impossible without this type of trail preparation. I'm glad we have these
machines; they make skiing easy and fun!
It's a fact that today's grooming uses more energy than we did back in the day. Compared to a downhill
area though, it is just a drop in the bucket.
Cross-country skiing is still the greenest skiing around. The next time you come to Notchview
remember that your choice for winter fun is a good choice for the environment.
Berkshire Trail Elementary School
| Monday January 4,2010 -2010, Looking up !
On New Year's Day we went to Notchview Reservation and enjoyed a wonderful day of cross country skiing.
What a great way to start off 2010. "Things are looking up", especially when I ski through the woods!
It has been over a year since a tragic ice storm devastated the forests of the hilltowns in Western Massachusetts.
The crew from Notchview worked many hours to open up their closed trail system, clearing downed trees and broken branches.
Other TTOR crews from across the state came to assist in cleaning up the damage, keeping Notchview open last season.
Many volunteers helped right after the storm and through out the year to get Notchview back to normal.
As I skied the far end of Whitestone Trail, I could not believe the damage that still exists in this section, adjacent to the trail system.
Looking up, it is apparent that almost 50% of the crowns are broken off on the deciduous trees, beach, maple, ash and cherry.
I would think that many full grown trees may not survive with so many limbs and branches broken off their tops.
Some trees almost look like telephone poles with just a few ragged limbs sticking out of their upper reaches.
Hardwood trees can regenerate some new growth, but unfortunately many of these probably will not survive.
What is interesting, with so much of the forest canopy gone, how sunlight will now able to reach the forest floor and bring change.
Look at some of the low understory trees and observe how many young evergreens, mostly spruce, are spread about.
These shade tolerant trees are now "released" and will slowly change this climax hardwood forest over to a stand of mostly spruce.
This process of succession will take many years and it will be interesting to see what happens.
On Whitestone, just west of where it crosses the skating trail, look up and check out several new "bear nests"!
Several years ago, Cath Whitcomb pointed out bunches of branches up in the tops of some beach trees in this same area.
She said that they were made by black bears. Who knew?
Bears sometimes climb beach trees, pulling down upper branches to get at ripe beach nuts.
They gather these branches together and build what looks like a big nest made out of broken branches.
Look for four "bear nests" on the south side and two on the north side of the trail.
Happy New Year. Things are indeed looking up!