When Kevin and I first met, we talked a lot about all the time we both spent on the trails. I had a love for running, skiing, and hiking in the woods, and Kevin enjoyed mountain biking, snowshoeing, and hiking the trails. These conversations almost always evolved into talking about the trail, not the activity. Kevin was doing a lot of trail building and maintenance in the Southern New Hampshire area at the time. He told me, "trail work has become a passion all its own." For me the trails and the woods were often a bigger draw than the activity itself, but trail work? Hmmm, I guess I hadn't actually done a whole lot of that. Well, now after helping Kevin with his Ossipee River Trail project and seeing local people enjoy the trails and praise them and wonder who has done all the work there, I understand!
After Hurricane Irene went through, there was a lot of work that needed to be done on these trails. With a few re-routes, some chain saw work, and a lot of raking and clearing, Kevin had every single one of the trails in perfect condition within a week. I never even got a chance to get out there to lend a hand. He was driven to get the work done. It's his passion, remember?
On today's late morning trail run on the Ossipee River Trails, I was surprised to hear the excited chattering of young children as I ran down Black Forest. Unlike the popular River Run Trail, not many people have discovered Black Forest. We've seen a few mountain bike tire tracks that weren't ours, evidence that Horsey Sue has tried riding her horse through Black Forest (not a good trail for equestrians, by the way,) and the very occasional teen aged couple looking for a place for romance (again, not a good choice, it's pretty soggy out there.) People sightings on Black Forest remain a rare thing. Today, as I rounded a bend I came face to face with a single file line of second graders led by their school teacher. They were out on a nature hike, enjoying the beautiful Fall day. They enthusiastically pointed out mushrooms, chipmunks, and mud to each other. I stepped off the trail with a happy heart and let them pass.
I had a spring in my step and a smile on my face for the rest of my run. I loved the little sneaker prints in the damp soil. As I jumped over a big stump in the middle of the trail, I imagined the line of kids having fun hopping up onto it and then down off the other side, one by one. As I crossed the little plank bridge over a pretty babbling brook, I imagined the kids probably liked the sound of the water gurgling below. I wondered if they had been too noisy to hear the Spring water bubbling just below the soil and roots they were walking on for a good portion of the trail. As I came to the end of the trail I turned and looked back at the little sign, high up in an Oak Tree that reads "Black Forest." If any of them had noticed that, I'm sure they were intrigued. I can't wait to share all this with Kevin. I know it will make him happy.