On Friday, my friend Ruth and I decided to hike Mt. Chocorua as a Backcountry Steward hike. I’ve posted previously about being a trailhead steward and another backcountry hike that we did as a group. We set out from the Champney Brook Trailhead, with the hope of summiting Mt. Chocorua, and doing whatever needed as backcountry stewards.
Near the falls, we found a fire ring, so we cleaned that up. Moved some rocks around, removed as much ash and burnt wood as we could. Naturalizing the area. We also removed trash, people often throw things that don’t burn into fires and leave behind foil and wrappers. We also removed some men’s underwear and toilet paper! Seriously people! Pack it in, pack it out.
Before and after
Then we noticed some graffiti on the rock walls. Luckily, it was just done with wood charcoal from the fire, so a little water and some elbow grease removed that.
We enjoyed the view of the falls and continued on up to the summit. No picture for it, but on our way up, we tried to use fallen brush to block the shortcuts that people take between the switchbacks. Unfortunately as more people use them, they look more and more like the actual trail. Vegetation dies there, then the soil gets eroded away. Please, always stay on trail!
Once at the summit, it was time for more trash pickup! Ruth used one of my poles to push out a bunch of trash that people had just tossed in this crevice. We found glass, food wrappers, banana peels, apple cores, pistachio shells (none of which are naturally occurring on the summit of Chocorua!), and even some old peel tops from cans!
It was very surreal to be in this beautiful place, with an amazing view, and have on work gloves, picking up trash. It was also surreal and amusing to hike back down carrying a trash bag of trash that wasn’t mine. To realize I was carrying out a stranger’s soiled undies was definitely a new feeling.
We enjoyed a nice lunch break (after generous use of hand sanitizer).
Note the lake to the left of the summit in the photo of Ruth. The little blip on the top of the lake is where a small bridge crosses a tiny point of the lake, which is where I stood to take this picture of the lake and Mt. Chocorua.
This hike was rather long time-wise, but we stopped a lot to talk to other hikers, remove trash, fire rings, etc.
Distance: 7.62 miles
Time: 8:20:23 total time (6:13:50 moving time)
Elevation gain: 2,153 feet