Enthusiasm. That’s what truly fuels great trail-making.
Recently, a Long Path hiker expressed concern on our trail conditions forum (http://www.nynjtc.org/forum/trail-conditions) about a planned reroute of the trail that he saw indicated on a Trail Conference map.
“I have noted on the Trail Conference maps for Sam’s Point and Minnewaska State Park [Shawangunk Trails map set] that the Long Path may be relocated to head north to Kerhonkson or Napanoch sooner rather than pass through the main area of Minnewaska State Park. After hiking along the numerous cliffs, [and enjoying] views and swimming at Lake Awosting on a hot summer’s day at the end of the day’s hike, I believe this would be a terrible idea. Minnewaska has far too much to offer to relocate the Path from this area. Please don’t change the Path in Minnewaska, it’s one of the Path’s best areas to date, in my opinion, as a potential end-to-ender, hiking the length of this trail.”
Andy Garrison, one of our volunteer co-chairs for the Long Path (with Jakob Franke), addressed this hiker’s concerns. Andy is trail enthusiasm embodied. Here’s what he says about the relocation:
“The future Long Path (LP) will leave VerKeerderkill Falls and follow the High Point Trail. The High Point Trail has many awesome views along with a great 360-degree view on top of High Point. The LP will continue on the Berrypicker Trail, with its awesome views too. Upon reaching Smiley Carriageway, the Long Path thru-hikers will have the option to camp in Witch’s Hole State Forest, which has a very reliable spring. From Smiley Road the Long Path will follow the Mine Hole Trail and a newly constructed connector to Berme Road.
“The Mine Hole Trail is awesome too and includes Panther’s Rock. Please keep in mind that the route I just described is in Minnewaska State Park Preserve and is extremely awesome. Beyond Minnewaska the Long Path will follow a few back roads with little traffic for under three miles to the Vernooykill State Forest.
“Plans are in place to route the Long Path through Vernooykill State Forest and meet the present LP at Vernooykill Falls. This will reduce the present 13-mile road walk to under three miles.
“I also have hiked the entire Long Path and originally had the same thought as you about not moving the trail. I am presently working on the reroute and can tell you that it is an overall improvement.”
In short, Andy and his LP co-chair Jakob Franke, avid hikers both, are making a great trail even greater through their dedicated volunteer service. That’s been the Trail Conference story for 91 years now, and counting.
–Georgette Weir, Trail Walker editor