A lot has happened in the last week around the Man in the Mountain trail, so I wanted to put up a post about the whole thing.
The Back Story
Leading up to this week, I had been told directly or saw posts on social media about people being lost on the Man in the Mountain section of the Humber Valley Trail. This was news to me, so I contacted Paul at IATNL and asked him if it would be ok for me to organize a trail marking day. He said sure thing and dropped of the blazes. I posted on Facebook that I would be going out and had 2 friends lined up and many people who were interested but either unavailable or didn’t see my post in time.
|Keri puts up a blaze.|
Saturday, Oct 24th – Blazing Day
Myself along with volunteers, Keri and Alice, spent 5 hours on the Old Man in the Mountain trail putting up new trail blazes and adding pink flagging tape to mark the official trail. We put up about 15 new blazes and did our best to make the tricky sections easier to navigate. Many of the areas where we put up blazes still had the old nails in the tree from other blazes. There are many reasons why the old blazes are missing (freeze/thaw, vandalism, token souvenir etc.) but regardless, it was time to re-mark the trail. Throughout the day, I was making notes about where deadfall needs to be cleared away, sections that need to be trimmed back to widen the trail and sections that need to be worked on due to erosion. These notes will help next spring, when we make plans for trial maintenance.
|At first pond, where a blaze was removed.|
Tuesday, Oct 27th – Three days later….
I had spare morning and had some filming to do for my next gear review (Merrell hiking boots) and decided to use the Old Man in the Mountain Trail as my backdrop. Along the way, I met a guy to told me he got lost at the first pond. Ugh! So up I went to check it out….and sure enough, the new blazes were gone! How could this be? We just put them up? Feeling frustrated, I just marked the trail with pink flagging tape and posted a Facebook update for hikers.
Current Trail Status and Description
Overall, the trail is in ok shape. From the parking lot near Ballams bridge on Bear Head Rd, the trail is easy to follow, just be mindful of the washout sections. It is safest to walk in the washout (you cannot slide into it then) and we want to try to avoid widening the trail. When you reach the first pond, stay right and head out to the first lookoff. Continue along the trail and begin to climb again. Here the trail is steep and VERY slippery when wet. There are many small paths, but they all lead to the same place.
|Second Pond – The Wet Area|
Next you will be approaching the second lookoff. From here, the trail is down hill on your left (still heading towards marble mountain) and following the new blazes, make your way down hill to the second pond, again staying right. This is the wettest section of trail (its a bog) and theres no avoiding it, so come prepared. Still continuing downhill, here you will notice fallen tress across the trail, please try to stay on the existing path around these and not create more.
|Route around the third pond.|
Finally you will emerge at the third pond (referenced as second pond in Hikes of Western NL) and here you have to stay right and walk the shoreline. Pink flagging tape has been added to the alders and we put up 2 blazes to mark the way. The trail begins again about half way around the pond and is indicated by pink flagging tape on both sides of the entrance. You should be able to see the entrance from the other side now. Follow the trail (again navigating around some fallen trees) until you reach the official Old Man lookout. Now you are approx. 340m above the valley where you have great views out the Bay of Islands, as well as towards Marble Mountain. Be VERY careful at the lookout, your standing on a cliff edge!
Return back down the same way.
So, what next?
Thats a great question!
For me, I plan too;
- Work with the IATNL to plan for spring trail maintenance and if you want to be involved, comment below or message me.
- Keep hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing and doing Trail Updates here on Outdoors and On the Go on a regular basis.
- Be available to anyone who hikes or wants to hike for questions, comments, complaints, suggestions …. whatever and compile all that info, so I can keep banging the drum on trails and hiking here in Western NL.
|On the way to the trailhead.|
- Meet with different levels of government, trail organizations, and other stakeholders to pass along hiker feedback, share ideas, and support the processes of securing funding, forming collaborative groups to work on trails and whatever else comes along that I can help with.
For you, here are my suggestions;
- Hike! Then share your pics, trail updates, and other feedback in any of the FB hiking groups, comment on my blog or FB page, email me or your local trail group.
- Practice the seven Leave No Trace Principles on all your outdoor adventures.
- Support your local trail organization – volunteer to help them with their Facebook, website, trail development or maintenance, provide a donation or sign up for a membership/ buy a pass.