Connecticut Waterway Work Trip

Written by Acadia Tripp- NFCT 6 week Stewardship Intern from U-Maine Machias

Our previous waterway work trip for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail definitely improved the campsite on the water’s edge of Ray Lovell’s property. The campsite is situated on the border of New Hampshire in Maidstone, Vermont and paddlers are welcome to set up camp among a grove of silver maple trees along the bank of the river. From the site campers can view the river and a vast grassy field owned and harvested by Mr. Lovell. On Wednesday morning Sam Perron, Kim Hack, and myself, Acadia Tripp, came together to start the frame construction of a moldering privy that would be installed at the campsite. By mid-afternoon, we had the cars loaded and ready to go with the frame, lumber, gear, and freshly sharpened tools. It only took a couple hours to reach Maidstone, VT and find the “Samuel Benton Campsite” titled by Mr. Lovell after his great grandfather. Since we arrived later in the day, we decided to do the majority of unpacking on Thursday morning.

Cookin' pancakes and dodgin' skeeters
Flippin’ pancakes and swattin’ skeeters
The three of us prepared different work stations. One for the privy construction, a picnic table, and another for the rock foundation of the future outhouse. We also started some construction to help guide the five volunteers who would work with us throughout the weekend.
By seven o clock on Friday, 4 out of 5 volunteers had arrived, Dwayne, Karen, Frank, and Steven. Walter Opuszynski, the trail director for NFCT, had also arrived earlier that day to help with the project. We started out the weekend with a delicious dinner that we call a Four Layer Pizza which is baked in a dutch oven over the coals of the campfire. Everyone seemed to be very pleased with the meal, and we all climbed into our tents that night eagerly anticipating the following morning.
Morning yoga led by Stephen
  Morning yoga led by Stephen
The next morning began with a breakfast of pancakes made with your choice of walnuts, apples, and bananas. Then our fifth volunteer, Lyn, arrived with her sunny yellow kayak strapped to the roof of her car. A little before nine am we split into four groups so we could separately construct the box for the moldering privy and the picnic table. In the morning I worked with Walter and Frank to move the last of the granite into place so the privy would be raised in case of a flood. By afternoon, the wood construction was finished so everyone began putting the entire outhouse together while I painted two signs welcoming people to the Samuel Benton Campsite. We all worked really well together and finished all the projects almost completely. By the end of the day, we almost couldn’t believe how much we accomplished, but we moved on to thinking about plans for an end of the weekend paddle for Sunday.
Acadia taking a rest in the foundation
Acadia taking a rest in the elaborate outhouse foundation after rolling stones
After waking up and eating a breakfast of eggs and home fries, we shuttled cars to a canoe takeout before heading down the Connecticut River. It slowly looped back and forth and we were all enjoying the calming scenery with patches of blue sky and sunlight. Things didn’t go as smoothly as planned when we turned left and started paddling against the current to follow another stream to our takeout. We had to stop earlier than planned because of powerful current and fallen trees that cut across the stream. However, we definitely made the best of the situation once Kim and I found nearby dirt roads that lead us to the road where our cars were parked. Everything worked out in the end and the group separated shortly after. The five wonderful volunteers left with a NFCT poster to remember the weekend by, as well as a sense of accomplishment for everything we did at the Samuel Benton Campsite.
Sam fell in but seems to enjoy it
Sam fell in but seems to enjoy it

Upcoming blogs from the field: “Poop Palace” and “Round and Round We Go”: Stay tuned……..