Highlights from Highgate Waterway Work Trip:

The crew pre-log ladder

This week’s waterway work trip in Highgate Vermont aimed to put the finishing touches on the campsite and portage trail along the Missisquoi River. Previous work trips in years past installed two beautiful sets of lumber staircases along the portage trail, so we had a lot to live up to this time around. This week we had our hands full installing another set of lumber stairs, constructing a new wet willy privy, sprucing up the campsite, removing graffiti near a historic bridge, and improving drainage on sections of the portage trail.

Brianna and Dorthy meticulously chisel the mortises

To help us complete these projects we had a small but strong group of volunteers that ranged from the young to the young at heart. Dorothy brought a wealth of information on the local history, including the local Native American group, the Abenaki. The Highgate region was once an Abenaki settlement and is a site still held in high regard by the Abenaki today.  The Fords, Russ and his sons Sterling and Ent brought a load of enthusiasm and energy, that made everyone in the group smile.

Ent rippin’ into a board to make the sign-in box

Thanks to our fabulous volunteers several years of work has finally come into fruition.  A steep section of the portage trail now has a new staircase, which will help to prevent erosion and preserve the roots of an old oak tree. Our wet willy and its royal foundation is sure to last well into the future, and make the stay of many campers more pleasurable. The campsite received a facelift, by leveling out a tent spot, and installing a sign-in box, constructed by the multi-talented Ent. Ditching was installed to help control drainage issues caused by renegade ATV use along the portage trail, and graffiti near one of Vermont’s historic bridges is now a thing of the past.

 Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

The Wet Wally Privy finally finds a home

If you’re in the area feel free to sign-in and say hello

But all work and no play makes for a very boring work week. We made sure to squeeze in visits to Joey’s Junction for his famous Maple Custards and cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates. In addition, many great stories were shared around the campfire in the evenings accompanied by fresh apple crumble cooked in our well-loved dutch oven.

We finished off the weekend with a beautiful Sunday morning paddle around Maquam Bay on Lake Champlain. Thanks to Dorothy’s suggestion we were able to experience this unique area rich in Native American history and natural beauty. The weather was beautiful as it was for most of the week. The sun was shining, the birds were out, and the company was great.

Heading out into the sunset after a job well done!

Thanks to all our volunteers and to all you NFCT blog followers for tuning in to the latest Canoe Trail News.

Allison Waring  NFCT summer 2010 Stewardship Intern