Carolina Mountain Club

Hike - Save trails - Make friends

July 31, 2009



A.T.C. Conference Report - 1

From Danny Bernstein

The Green Mountain Club, (GMC) the host club, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. The club maintains the 270-mile Long Trail which includes 105 miles of the A.T. in Vermont.

In the evening program, a speaker told the history of the Long Trail. The most fascinating to me was a proposal during FDR's New Deal to build a Green Mountain Parkway from peak to peak on what was already the Long Trail. It was supposed to be like the Blue Ridge Parkway. GMC fought it and so did the people of Vermont and it never happened.

The ATC Conference biennual business meeting was on Monday morning. And to make sure that everyone attended, nothing else was scheduled. This was the time to give the financial report, nominate new members to the ATC board and give out service awards for ATC staff members. Carolina Mountain Club was recognized for being a club for 85 years (in 2008). In addition, Larry Luxemberg became an honorary member for creating the A.T. Museum.

In the afternoon, I gave my workshop on Writing a Guidebook - It's more than hiking. The workhop, similar to the article I wrote for the Mountain Xpress was very well attended and there was lots of discussion. Several folks were perturbed about how little money one makes writing books.

From Lenny Bernstein

Since I have been chosen as the Chair of the Steering Committee for the 2013 ATC Biennial meeting, which will be held at Western Carolina University, the thing I found most interesting at the 2009 meeting was the way it was organized. I was invited to sit in on the meeting the 2009 Steering Committee held with the 2011 Steering Committee to discuss the lessons they learned in organizing the meeting. One lesson they learned is that the putting together the schedule of hikes was the most difficult part of planning the meeting. If the hike I went on was any indication, they did an excellent job. Each driver was given a written set of instructions to the hike starting point, and the leader gave each participant a sheet with a copy of the topo map section and trail profile for hike.

2009 was a very well run meeting, but it didn’t just happen. The 2009 Steering Committee identified 21 areas of responsibility and appointed a chair, or some times co-chairs, for each. These activity chair reported to four Steering Committee Vice-Chairs. As I write this, I realize that it all sounds rather bureaucratic, but it worked, so I am going to take a careful look at this model. The 2011 Steering Committee introduced their meeting with a 4 ½ minutes PowerPoint video. The pictures were beautiful, but they didn’t have any music or narration. 2013 can do better, but we’ll have to start working on pictures pretty quickly.    

From Tish Desjardins

On Saturday I was a co-leader of an A.T. / Long Trail hike from Forest Road #10 in Danby, VT to Clarendon Gorge.  My partner co-leader was an old hiking friend, Michael Chernik, from Rhode Island who now lives in Vermont and is a member of Green Mountain Club.  The hike distance was 14.8 miles and had its steep climbing right from the start for about an hour.  Thereafter, it was primarily "a walk in the woods" and very green and dark thick woods -- hence, the Green Mountains.  The trail was extremely muddy up to the ankles.  The Long Trail had always been muddy when I've hiked it years ago, but, this year it was extreme due to the unusual amount of rain.  There were lots of Trillium with big blueberries. The Clarendon Gorge welcomed us at the end of the journey with its pretty rushing waterfalls.

On Sunday I was a co-leader of another section of the A.T. / Long Trail.  This one was from Mad Tom Notch to Forest Road #10 and consisted of 12.5 miles and took us over Baker's Peak. This section offered open ridges for viewing the pretty green valleys with farms.  A nice feature was that there were a lot more constructed wooden walkways in the woods so that one did not have to slosh in the mud or walk around the trail that could damage moss and plants.

One of the nice things that I had forgotten about the North woods is the wonderfully fragrant smell of balsam in the air.  We passed through a tenting section of the forest where there appeared an unbelievable "city" of small cairns on display which captured our attention. It looked like a work of art!   Later, we passed a group of college students who were busy building a new shelter.  Joanne Tulip happened to be on our hike and was updating me on her adventures. She is in the process of finally completing all of the AT.

On both days, some through-hikers passed by us.  (I wonder if any were in Hot Springs passing me by this past Spring while I was working on my trail section).

I enjoyed Dayton Duncan's talk and National Parks show on Saturday evening, and, I also enjoyed Sunday evening's "Harmoneers" with their rendition of 50's and 60's songs!

From Howard McDonald

The 37th Biennial Meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, held at Castleton, Vermont, proved to be up to the standards of all the meetings I have attended since 1993 at the Deep South Meeting in Dahlonega, Georgia. This College is among the first colleges in the nation and is now being expanded with a considerable amount of construction. The entire conference had well designed workshops, excursions, hikes, business meetings, and entertainment. The small membership in the Vermont area forced them to ask people from other clubs to lead hikes and was also evident in the numerous mud holes on the trails that had never been by-passed. However, the trails were open because down trees had been cut.

In total, I think the Green Mountain Club should be congratulated!

From Don Walton

One of the most interesting for me was the workshop Management Leadership Forum lead by the VIP’s of ATC. The discussion talked a lot about the current national challenges of raising revenues through membership and donations. The ATC membership revenue is about 55% of the budget. There was a need for a slogan or “elevator speech” voiced to be able to create a more team like environment in ATC. The most challenging trail issue is keeping the trail a simple footpath in a complicated world! Don


Danny Bernstein