We hike for a variety of reasons, for physical fitness, to challenge themselves, to explore nature. We pack our backpacks and head out never thinking that we won’t get from point A to point B without a problem.
In May a Berks county woman walking her dog got lost on the on the Tom Lowe Trail. I’m sure she thought she was just going for a short hike since she didn’t have any food or water with her. The idea she would spend the night hunkered down outside never crossed her mind. This should be a lesson for us to not get too comfortable even on a short or familiar trail.
Having a fully charged cell phone with you to call for help is basic item to carry with you but there are dead spots on the trail with no cell service so make sure you tell someone where you will be and what time you will be back. And check in with that person when you return. Always take water with you and for longer hikes a protein bar, water filter and thermal blanket should be in your pack. You should carry a first aid kit and make sure you keep it updated and replenished as you use items from it. And a tip from Michelle Hinkle is to carry your old expired Driver’s License in your backpack for identification.
If possible hike with a companion, there is safety in numbers. While the trail is usually a tranquil place where there is a real comradery among the ‘trail family’ sometimes the violence from the outside world creeps in. One such incident happened in May 2019 when one hiker was murdered and another in-jured by an unstable person. Even though the group of four hikers made the decision to leave the area where the unstable person was, two of the hikers were still overpowered. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable get out of the area as soon as you can. And make sure you report anything unusual to the local authorities. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says ‘If you see something, say something’. The Nation Park Service has a 24 hour Dispatch/Communications Center which can be reached at 1-866-677-6677 or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are doing trail work or hiking in our area and see something that doesn’t seem right our local Game Warden Tyler Kreider has asked that we let him know about it. The Pennsylvania Game Commission violation number is 1-888-PCG-8001 or you can reach Tyler at 610-926-3136. Safe Hiking.
July 17, 2019 Ed Ritter Named Volunteer of the Year
Ed Ritter, AHC’s Trails Chair, has been selected as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Ed’s contributions to the Appalachian Trail spanned 30 years. In 1989, Ed and Frank Bertalan were appointed AHC Trails Co-chairs. Since 1992, when Frank became the AHC Monitor Chair, Ed has served as Trails Chair.
During these 30 years, Ed has organized Appalachian Trail work trips, supervised trail relocations, scheduled shelter caretakers, and performed thousands of hours of trail maintenance. The club built a privy and constructed a new shelter during his tenure. Ed is a certified sawyer, and handles blow down removal. He has participated in AHC’s trail assessments, the trail inventory for APPA, and submits the club’s hours report to ATC each year. Ed has worked with Scouts (such as projects to earn Gold Awards) and led a special work trip for Girl Scouts in conjunction with their 100th Anniversary Celebration. Ed compiled the club’s Local Management Plans. In addition, Ed was a club corridor monitor for two areas for more than 25 years.
Edward Ritter is the consummate club volunteer. For 30 years, he has been the guiding force in maintaining and improving the Allentown Hiking Club’s Appalachian Trail section of trail, and is very deserving of this honor. Congratulations and thank you to Ed!
July 17, 2019 Help Wanted: AT Corridor Monitors By Lucy Cantwell, Corridor Monitor Coordinator
We are seeking a few new persons to help with this very important task!
Each fall, the Allentown Hiking Club monitors the boundaries of our section of the AT, called the "corridor," which is land owned by the National Park Service that extends a few hundred feet on either side of the trail. Some of our long-time monitors, who have been performing this function for upwards of 20 years or more, are no longer able to commit to this duty.
According to the ATC Volunteer Leadership Handbook, Corridor Monitors "are responsible for visiting and reporting on the condition of an assigned area of corridor land within a Trail club’s section.... Volunteers interested in monitoring may be quite different from those who like trail work—good monitors often enjoy orienteering, bushwhacking, and traveling in rugged terrain."
The monitoring process is not unlike a scavenger hunt, with a compass and a map to assist you. If ever you are in need of an adventurous hike, this is it. If you think you might be interested in participating in the corridor monitoring, please contact the AT Monitor Coordinators listed on page 2 of the newsletter. We'll teach you how to collect the required information by pairing you with an experienced monitor assessing his/her section of the trail. The commitment on your part, after this simple training, is basically one day a year, scheduled by you at your convenience. Be adventurous! Volunteer and see what it's all about!