A view from the black locust footbridge, on the ascent up the Bear Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail.
It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that if you’re going to be taking on the Appalachian Trail, especially the bit that goes through Bear Mountain in New York, you’ve got to be ready to do a lot of climbing. Lots and lots of climbing.
It was National Trails Day on June 6, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference was presenting a series of trail-maintaining activities at Bear Mountain (see my previous posting about the great barberry battle).
One of the conference’s longer-running projects has been a rebuild of part of the six-mile Bear Mountain stretch of the AT, including overhauling some of the many flights of stone steps you’ll find on the mountain. So one of the activities was a hike along the trail, and a visit to the parts that were being or had just been rebuilt.
The crew leaders and volunteers on the Invasives Strike Force go to work on removing barberry plants at Bear Mountain on June 6.
Up until now, I’d never really given much thought to the barberry.
I’d sort of known it as a source of edible fruit, mainly from reading Marsha Mehran’s Babylon Café novels set in 1980s Ireland.
But after volunteering for a morning on an invasive species removal crew up at Bear Mountain and Harriman State Park in New York this past weekend, I found myself knowing a lot more about the barberry (Berberis spp).
Mainly that it’s got lots of little thorns that are a real nuisance to pick out of your fingers, even if you were smart enough to wear garden gloves. Continue reading