When we were on Seguin last summer, Chris envisioned, mentally mapped out and then physically marked the path for a new trail on the island. He presented his concept and the location to the FOSILS Board during our exit interview. They immediately approved it, even though at the time, none of us had any idea as to when it would actually be built or by whom.
Prior Summer 2020 blog posts tell the story of how we came to return to Seguin as keepers this summer, and the COVID-driven changes – lighthouse and museum closed for the season – that gave us time to work on other projects, some of which were described in my last post. So after arriving on island and attending to those items that needed beginning-of-the-season attention, Chris eagerly started to work on “his” trail.
In typical Chris fashion, he completed the trail in less than a week’s time, barely a month after we arrived on Seguin. I will admit, his expediency was of great concern to me: Now that his “big” project was done, how would he keep satisfyingly busy the rest of the summer? My worries proved to be entirely unfounded, as I watched him initiate and complete successor projects, still ongoing. Tools + time = missions accomplished!
Whether he planned it or not, Chris’ completion of the trail early on gave him repeated opportunities to refine it throughout the remainder of the summer. A combination of visitor and FOSILS board feedback; witnessing physical changes to the trail through increased use, weather, and changing seasons; and a succession of our personal trail experiences under differing conditions, informed his efforts.
Hand-painted-by-Chris signs – part of his original plan – were the first “additions” to the trail after it was initially completed. Then we picked through washed-up lines and buoys, and hung them strategically across several trees to visually mark the end of the trail in a Seguin-worthy manner. Thanks to a nearby tree, another rope-tethered buoy became a hand-hold to more easily traverse a big rock on the trail. To create steps in steeper portions of the trail, Chris cut and dug into place several lengths of 4 x 4s, secured with pieces of steel rod. He also hand-picked and carried up from the end of the Cove Trail, a number of flat rocks to improve footing along the length of the trail. The final touch? A very heavy bench he custom-built to place in a pre-existing level area immediately adjacent to the trail. A special shout out and thanks to Cyndy who helped him carry it from the Whistle House to its site overlooking the cove!
I think this is a special trail, just because Chris envisioned, built and named it, simply and aptly: Cove Overlook. I’m totally biased, of course, but it just so happens that a number of unbiased people agree with me. Cove Overlook is an inviting spur trail, located off the North Trail. It drops down through a copse of forest trees including oak, birch, striped maples, mountain ash, balsam fir, and hemlocks. The aromatic, humus-like forest floor hosts Jack-in-the-Pulpits, blue cohosh and several varieties of ferns, on footing that was soundless when traveled before the leaves began to fall. We believe this small, intimate forest is evidence of this portion of the island’s return to its former, more widely forested state than we see today.
Both Chris and I hope we have honored this special island with his construction of this sixth trail on Seguin: one more reason to responsibly visit and enjoy the island’s beauty and history.
Happy Trails, wherever you may roam!