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Blue blaze craziness at Shingletown
Posted By: Bill Ames
Date: Monday, 13 August 2007, at 10:12 a.m.
A question for those in the know...
It's been a while since I've hiked around Shingletown Gap, and when I decided to head up the Deer Path, over to the vistas and then down the "1-2 Link" trail, I got a bit of a shocker.
First, I had noticed the removal of the 1-2 Link sign months ago, and I had assumed this was due to vandalism. The trail is still clearly visible from the Mid State Trail, and there are blue blazes down the unkempt tumble of rocks until recently labeled as a trail :-)
About halfway down the ridge, though, imagine my surprise when I saw--literally--hundreds of blue markings spray painted on the trees.
Now, I know this area well, and I have good trail eyes, so I wasn't worried, figuring the worst-case would be a bushwhack down to Roaring Run, but for a novice, this could mean hours lost in the woods, if not a whole night or more.
Now, at first I assumed this was vandalism, and my mind raced with the thoughts of what might happen should I encounter somebody with a blue spray can, but then I re-thought the situation as I got further and further down the hill.
From the sheer number and scope of these markings (again, numbering in the hundreds) it could not be from kids. It would simply be beyond the energy level of a team of pranksters, and there were ATV tracks, to boot.
Is this from loggers? If so, two things spring to mind. First, a lot of people are going to be really angry if there is logging in the area. Second, it was damned irresponsible to use blue paint to mark those trees. Even if another color were used, it would still be highly confusing. Signage would be appropriate, and if the 1-2 Link trail is dead, the blazes should be removed or there should be a clear sign at the top of the ridge.
If somebody gets lost up there, somebody's head should roll.