by Ed Lawrence, KTA Trail Care Chair
The last scheduled Trail Care of 2017 (and first of the 2018 season) was held the weekend of November 3-5 and based out of the Brooks Run Fire Tower Cabin in Elk State Forest, Cameron County. This historic cabin, with its impressive stone fireplace, comes alive when a crackling fire sends shadows dancing across the walls and has become a favorite place to settle into after a day spent working on the Bucktail Path. The magical combination of light and leaves moving through the autumn woods was evident everywhere on Friday and Saturday, but dazzle turned to drizzle on Sunday, with the forest wrapped in a gray shroud of mist. The work crew of 3 KTA stalwarts was augmented by the arrival, late Friday night, of 4 young people associated with the Penn State Outing Club. After setting up their tent, the quartet took a 360° view of the surrounding mountains soaked in silvery full moonlight from atop the Brooks Run Fire Tower. Many thanks to Rafael Vinluan, Angel Jingwei Li, Paul Kim, and Connor McInerney, who took a break from their studies to assist Tony Robbins, Tom Bastian, and Ed Lawrence in working on the Bucktail Path. The trail corridor was lopped and cleared (including removing the dreaded barberry bush) around its northern terminus at Sizerville State Park; plus the treadway was rebenched on sections of the initial climb out of the valley. Blowdowns were also cleared, and the trail was brushcut where needed from Hunts Run Road south to Ridge Road. The crew put in a total of 92 hours of improvement on this 34-mile, hiking-only trail.