I'm a Trail Landowner

A new perspective on Rich Hill.

By Elizabeth Henry

My husband and I are proud owners of the section of the Rachel Carson Trail that has the very challenging Rich Hill. I grew up on this land; hiking the woods and yes, climbing the hill on a regular basis. When I was given the land by my father, I did not realize we also inherited a portion of the Rachel Carson Trail. When we returned from Colorado to build our retirement home, we were surprised one June afternoon to hear numerous voices on the pipeline, and upon investigating, we learned it was Challenge day. And despite cold and rainy conditions, the hikers were intent on conquering all the hills on their way to Harrison Hills Park. They deserved some encouragement – if not that year, then we could at least do something the next year.

We looked to the residents of Boulder, Colorado, for inspiration. When we lived near Denver, we had a great time running the Bolder Boulder 10K. The town of Boulder seems to be one, big block party as the race route goes through the residential streets. The residents come out to cheer on the 50,000 participants and offer the runners an array of items for encouragement: cow bells, cotton candy, beer, belly dancers, garage bands, being sprayed with water, and numerous other fun options. Considering the neighbors here are very few, there is no nearby electricity for a band or cotton candy machine, and we know no belly-dancers, we were left with just handing out ice pops to the hikers. Which, to our amazement, were welcomed with delight. Since we’ve done this a few years, some of the hikers remember where we are and look forward to a bit of icy sugar water. Last Challenge, we doubled the size of our volunteer staff – my brother-in-law and his wife joined us, and they had a wonderful afternoon. Many thanks to the hikers who unknowingly lifted my brother-in-law’s spirits that day – he said he hadn’t had that much fun in a long, long time.

The many people who hike the Rachel Carson trail are lovely people. Occasionally, I get to meet a few on non-Challenge days when I’m fixing the fence or just out enjoying the scenery. This mutual affection for nature is the main reason why we allow hiking through our property. The hikers respect the land (we have never, ever found trash left behind by a hiker) and enjoy the challenge of hiking a rugged landscape. I was, and still am, so blessed to be able to hike these woods and hills and to enjoy the views and the quiet forests. To share it only seems right.blaze10.png

52161038663_d8382a4932_c.jpg   52161267409_b708ba867a_c.jpg