Although several people said they thought the contest would be fun, I guess it either wasn't, or people were too busy with Halloween. There was one entry, so she is the winner. It's Emma of Nature Center Magazine. She left a comment on each noted post, and found one other blog with each of the required items. The Nature Center Magazine will have the 125x125 banner for a month. Congrats, Emma!
Today turned out to be a beautiful day, so this afternoon I headed right back out to where Ellen and I were yesterday. My trail section has been ignored way too much over the past two years, while I've been completing my North Country Trail quest. Of course, I am maintaining more miles than I should (9), but I want to keep them.
The trail blazes need to be repainted every few years. You can see how beat up this one is getting. How well they last depends heavily on what kind of tree it was painted on. This is a jack pine, which is a terrible tree for blazes, because the bark flakes so easily. But... when that's what there is, that's what you paint.
So, the first thing you have to do is scrape off that loose bark. As you can see, on the jack pine, that also pretty much removed the blaze. (Oak, by contrast, holds the blazes really well, and maple is good too.) Scraping doesn't hurt the tree a bit, as long as you don't cut the inner bark.
Just so you know, I pictured the very first blaze I did this afternoon, and only that one, because after that my hands were too paint-covered to touch the camera.
After the surface is all clean and fairly smooth, you paint the new blaze. The official size for the NCT is 2x6 inches. The official paint is Nelson "blue." It's an oil-based paint that is formulated specially for use on trees.
I think you have to have a certain form of insanity to paint a lot of blazes. It's a nasty, messy job. You get bark in your eyes. You get covered with paint (I have one set of clothes I wear, just for this job). And, you have to be careful to make those nice square corners.
So, how much did I get done today? About 1.5 miles each way... total 3 miles. That's really my limit for one day of this project. I actually ran out of paint near the end, but I can catch those few blazes when I go back. Ellen and I scheduled a blazing day for Thursday, but it's supposed to rain, so that might not happen.
Anyway... I'm very pleased to be bringing my trail section back up to snuff!
Tomorrow, I'll post the top commenters for October.