Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hey Who Are Those Film Guys?

Over the past month, you may have seen some strange goings on up on Libby Hill. Several SMCC students have been working on a video documentary on Libby Hill. Corey Rich, project lead (holding camera) and Patrick Rioux (production assistant) have been taking hours of video of the Libby Hill Trails. The video will feature footage of the trails and the folks who use them. They also did a number of interviews, including one with Richard Libbey, whom along with his brother Wilbert donated 46 acres to the system in 2003.

I spent 5 hours one day with the 'crew'. Being the 'old trail guide' I showed them possible areas of artistic value for the film. I also got to spew on and on about the trails, which I'm sure will fall out in the editing room.

One of the challenges of the day was getting folks who were on the trail to be in the film. We desperately wanted to show the trails being used by actual people. It was a little like 'candid camera' as people were quite surprised about what we were doing. We did learn though that when approach folks on the trail, don't use the phrase "hey, want to be in a video"? It gets some really nervous trail users when we come storming out of the bushes!

The objective of the film is to educate the community on what Libby Hill Trails is all about and learn about the 'Save Libby Hill' campaign. I've had some experience with home videos and know how much effort goes into even a few minutes of quality film. These guys really take their film making seriously and often took 3 takes to get a shot and narration just the way they wanted it. It seems hard to believe that 30 or 40 hours of filming and editing goes into even a 10-15 minute video. After 5 hours, I was ready to retire from my film career and head down the hill.

We hope to have a public showing of the film later this fall and offer it to the public for a donation to the "Save Libby Hill" campaign. Don't confuse this film with our other DVD, Best Photos of Libby Hill. That DVD is a collection of over 100 the best photos of Libby Hill from the past 8 years. It is available now at the Gray Public Library and can also be obtained with a $25 donation to the 'Save Libby Hill' campaign.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photoshow DVD Available

A lot happens in eight years, now we want to show you how much! A new photo show DVD is now available that shows over 100 of the best photos of Libby Hill. See wildlife, trail users, trails, and more all set to music as you take a virtual tour of Libby Hill Trails. The DVD is available for a $25 Donation to the ' Save Libby Hill' Campaign or you can view a copy from the Gray Public Library. Many thanks to our photographers, Joel McPike, Jennifer Lummis, John Keller, and my faithful old Canon camera! This makes a perfect gift for your trail friends so help Save Libby Hill and have a great token of your donation!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

$60,000 Blueberries

I made my second trek up Libby Hill to get another week's supply of blueberries. Last week I got a sampling from areas of the Moose Odyssey and Deer Run trails. Then the berries were very abundant but rather small. This week though, after a week of showers, the blueberries increased significantly in size! I was attempting to do a little trail maintenance but kept wandering off trial when I saw little more clumps of berries.

I have a long history with blueberries, growing up in Washington County (the worlds largest producer of wild blueberries) I can't remember a summer when I didn't look to gather a few berries to taste that special sweetness that the large cultivate blueberries just lack. My I was seven I took my first paying summer job raking blueberries. After 5 days (which seemed like 5 years) I earned $32, enough to pay for my first bicycle.

Raking is a much faster way to harvest blueberries but today I did the classic 'picking' method. Picking allows you to go at a very gradual pace. Look for bunches of three or more berries that are all ripe. You can pick about a quart of berries in 45 minutes to an hour. While picking you concentrate on things you never normally notice. Things like the ferns and other small plants that grow amongst the blueberries. You also hear the birds calling above in pine trees; I'm sure I'm eating some of their food supply, but they seem to be okay with sharing.

Last year, I found good picking near the cell tower off the Moose Odyssey trail. Ironically, that same afternoon a moose was browsing in the area. I'm not sure if she was eating blueberries but she liked whatever it was and stayed nearby for over 20 minutes. Of course it was the one day I didn't have a camera with me! I do remember though, thinking last year that the Hancock property (which lots of good berries) could soon be lost to development. This year lots has changed! The Gray Community Endowment took a mortgage out from a generous group of local investors to purchase these critical 29 acres. So today when I picked blueberries I really treasured how valuable they were. Some might say that those blueberries cost $60,000 (amount we need to fund raise) but to my mind they are worth every penny and never have tasted so sweet!

So bring a bag or container and get up on Libby Hill by August 1st and get a few berries of your own. Treasure their flavor and do what you can to help support Libby Hill.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sharon's Trail Walk

I've been walking the trails on Sunday mornings and having a blast. Today was my first foray off the Moose Odyssey - I did Deer Run and Holmquist Hollow. Deer Run was absolutely beautiful - I just felt like I was covered in a soft, green blanket! It must be lovely in the fall. Holmquist Hollow had interesting terrain, but it was quite buggy. In fact, I'm sure it's the same darn horse fly who welcomes me at the trailhead every time I arrive, and buzzes me during the whole hike. No amount of bug spray seems to deter him.
One cool thing -- as I was going along Holmquist Hollow, I heard sounds in the woods, but couldn't see anything. Just as I joined up to MO again, I saw that blaze of a white deer tail bouncing through the trees! Wish I could have seen more, but that was a nice start.
Birds were very loud at the bottom of the hill, but very quiet up top. Interesting.
And I saw that place where the lightening hit the trees - whoa! What I noticed first was that big shard of tree sticking at an angle into the ground, and then I looked back and saw the tree. I figured it was lightening, but wasn't sure until I came home and read your report about it on the blog.
Anyway, just thought I'd report in! Hope you're having a nice weekend!

....submitted by trail user, Sharon Caufield, Gray, Maine

Monday, July 7, 2008

Real Fireworks on Libby Hill

There's always something new to discover as you wander the trails at Libby Hill! A couple of weeks ago, a strong lightning storm hit 3 large pine trees on top of the hill between the cellar hole and view 1 on the Moose Odyssey Trail. The strikes hit the 3 trees about 50 feet up and exploded many shards of wood into the surrounding woods. All trees are still standing but will most likely die in a year or two. If you examine the 'strike zone' you can find shards of wood up to 25 feet long 'harpooned' into the wood soil (see photo of me and one shard on left). It is one of the best displays of a lightning strike on a tree that I have seen. This area has already survived a microbust tornado 4 years ago but for these 3 trees, this was one storm that had their name on it!
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