Tag: Navigational Blazes

Navigational Aid on Appalachian Trail in Maryland

Appalachian Trail Blaze Post along I-70 Freeway in Maryland
Appalachian Trail Blaze Post along I-70 Freeway in Maryland

Normally the Appalachian Trail is marked with 2″ x 6″ rectangular paint ‘blazes’ on trees every often enough so the trail is marked well.

In some places though there is a lack of trees. The obvious places are crossing creeks and fields. Yet here along the I-70 in Maryland, the AT follows the freeway for 1/4 mile. On one side is a chain link safety fence. On the other is a steep hill from the cut made for the freeway through South Mountain to reduce the grade of the roadway.

So there is a serious lack of proper trees here and it’s an unusual place. Hikers cross the I-70 Freeway on a dedicated footbridge. Northbound hikers meet a junction with the blue marked trail (which 50 years ago was the AT) and the staggered white blazes are ambiguous. I did manage to find a tree in close proximately of the bridge to blaze. But a second one is important at such a turn and the only trees were really too far off the AT to have the blaze reliably seen.

Si after thinking of other solutions including using the fence in some manner I decided the easiest solution was adding a ‘blaze post’ here to mark the trail. I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to dig the required 18″ deep post hold. But was I wrong and I’m used to digging in rock mountain ground. Yet, from what must be some result of building the I-70 Freeway, there is a consistent almost concrete like layer exactly 12″ below the soil in every direction. So my 1/2 install of the post turned into a 2 hour event.

In the end is a nicely visible blaze in both directions.