Apr 15, 2007 — The grass was cold and wet after a soaking rain, and the sun made a brief appearances through clouds Thursday morning as Jim Hooper walked along a section of hiking trail that overlooks the Susquehanna River and several municipalities.
Hooper, president of the Mason-Dixon Trail System, and volunteers from the York Hiking Club installed directional posts, cleared brush, chopped roots and dug muddy ground to reroute a portion of the Mason-Dixon Trail off a busy road and onto Highpoint, county-owned property in Lower Windsor Township.
The 193-mile trail travels from an area known as Whiskey Springs in the Dillsburg area, Hooper, 65, said.
"It was named that because a guy used the spring to keep his whiskey cool," he said.
Hooper, who wore gloves and a coat covered with "Natural Park Yellow" and "Mason-Dixon Blue" paints used in making markers for the trail, talked of the advantages of being a hiking club member.
"You get to go places you'd probably never know about," he said. He also said the hiking club volunteers deserve credit for helping to build and maintain the trail. Manchester Township resident Pat Turek used a Pulaski - a tool that digs roots with one side and cuts with the other - to widen a section of the trail in a wooded area as her husband, Paul, worked nearby.
"We just became members the end of June," she said. "I'm so new, I always thought the Indians left us these trails."
After helping work on the Mason-Dixon, she realized how it really got there.
"This is back-breaking work," she said of labor the volunteers put into the path. "They're just such dedicated people ... This is a tremendous effort."
About a quarter-mile away, York Township resident Allen Britton and Windsor Township resident Ron "Wrongway" Gray joked with Hooper during a short work break.
"We have fun with each other," Hooper said of the hiking club, which has about 130 members. "In this group, you can't have thin skin."