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It's somewhat lame to put up a new sign on a well-known, already
established line*, unless it's replacing an historic that was stolen
or destroyed.  It's even more lame if you're trying to rename it.  On
the other hand, a sign put up by the line's creators or a sign that
has some history, is interesting and cool.  Especially cool are the
ones that you find in the absolute middle of nowhere.  The day that
the Shuttle "Columbia" disintegrated, Jim B. and I were exploring the
woods on a mountain and we stumbled upon a sign at the top of a line
in the middle of the Vermont backcountry that said "Higgins" upside
down.  Our assumption is that the sign is a memorial to the
much-beloved John Higgins, creator of Stowe's nordic network and
recutter of such historic lines as the Steeple, Burt, and Houston, and
who died of cancer in his mid-forties.  We imagined that Higgins and
his friend had created this line and his friends had put up the sign
after his death.  I felt lucky to have stumbled across this touching
tribute.

Leave the signs up unless you are absolutely positive that it falls
under one of the two lame scenarios above.

*Perhaps a wood sign with cool art-work, i.e. a picture of an Octopuss
in a Garden or the face of three Cliff Clavins, in an appropriate spot
might be okay.

--Matt K.

On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 6:23 AM, Jumpin_Jimmy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> While ripping around the mountain on Sunday, we took the kids out onto a knife-ridge that is
> officially "out-of-bounds." We had skied the same route on friday, but in the two days in
> between, someone had gomered out there and put up this, marking it as a quadruple black
> diamond:
>
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/25891068@N02/?saved=1
>
> It got me thinking about all the odd little homemade trail signs that have popped up over the
> years and what drives people to fashion them. This compunction to sign the woods must
> happen at most mountains, but who is it that does this? Why? I have seen them marking
> Angel Food and the Rat at MRG, plus several other less known spots on more than one ski
> hill. These signs are an oddity, and to some degree controversial...Should they be
> immediately torn off and hung on the college dorm room wall, or left to weather in peace?

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