Monday, December 31, 2007

Base Camp Clean-Up 2008

Before you know it, spring will be here and with that we’ll have some clean-up to follow in getting ready for the 2009 season. Last March, over 20 Volunteers worked for a day or more around base camp doing odd jobs such as painting, carpentry, and general grounds work; these improvements were integral to the success of the 2007 season that I’d like to continue for 2008!

So, if you have a day or five and would like to pitch in this season in getting base camp ready at the 2008 Base Camp Clean-up (April 2-6), give us a shout at the office and we’ll get all the info to you.

BTW – Yes, you can earn your t-shirt during the clean-up.

Happy Holidays,


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Seasons's Greetings....Now Hiring


First and foremost, let me wish everyone Happy Holidays and a great New Year!

Second, the ATC is now hiring seasonal employees for our Trail Crews and Ridgerunners. If you’d like to learn more about available positions for the summer season out on the Trail, go to ATC’s employment website here.

If you have questions specific to Trail Crew give us a call at the office (540)953-3571 or



Monday, December 10, 2007

Sinking Creek Mtn------2010

The Keffer Oak, arguably the oldest (over 300 years old) and one of the largest)) trees on the AT

I’m pretty lucky I have to admit since my job requires me to work with Volunteers in the summer doing trail projects and then in the winter I “have” to hike the Trail doing condition assessments. Yesterday (yup, Sunday (no deer hunting allowed on Sundays in Virginia)), I worked. Ok, ok, I went hiking to do condition assessments close to Blacksburg on Sinking Creek Mountain but it was work!

Anyway, it’s a little early since the project (Sinking Creek Relocation) is not scheduled until 2010 but the pictures are pretty nice so I thought I’d share them.


Hikers stile in farm fields (the crew will camp in the field)

Well, the crew will not be working here, but you can hike to it if you still have the energy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

USA Today Article

Our trail crew alumni already know the secret that USA Today just printed!! AT trail crews are one of the top “Volunteer Vacations!!”

Check out the article here.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2008 Dates and Applications Up!

Volunteers work to complete a climbing turn on the Big Bald Relocation last season

Better late than never I always say! Anyway, as the title implies, the 2008 dates and projects (most of them anyway) are up on the website. The updated 2008 New Volunteer Application is online as well in PDF format. Also, new Volunteers will have the ability to apply online but the dates have not been updated for 2008 yet so hold your horses if that’s your preferred MO.

Also, as always, if you are alumni of AT trail crews then give us a shout (540.953.3571 or and we’ll send you an alumni application.

You can click here to get to the ATC’s Trail Crew webpage.

Let us know if you have any questions!!



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Updates, Updates, Updates....

New shinguards, soil bags, and stickers for 2008!

Sorry for the lack of/infrequency of posts to the blog as we’ve been busy outside getting ready for next year before winter sets in. Anyway, a few things to note:

  • 2008 Trail Crew dates should be posted on the ATC website by next week along with the 2008 crew application, as well as an updated projects page for Konnarock.
  • Alumni letters along with applications should also go out in a week or so as well. Remember, alumni application are also available (in the next week or so) by emailing us at or calling the office at 540.953.3571
  • Konnarock Crew Leader, Christine Hoyer, has traveled to Taiwan to consult with the Taiwanese Forest Bureau (and 2006 Volunteer Ming-Chein-Hsu) on trail-building in Taiwan. The first part of her journey is in the Nov-Dec ATC Journey’s magazine.

Hope everyone’s fall is going well!



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Old Orchard Shelter View

For the group that stayed for Eco-Week this last season, here is a picture of the new and improved view from the Old Orchard Shelter.



Monday, October 15, 2007

Bear Mountain

Finished Staircase

Highlines are being used to transport most material (i.e. rock)

Completed crib wall

Drill holes on a piece of split granite (feathers and wedges are then inserted to split the rock)

Last week I was fortunate to travel up to New York with the Mid-Atlantic Trail Crew to work on the Bear Mountain Relocation project and thought I’d share a couple pictures from my trip. As you will notice, this project is very different from what you’ll see on Konnarock for several reasons. If you’d like to read more about the project, check out this article from a past ATJ article here.



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

2008 Crew T-Shirt

There's no doubt folks Volunteer on crew for more than an ole' cotton t-shirt. However, it's nice to have something to show after the end of a long week's work. And, what is more, there is a long great history of amazing and unique designs throughout the years worn proudly by Volunteers.

Anyone interested in submitting a design(s) for the 2008 trail crew t-shirt? If so, please shoot me an email ( or give us a call at the office (540.953.3571). If possible, please have design ideas (can be rough) submitted by December 1st and we'll go from there.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trail Work from the Other Side

As part of my vacation, some friends and I did a multi-day trip on the Arizona Trail. Being the trail design/work nut that I am, I took a few photos of trail work in the Grand Canyon despite the hoots and name calling from the peanut gallery (i.e. my cohorts).

As you will notice, there are some similarities as well as differences as to how trail design is approached in the desert southwest.

A familiar sight, a log staircase. However, notice the ditch on the inside.

Another familiar sight, log staircase with stone pitching in the wet area.

Some beautiful stone crib work.

Here is a good example of difference in trail design. Where we usually attempt to get water off the trail asap with the sidehill design, this design pushes water, etc onto the inside then slows through a series of checks (i.e. rocks lined up) to force water to drop setiment so that trail folks can scoop it up and replace (they have to keep all the soil or sand as the case may be they can).

I'm a trail design nerd I know but I can't help it. What is more, I got to talk shop with a few guys doing work while I was on the trail; they get to ride mules everywhere! I'll see what I can do about getting a Konnarock Crew mule team.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crew Stats, Vacation Time!!

I didn’t want to leave for vacation without thanking everyone who had a hand in our 25th season at Konnarock being such a success! Crew and club Volunteers and agency partners are all a big part of what makes Konnarock such a success in helping to build and protect the Appalachian Trail.

Here are just a few of the accomplishments from this season:

Total Crew Volunteers: 229
Total Crew Volunteer Hours: 9,988

Total Club Volunteers: 248 (on site)
Total Club Volunteer Hours: 3,279.75 (on site)

Total Volunteer Hours: 12,539

Projects Completed: 9

Rock Steps: 139
Rock Cribbing: 2918 ft3
Junk Cribbing: 1173 ft

Log Steps: 188
Log Cribbing: 1309 ft3

Sidehill Trail Finished: 9510 ft
Tread Definition: 2050

CRUSH & FILL!!!: 3088 ft2

Wow, what an amazing amount of work! Of course I cannot even to begin to capture all the good times and amazing people this season!

Thanks again and hope to see you next season!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Corn Boil Pictures

The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club has pictures up on their website from this years Cornboil. You can check them out by going to their website here.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

~Week #12 Has Come and Gone!~

Wow, we simply cannot believe week #12 has come and gone! Both crews had great weeks to end the season with Crew #1 finishing up work on Cheoah Bald and Crew #2 putting us within a manageable distance to finish Unaka next season. Even I got out and did some work this week(they let me out every once in a while) at Unaka and even got to hit the waterfall (last photo, don't I look happy?).

Although I do not have the figures yet (coming soon), Konnarock's 25th season has been one of its most successful in recent years with thousands of Volunteer hours dedicated to the Trail and we have each and everyone involved this year to thank. So, thank you!

As always, I've included some pictures from the last full week with a few modifications…

More to come.


What a view (not that you need the arrows)...

The "serously bearded" Ted Wilson lost some hair on his days off.

Bees and Brians left hand don't mix (he's better now).

Before and after at Unaka Mountain

I told Aurora she looked like Steven Tyler (rock star, get it?) from Aerosmith; what do you think?

That's some cold water!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's Hot Up in Here.....

Crew Volunteer, Jason Hammer checks out his work.

Melissa strikes a pose.

Hisako smiles for the camera despite the warm temps (notice she's wearing long sleeves?!).

Well, week #11 has come and gone and we're gearing up for week #12 here at base camp. The crews were able to complete another round of projects last week at Angel's Gap and Rufus Morgan despite some pretty warm temperatures. And, with summer in full swing that means only two things, swimming and cookouts! While Ted and the rest of Crew #1 enjoyed a cookout courtesy of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, Crew #2 spent some refreshing afternoons cooling off in the Nantahala River.

Nantahala Hiking Club members place stakes on a newly installed waterbar.

The pile O' stakes...

You would think after hard trail work the last thing on your mind would be push-ups...but at least it's in the river.....

Also, while on the project last week, reporters wrote an article for the Roanoke Times about RATC's 75th anniversary. The article also has some quotes from the "seriously bearded" Ted Wilson, check it out here.



Monday, August 6, 2007

End of Season Dinner

This year’s end-of-season dinner will be held on Saturday, August 18th at Konnarock base camp. As usual, Czar will be cooking up a tasty dinner along with whatever sides folks bring along.

If you plan to attend, please notify base camp (276.677.4055) so we know how much to cook.

See you then!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Rain Dance, Stop Dancin'.....

Volunteers get to work on a "dry" day..

Is that? Yes, it is, the one and only former assistant crew leader, Ellen Gass.

If you live in the southeast, you most likely had rain recently. Our crews were no exception this week; whereas the season up to this point had blue skies and at times unseasonably cool temps (last week Ted's crew woke up to 40's in the morning), this week was definitely the exception.

With rain almost every day, crews managed as much work as they could in wet conditions. However, spirits were high as the crews took various "field trips" to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and Kincora Hostel to dry out and wait out the storms.

TEHC club members remove one of many stumps with a Griphoist

Hmmmm, don't have to explain this one....
Smiles all around despite the wet weather!
Ahh, Kincora Hostel, showers, laundry, and one of the best hosts you could have! Thanks Bob!

Spreadin' the love, thanks again!

Not to worry though, the skies have parted and the forecast is looking up for week #11 (wow, did I say week #11 already?)!



Monday, July 23, 2007

Konnarock Ingenuity

On occasion, while on the Trail, our crews are forced to come up with new ideas to solve a particular problem. As both crews rolled into camp today I learned of some inventive ways our Crew Leaders and/or Volunteers got things accomplished despite problems.


Is the stake you're using to hold up cribbing a little weak? Well no problem, just use a former Konnarock Camp Coordinator as a "steak support;" just give it a little tap and it will be just fine…..

I really have no idea what's going on here but Janet might want to put a helmet on....


OK, seriously though, while moving a massive amount of rock on the Brown Mtn Creek project, Crew 2 had some technical difficulties with their griphoist. What to do with this massive rock we need to move you say? Well, how about the ole' log roll maneuver? That works…..

A Volunteer "supervises" while others move "mother earth."

Isn't this how they built the pyramids?
We're off to Cheoah Bald and Unaka Mtn for Week #10!



New River Relo Pics

Here are some more pictures from Week#7 at the New River Relo

Thanks Eric!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Crews Eat Too Much and Get Big in the Process!!

A beautiful stretch of new trail courtesy of Konnarock

The crew patiently waits for their first round (of many) servings at the The Homeplace resturant in Catawba, VA

Cristine breaks through the ribbon for the trail opening ceremony (it was also chrisened with a bottle of water)

A Volunteer paints a new blaze on the newly opened

Ted, Brian, and Crew #1 headed up to the Roanoke area to continue working on the Angel's Gap project with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. On Saturday night, I was fortunate enough to meet up with the crew at The Homeplace for their famous never-ending parade of fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, roast beef, apple butter, cobbler, ice cream, coffee, tea, and lemonade. We of course ate way too much but as you probably know, it's not too hard to burn it off the next day.

Meanwhile, Christine, Kelly, and Crew #2 headed down to finish up work on the Big Bald project on the North Carolina/Tennessee border. As you can tell by the pictures, the crew had a "BIG" time (sorry, I couldn't resist) opening a new section of the AT and got to paint blazes to boot!



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Take a Sneak Peak!

As you may or may not know by now, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Konnarock Trail Crew. In celebration of this momentous occasion, I and Ed Clayton (MRATC member and longtime Konnarock Volunteer) wrote a short article about the crew for the upcoming issue of AT Journey’s. I’m definitely not a journalist/writer but the article isn’t too bad and the pictures aren’t too bad to look at either…..

Here’s a sneak peak, enjoy!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where Did Week 7 Go?

Ted gets hungry for dirt every once in a while....

Cribbing the outslope with large rocks on Unaka Mtn

Christine, Brian and crew sit atop of some newly constructed rock steps

I'm almost done with the first switchback....

Crew 2 takes a swim in the New River after work for the day (then they went to Dairy Queen for Blizzards....)

After the break, Week #7 just flew by with both crews turning out some impressive work in Virginia and Tennessee. Crew 1, spent the week in TN working with the Tennessee Hiking Club on the Unaka Mtn project; the club continues to provide some great support in the way of trail work and most importantly, a cook-out on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Crew 2 spent their second week working on the New River Relo in Pearisburg, VA. Likewise, the Outdoor Club of Virginia Tech (including me!) came out to support the crew with trail work and pizza on Sunday night.

For week #8, we’re off to Angel’s Gap and Big Bald to continue projects there.

Enjoy the pictures!