Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 10: July 18-22, 2013

Crew 1: New River Relocation

Building a step around a large, embedded boulder.
Crew 1 headed north this week, to work on the ever-interesting New River Relocation. This ambitious 5-mile relocation will eventually move the AT off of private land near Pearisburg, VA, ensuring that it remains in a protected, wooded corridor in perpetuity.

Building a durable trail takes attention to detail!
Volunteers who have worked on this project in the past will be excited to hear how much progress Konnarock is making this year! This was the fourth of 5 weeks set aside to work on the New River Relo in 2013, and it is now less than half a mile from the end of the constructed trail to the beautiful views on Rice Field. Between the Konnarock Crew and Outdoor Club of Virginia Tech (OCVT), a staggering number of dedicated volunteers have helped to get this project so close to the top of the mountain!

An impressive amount of cribbing and crushed rock.
Peters Mountain does not make trail construction easy, though: the higher the crew gets on the mountain, the more rocks we find! Some crew members were surprised to find large rocks embedded in the ground where they tried to dig, while others began to build a trail across a field of medium-sized rocks. Crew Leaders Bobby Berry and Zack Finney helped the crew find creative ways to build a trail around and through these obstacles.
Relaxing on the banks of the New River.
The crew celebrated their hard work by heading down to the New River one night, for a chance to take a dip and eat dinner by the river. Crew 1 is heading back to New River for one more week: tune in here to see what they accomplish!

Dinner by the river--is this a meeting of the Clean Plate Club?

Crew 2: Rocky Fork Relocation

Climbing up to the work site from Flint Gap, on the NC/TN border.

Crew 2 tackled another big AT relocation: the Rocky Fork project. When completed, this relocation will move the trail off of an eroded former logging road that is frequently misused by ATVs. You can read about the conservation triumph that made the Rocky Fork Relocation possible  here!

Digging on the ridge!

The big event of the week was rounding the corner onto Snake Den Ridge. For the previous two weeks, the crew was digging on a steep slope in a tangle of rhododendrons. Completing the trail where it wraps around the corner and will follow the top of the ridge means easier digging and the cool mountain breezes that are only found on a ridgeline. The views will be great up here in the winter!

Volunteers from the Carolina Mountain Club's Friday crew came out one more time to help pull some mighty stumps with the griphoist and clear out the corridor along the ridge. They also treated the crew to a fabulous pizza dinner in Erwin!

This Slimy Salamander was carefully relocated.
The Rocky Fork area is a Temperate Rain Forest, which meant the crew had to get used to summer thunderstorms passing through. But it also meant they got to see mushrooms in every color of the rainbow, and an abundance of salamanders. Thanks for the memories, Rocky Fork! See you next year...
Jumping in the swimming hole at Rocky Fork!
Rounding the corner to the top of the ridge! Anyone who has worked on this project knows what a big milestone this is!

Trailside mushrooms.
A game of PELT back at camp.

Beautiful morning rays on the hike to the work site.

Way to go Crew 2!!

1 comment:

Todd Delk said...

Woohoo!!! We made it to the ridge at Flint Gap/Rocky Fork!!!! Good job Konnarock!!!