Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 11: July 25-29, 2013

Crew 1: New River Relocation

Crew 1 jumping for joy on Rice Field!
Drilling into the behemoth.
Crew 1 went back to Pearisburg, VA to help build the New River Relocation. This was the last of five weeks the Konnarock Crew devoted to this project in 2013, and the progress they've made is impressive. It's extra-impressive when you see all the big rocks they've been working around!

It's hard not to look cool with a rock drill...
It's like a puzzle! Except the pieces weigh hundreds of pounds and don't necessarily fit together...

This week they even carried in a rock drill and a generator to break a huge rock that was blocking the way of the new trail. Crew members drilled a row of holes into the rock, then used a small hammer to tap wedges into the holes.  Eventually, it broke!

While some crew members had fun with the power tools, others sank their picks and pulaskis into the ground in hopes of digging a smooth tread out of soil. Alas, there was not much soil to be found this week, and they wound up building the trail mostly out of rock.

Building trail across a rocky slope can be slow going, but it's also an interesting puzzle to solve. Crew 1 used all their skill, patience, and creativity to build a smooth and durable trail.

When done right, rock work like this will last a long time--maybe some of the younger crew members can show this impressive work to their grandchildren someday!

A perfect day on Rice Field!
The crew also enjoyed a hike up to Rice Field to take in the spectacular views of West Virginia. What a great way to wrap up this productive season on the New River Relocation!

A trail emerges from the rocks...

Break time!

A trail so nice you want to walk all over it...

The trailbuilding heroes of Crew 1!

Crew 2: Thunder Ridge Relocation

Due to an unplanned detour, the crew got to have lunch by the famous AT bridge over the James River!

Crew 2 took a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to help the Natural Bridge ATC with the Thunder Ridge Relocation in Virginia.
The Thunder Ridge project is a favorite among many volunteers. A short hike through a lush green forest brings you to the worksite, where the fluffy soil makes for easy digging...until you hit a rock! The huge boulders in this area are fun to walk by and climb on, but tricky to build a trail across. Not to be daunted, Crew 2 moved some BIG rocks and built steps to help the trail maneuver around even bigger rocks.
Stretching with a view
This project is also fun because it's in such an interesting area. The crew camped by a small spring-fed pond and drove a few miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway each day to get to the worksite, enjoying great views along the way. They visited Fallingwaters Cascade after work one day to clean up and cool off below a waterfall. They even visited Foamhenge, a full-size replica of Stonehenge made of foam!
Fallingwaters Cascade
Members of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club (NBATC) came out to work with the crew each day, and two Forest Service employees lent a hand as well. Former Konnarock Crew Leader and NBATC member Max hosted a great thank-you dinner for the crew at his home.

Best of all, Konnarock has made so much progress on this relocation that they are over halfway to the endpoint near Thunder Hill Shelter! Next year's crew will have a shorter hike in coming from the shelter...and plenty of cool boulders to work around.

Rock cribbing to support the tread.

Crumbsnatcher breaking rocks.

No one minds having a view like this every morning!

Lovely new trail.
Crew 2 had to get a picture with the dinosaur in Glasgow, VA! It was created by the same artist who built Foamhenge.

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