Thursday, May 28, 2015

Week 2: May 14-18 2015 Crew 2 at Highcock Knob Relocation

May 14-18, Konnarock's Crew 1 headed down to Georgia for a special two-week project. Look for a report about both weeks in the Week 3 blog post!

Crew 2 also had a special group: 8 students and veterans came all the way from the University of South Dakota to lend a hand as part of an AWOL Alternative Break program.

To see what the AWOL students thought about their experience, we highly recommend reading their blog:

Here's the report from Assistant Crew Leader Sarah Ford:

During the second week of 2015 Konnarock Trail Crew, Bobby and Sarah’s crew worked on a relocation at Highcock Knob located near Natural Bridge, Virginia. 

The new section of trail is roughly an eighth of a mile running through some very rocky sidehill. The digging was extremely difficult, but despite the conditions the crew and club members managed to accomplish 300 feet of new sidehill and 8 rock steps!

We were privileged to work with a group of 8 volunteers that traveled all the way from the University of South Dakota. They were participating in a program called AWOL which is a program that takes individuals out for a week of 40 hours of community service. 

Also, there was a wonderful turnout from Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club every day while Konnarock was there. The club was kind enough to provide a wonderful dinner for everyone at the end of the week. Overall, the week was a success- with no injuries and many friends made.

Thanks USD AWOL group and NBATC!

 For a look at all the photos from Week 2, visit the flickr album:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 1: Supercrew in Mount Rogers May 6-10, 2015

For the first week of the Konnarock Trail Crew 2015 season, both crews worked together in the legendary Mount Rogers High Country of Southwest Virginia.

Crew 1 Report 
Moving a large rock with the help of rollers.
by Assistant Crew Leader Davis Wax


A total of eight volunteers were split between two crews but together made up a Konnarock Supercrew. There was a great mix of experience levels, with four Konnarock alumni and four first-timers--some of whom would take their first steps on the A.T. this week.

Camping at The Scales.
The first day the crew set up camp at Scales in the Mt. Rogers High Country, an open field where an encircling fence kept long-horned cattle and wild ponies at bay. Blue Ridge views of North Carolina rolled into the distance, giving the crew beautiful vistas to wake up to each morning.

How do you get gravel to the Trail? You CRUSH IT!
Crew 1 began work on its priority project about 2 miles north of camp where the trail was experiencing intense erosion from a nearby stream running parallel with the footpath. The crew built a series of junk rock cribbing as a barrier against the flowing water and filled the treadway with crush in order to raise it up above the level of future flooding and minimize the buildup of muddy spots.

Former Mount Rogers Ridgerunner Jonathan Lemberg lends a hand.
Jonathan Lemberg, a Mt. Rogers ridgerunner for a number of years, came out on day 2 to volunteer his time helping to deberm parts of the trail. Crew 1 moved on to serious water control projects, including de-berming the trail, installing drains and dips, and repairing previously-placed rock water bars.

Before: a 2-foot-high step
For the last 3 days of the week, Dave Underwood came out and worked with both crews on water control and installing rock steps. Dave is the 2015 Crew Leader for ATC's S.W.E.A.T. Crew: the Smokies Wilderness Elite A.T. Crew. He was a great addition to the crew, blending right in with the volunteers, pulling more than his weight, and being a quick learner when it came to trail maintenance and rehab.

Every day, countless day and thru hikers of the A.T. passed by the crew, many of them thanking the volunteers for their work on the trail and expressing interest about what Konnarock was all about.

Throughout the week, various Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club members came to watch the Supercrew's camp at the much-visited Scales while they were away at work and were so kind as to refill Konnarock's drinking water supply each day. 

After: isn't that more inviting?
Hanging out in camp after a good day's work.
The crew spent their downtime watching wild ponies chase each other through the high country scrub, pondering the mass of long horned cattle next to adorable meek calves, playing the card game Werewolf around campfires, and pelting each other with a hacky sack.

Mountain mosses
Even with a relatively small crew, week 1 was a roaring success for the Supercrew. Almost 40 rock steps were completed alongside a healthy footage of water-draining rehab.

Crew 1 will be back week 6 to pick up where the supercrew left off and looks forward to working in the high country again this season.

Crew 2 Report 
by Assistant Crew Leader Sarah Ford

Moving a big rock safely takes teamwork, communication--and muscle!
During the first week in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, good weather helped push our volunteers to deliver great work.  
Despite the small crew of four volunteers, the crew put in 28 new rock steps! 

6 of the 28 new steps built by Crew 2.
We did have a few visitors during the week that also lent a hand. Aubrey Arrington, the trail maintainer of the section we worked on, gave his best putting in his first rock steps. Also, David the S.W.E.A.T. Crew Leader and Jay Prevatt, Damascus A.T. Community DOI/VISTA worked a day with the crew. 

Another staircase that replaced an eroded gully.
After moving large rocks all day, the crew hiked back to camp and indulged in fresh cooked meals and games of werewolf or pelt along with Crew 1. There were spectacular views on the hike up and out each day that made the day that much better. Overall, the results from the crew could not have been better. It was a great week with
 alumni and new volunteers alike!

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's that time of YEAR!

It's that time of year again! When sugar groove base camp is full of faces and the sounds of spring are bouncing around. Here at Appalachian Trail Conservancy, we are excited for Konnarock Trail Crew time to roll around. We have sessions already filling up and still have availability for the curious minds that are interested in diving into the world of trail work.

Konnarock is the first trail crew that ATC started (30th anniversary was in 2012) and it continues its legacy every year by enlisting new and veteran volunteers to the trail world to do projects throughout the southeast on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. In 2014, which was a landmark year for Konnarock, our 2014 crew leaders stirred the ship into great success and we couldn't be more thankful! There were 128 volunteers and 7,941 volunteer work hours that made 2014 a very successful year.

During the 2014 season projects were completed but some large 5 year plus projects were completed! The Rocky Fork Relocation project that was started in 2010 was officially completed and another large project, the New River Relocation was completed. This project has been the longest on Konnarocks books taking 8 years to complete because of taking the trail off of private property all the way from the New River in Pearisburg, VA to Rice Field Shelter on the crest of Peters Mountain. This 6.5 mile relocation is a celebration and demonstrates the reason that Konnarock Trail Crew is important to the southeast region.

Are you interested in volunteering for Konnarock Trail Crew 2015 Season? There are 12 planned weeks of trail crew work and most are still open with weeks 9,11 & 12 still needing more volunteers to apply.

Konnarock is entry level into the world of trail work and we teach you everything you need to know. Don't let not having gear or food supply be the reason you don't submit an application, that's all on US! Please sign up and join the 2015 season of Konnarock and become a veteran to the Konnarock legacy.