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!


Anonymous said...

You might check the Trow and Holden webpage or talk to Lester. If memory serves PB&J aren't for swinging at rock, only to be used to strike each other (back sides).

Konnarock Crew said...

OK, good point! Maybe that wasn't the best caption--if you look at the picture I think he's actually shaping a rock (not making crush).