Thursday, June 11, 2015

Week 3: May 22-26, 2015

Konnarock Crew members and GATC volunteers carrying a big rock

 CREW 1: WEEKS 2 & 3 in Georgia

From Assistant Crew Leader Davis Wax:

For Weeks Two and Three, Crew 1 headed south to Georgia to work in the Tray Mountain Wilderness rehabbing the A.T. north of Tray Mountain.

Konnarock projects in Wilderness Areas are extra-special! 

The mission was to fix "trail creep"– when trail is pushed down slope due to erosion and hiker traffic – and build various rock and log structures to help control water erosion and protect very steep sections of trail.

The crew spent the first week digging tread to fix trail creep, putting in rock steps, and building a rock culvert over a natural seep.
Cutting stakes to support log steps.
GATC member and awesome party host Tom Lamb.

The second week was spent fixing more trail creep, putting in more rock steps, and putting in new log steps where previous log steps were too high or had rotted out.

Since the group was working in a Wilderness Area, where chainsaws are prohibited, a crosscut saw was used to cut down locust timbers and cut them into step-sized pieces.

Amicalola Falls.
The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club came out to work with the crew both weeks, totaling 21 total volunteers and over 400 hours of work. GATC member Tom Ottinger camped with the crew the first week, worked with the crew each day, and then hosted Konnarock at his home in Ellijay during the three days the crew had off.

Another club member, Tom Lamb, worked with the crew multiple days and camped with the crew on their second week. Tom also hosted two dinner parties for the crew after each week, offering grilled salmon and onions, grilled chicken, local kale greens, and his own homebrewed beer. Some of the crew got to kayak and canoe the Etowah River close by and the Three Arrows, a young group of old time string musicians, put on a great show for the crew both weeks at Tom’s.


The crew had many adventures on their days off. Amicalola Falls, downtown Dahlonega, and Brasstown Bald – the highest point in Georgia – were all eagerly sought destinations. From Brasstown, the crew was able to see into North Carolina and Tennessee, and could even see Tray Mountain off to the east.

Crumbsnatcher hard at work crushing rocks
Crumbsnatcher, the A.T. Sheltermouse, was along for both work and play, helping crush rock, redefine tread, saw locust logs, and happily accompany the crew on their off days for a little R&R.

Enjoying the view on the days off.

Overall, the crew built 51 rock steps, 12 log steps, and dug over 2,000 feet of trail redefinition during their time in Tray Mountain Wilderness. Thanks go out to the stellar group of six who made up Crew 1 for both weeks in Georgia, and to the three volunteers who met us in the field for individual weeks! Of course, the Konnarock Crew was greatly helped by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and thanks go out to all those who assisted the crew on the project!

Week 2 Crew 1!
Week 3 Crew 1!
For more photos of Weeks 2 & 3, Crew 1, visit:

CREW 2: WEEK 3 South of Allen Gap, Tennessee

Hiking in with tools the first day.
From Assistant Crew Leader Sarah Ford:

The third week for Crew Two started with a van trip down towards Greenville, Tennessee to an area of the Trail south of Allen Gap that was in need of some major repairs.

Rest time is the best time!
The crew was a wonderful and diverse group ranging from an 18 year old gentleman to a 5-year Konnarock alum in his 60’s.

Showing off a wooden stake that will support new log steps.
The work at Allen Gap was quite a hike: 2 miles uphill to the work site! The crew worked their way back downhill during the week. Trail work ranged from fixing trail creep and clearing drainage, to putting in a log staircase.

Trail tools, American Gothic style.

Each person seemed to find a favorite tool for the work they were assigned. Brian wouldn’t leave his rogue hoe and Sam could always be found with a pulaski in his hand! During work, jokes and word games could be heard up and down the hill. At camp, Werewolf was the favorite card game which caused smiles all around through the week.

Taking it easy right on the Trail.

Crew Leaders Bobby and Sarah always try to mix the week up with some sort of event. Mid-week the crew went to re-supply water and stopped in the local Food City for pints of ice cream… one brave volunteer, Tom, attempted to finish a half gallon! The awning provided just enough shade for everyone to eat their ice cream before it melted.

Crew 2 tents in camp.
Dish washing--everyone pitches in!
Skip Sheldon, an avid trail maintainer with Carolina Mountain Club, took the whole crew to Ryan's one evening. There is nothing better for tired and hungry trail workers than an all-you-can-eat buffet! There were full stomachs and a thankful bunch at the end of the evening.

This amazing crew managed to achieve over 7,000 feet of trail rehabilitation over five days, and they also cleared a dozen water bars and installed several new drainages! This was much more work than anticipated, which is always a great surprise. Great job crew 2!

Crew 2, proud of their work and ready for an All-You-Can-Eat buffet!

For more photos from Week 3, Crew 2 visit: