Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week 5: June 10-14, 2015

Crew 1: Backbone Rock Relocation in Tennessee

From Assistant Crew Leader Davis Wax:

Crew 1 visited Backbone Rock Trail -- a blue blaze trail connecting to the A.T. just south of Damascus, V.A. -- for their second consecutive week this summer. The crew worked alongside the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club to finish an almost 2,000-foot section of new trail, removing a steep, badly eroded section of the footpath.

Besides digging new sidehill trail, the crew also installed some log cribbing to protect large tree roots and to hold up the tread. Crew 1 also installed check dams to slow down water erosion on the old steep trail and pulled in large amounts of brush to hide it from view.

The crew got to stay at a great campsite. They woke up each morning to an open field of wildflowers surrounded by a wooded area, all managed by the Nature Conservancy. Fireflies put on light shows at night and the open skies yielded views of the milky way when it cleared up. On their down time the crew played the card game Werewolf and lots of Pelt, a mixture of hackey sack and dodge ball.

This week there was an international mixture into the crew, as one volunteer traveling across the globe hailed from China and another from Australia. Both of these volunteers will be with us at least one more week, and six others from Crew 1 & 2 will be back as well. We look forward to working with these volunteers again next week!

Leanna Joyner, Patrick Slaughter, and Allison Williams visited from the ATC Asheville office, bringing up fresh fruit for the crew and joining them for an afternoon of work.

The club treated the crew to a homemade barbecue dinner on their second to last day and thanked them by giving out 50-hour Tennessee Eastman patches for doing a week of work in the club's section. The club also supplied Crew 1 with some blue paint in order to paint new blazes on the very last day of work.

Crew 1 thanks all of the club members and other visitors it had for week five -- with your help we were able dig over 900 feet of new trail and finish the relocation!

See all the photos from Week 5, Crew 1 at

Crew 2: New River Relocation near Pearisburg, VA

From Assistant Crew Leader Sarah Ford:

During week 5 at Konnarock, nine amazing people came to tackle an important project that has many challenges. 

Click here for some interesting background about this major Trail relocation from the Summer 2014 issue of A.T. Journeys magazine.

We had several Konnarock alumni in the group, some multi-week crew members, and some new volunteers making for a good mixture of folks. 

During the week, there was loads of crushed rock made with sledge hammers in order to fill behind crib walls and set rock steps. When the rain came, we would switch to digging sidehill tread to avoid the slippery rock work. 

To dig sidehill on this project, you have to go through about 8-12 inches of duff covering the ground, then 2-4 feet of rock rubble underneath that has to be removed. Once all that is moved, finally there is a nice layer of mineral soil! Digging sidehill is no joke at this site. 

Many games of contact and person/place/thing were played during these hours. When we were back at camp after dinner, games of werewolf entertained the crew before bed.  

One night, several of us walked to Rice Fields to watch the sunset. Rice Fields is a beautiful open field along the crest of Peters Mountain. The Trail runs right along the Virginia-West Virginia state line here, with expansive views into West Virginia.

As the group came into the field, a rainbow greeted us in the clearing along with many hikers posted up at the lookout. It made for an evening full of great pictures and good fellowship.

For more photos from Week 5 Crew 2, visit

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