Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 10: July 23-27, 2015

Crew 2: Bluff City Relocation with RATC

During the tenth week of Konnarock, there was high anticipation to be out at Bluff City again. Konnarock has been working on this technical re-route for three years now and many are anxious to make headway on the project. Matt Ogden has been volunteering at this location since the beginning and we want to give him big thanks for coming out the rest of the season to help! 

Another special thanks goes out to David Youmans for joining Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) last year after volunteering and joining us once again. That is not to down play our appreciation for the rest of our volunteers who delivered hard work- Hyesun Yi, Tracy Ledon-Retting, Rae Volante, Lytton Volante, and Holly Looper! It was a fun group of volunteers with great attitudes and great teamwork. 

RATC also had many members join us in the field each day to help run equipment, move large rocks, and dig sidehill tread on extremely steep terrain. Thank you everyone for the many hours of hard work.

As the trail winds around the bluff, where a rock crib wall and staircase are being built, there was a large tree stump in the middle of the tread. 

The grip hoist was used with pulleys to achieve a 6:1 ratio to pull the stump from the hard red clay and rocks. It held on for dear life- taking three-fourths of the day for several volunteers to finally let go from its hole. What a glorifying moment when it released and it was 5 o’clock on the dot. Quitting time has never felt so satisfying!

The town of Pearisburg also gets a big thank you for the over-the-top party thrown for the volunteers. We were greeted with a band, a swimming pool, balloons, and more food than we could eat at the Holiday Lodge. There is not much better than a nice cool pool to swim in after a long hot day of rock work! It was Holiday Lodge owner Micky Chavla's birthday, and his parents were in town from India for the celebration. The generosity and time spent planning the shindig was much appreciated by the crew.

Crew 1: New River Relocation with OCVT

Meanwhile, on the other side of the New River, Crew 1 was high up above Pearisburg on the crest of Peters Mountain working on Konnarock's final week of the season at the New River Relocation. The crew picked up where Crew 2 had left off earlier in the season, drilling and splitting off bedrock and moving large rocks to put into a crib wall and to install as steps. 

Crew 1's volunteers included Konnarock alumni Todd Delk, John Tatara, a volunteer with the ATC in Harper's Ferry, Lindsey Dunbar, a multi-week volunteer on her sixth and final week this summer, and many first-time crew participants. 

Before the work week could begin, the crew climbed up Peters Mountain two and half miles to the campsite near Rice Field Shelter. Crew 1 backpacked in any personal camping gear that couldn't fit in the 4WD truck which carried tools and food up a forest service road to where the crew would be camping.

The crew put in five rock steps and 72 cubic feet of rock cribbing while filling 125 cubic feet of crush in those structures. While these numbers may seem a bit low, all of the rockwork had to be installed on or next to bedrock which made the labor a little slow-going. One section required the crew to drill off a slab of bedrock in order for them to be able to continue building the trail through. 

The crew also finished 115 feet of new sidehill and cleared out 540 feet of corridor for future trail building as the New River Relo is worked towards completion next season.

When the crew wasn't working, they played hacky sack up near Rice Field. Here they also watched the sunset and stargazed and met long-distance hikers staying at the shelter. The crew played word games and had fun sharing their various experiences on the trail and outdoors.

Thanks Crew 1 for an awesome week of work and for bringing the New River Relo that much closer to finishing!

No comments: