Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 11: July 31-August 4, 2015

Crew 1: Swim Bald Relocation with Smoky Mountain Hiking Club

Crew 1 revisited the southern region of the A.T. for their last two weeks, working on a relocation of the trail south of Swim Bald in North Carolina in the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club's section of maintenance. Week Eleven turned out to be one of the fullest crew weeks of the season and drew a mixture of alumni and first-time volunteers who went on to build over 700 feet of new sidehill trail.

Clark Britt, a 5-year returnee to Konnarock and Leah Bradley, on her 10th year volunteering with the program, both joined the crew for the week, adding their expertise to the beginning process of relocating the trail. Christina Fontello returned for her second week this season and also aided the crew as a volunteer.

Franklin LaFond, aka "Ox", from the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, met the crew on their first day of travel, camping and working with the crew for every day they were in the field. He brought extra food and desserts for the crew to enjoy and offered his trail wisdom and good humor for the duration of the week. 

Besides the new sidehill dug, the crew put in three cubic feet of log cribbing, 10 cubic feet of crush and fill, and 48 feet of drainage ditch. They also helped clear over 6000 feet of corridor for the new relocation.

When completed, this relocation will replace an extremely steep section of trail that is prone to erosion and difficult to maintain.

When the crew wasn't working, they hiked up to see the sunset at Cheoh Bald and hiked to the Jumpoff, a spot almost two miles from camp.

Crew 2: Bluff City Relocation with Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

The full crew of volunteers made more progress than could have been anticipated at Bluff City this week! With four volunteers from George Mason University, and the other six from all parts of the country, we put in 10 rock steps, 15 square feet of cribbing, and removed 75 cubic feet of rock in the tread! All week the heavy jack hammer was running to remove bedrock that juts into the tread.

Volunteers Nathan and Spencer as well as club member John ran the jack hammer most of the week. Also, the grip hoist was brought out to remove another tree stump that lay in the back slope. The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club accompanied Konnarock two days during the week to help dig side hill, run the CanyCom, and quarry rock for the remaining rock crib wall. This crew finally helped finish the steps and crib wall that ran around the rock bluff! This was a major accomplishment and something that has been long anticipated. 

During most evenings, our crew enjoyed playing werewolf, chess, uno and smores around a camp fire. The club also put on the annual Corn Boil with a massive feast. We all ate to our fill and then enjoyed a great game of PELT afterwards. Many thanks go to RATC for the great hospitality and smorgasboard of home-cooked summer delicacies.

Coming back to base camp with a great Mexican meal prepared by our base camp coordinator, Janet, finished off the week perfectly!

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