Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 12: August 8-12, 2015

Crew 1: Swim Bald Relocation with Smoky Mountain Hiking Club

From Assistant Crew Leader Davis Wax:

For their final week of the season, Crew 1 returned to Swim Bald to finish the 1200-foot relocation they began last week. After week eleven, the crew had almost 500 feet of new sidehill to build and a number of log structures to install. They certainly had their work cut out for them.

Along to help with the ambitious workload were 19-season Konnarock veteran Billy Williams, 10-season alum Leah Bradley of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail Association and first-time volunteer Ron Gregory -- the last two back again for a consecutive week at this North Carolina project.

Franklin LaFond, aka "Ox", came out to meet and work with the crew again. Representing the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, Ox brought the crew more special food for the volunteers -- including biscuits and gravy -- and worked alongside Crew 1 each day to help finish the project.

A.T. Shelter Mouse Crumbsnatcher also made an appearance during both weeks at Swim Bald. She helped dig out stumps for clearing the new corridor for the trail and dug sidehill with the crew, pointing out some of the tricks to smoothing out new tread and broadcasting soil downhill.

Altogether the crew dug 480 feet of new sidehill, tying the new trail into current A.T. They also installed five log steps and 15 cubic feet of log cribbing, filling behind those structures with 24 cubic feet of crush. Crew 1 also had to close off over 400 feet of the old trail in order to send hikers down the new, better-graded section, throwing in brush and check dams to slow down future water erosion. All of this work was accomplished despite the back-and-forth threat and then eventual downpour of rain. Thanks week twelve volunteers for sticking it out through the sometimes muddy mess!

When the crew wasn't working they hiked up to Cheoh Bald for the sunset, played the card game Werewolf, played word games, and set up a card trick corner in camp. The crew also made s'mores on the camp stove and experimented with tahini sauce in one of their pasta meals.

With the combined efforts of Konnarock volunteers and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, the Swim Bald Relocation was completed! The crew had an official ribbon-cutting with the help of Crumbsnatcher which signaled the opening of the new piece of trail. Thank you everyone on Crew 1 for your help during weeks eleven and twelve and thank you Ox for your awesome support throughout this project!

It's been real, Crew 1. Thanks for all the great work, fun times, and endless memories made this summer -- you made 2015 a Konnarock season we will not soon forget. Come back and see us in 2016!

Crew 2: Bluff City Relocation with Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

From Assistant Crew Leader Sarah Ford:
Our final week was such a success! The group had a wonderful time and clicked from the get go, which makes for a wonderful time for everyone. 

This week at Bluff City was full of many different projects including grip hoisting stumps, jack hammering, rock drilling, digging side hill, and doing finishing touches on all the parts in between. 

With all working together, the trail really came together and resembled an actual trail by the end of it all. Bluff City relocation should be finished in the next year- a long awaited completion. 

During the mid week, we all decided to head to the bottom of the mountain for some well deserved Mexican food. On the small excursion, two kittens and a groundhog were spotted in the grass playing together. It’s not every day you see things like that! We also went swimming a couple times at the New River in order to feel a little more human after an exhausting day of work. One day we spotted another strange thing- a man walking his two dogs and his goat. We all got a good laugh and pictures
out of that. Thank you again week 12 volunteers for all the work, laughs, and memories made!

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