Friday, September 18, 2015

Week 8: July 4-July 8, 2015

Crew 2: New River Relocation near Pearisburg, VA

Crew 2, with leaders Bobby Berry and Sarah Ford, returned to the New River near Pearisburg, VA to work on a major trail re-route. 

This location takes a bit of effort to get there, but it is well worth the hike in because of the spectacular view from Rice Field at the crest of the ridge. The crew became familiar with the view through stretch circles and sunset hangouts on the outlook.  

Seven trail maintainers from the Ozark Trail Association- Kitty, April, Kathie, Katie, Sara, Rosie, Johnnie- and one multiweek Konnarock volunteer, Hyesun, made up the crew for Week 8! It’s not every day Konnarock has an all-woman volunteer crew- but they definitely rocked it out with several heavy rock construction projects. 

Many rock bars and rock drills were lugged out to the work site to accomplish the tasks ahead. With the stretch of woods where the trail will go sporting slabs of bedrock, lots of rock was drilled to be split out and be filled with crush for tread. Through the heavy downpours, loads of bedrock, and days of fog, these ladies killed it and accomplished some substantial work under challenging circumstances. 

There was a group working on a large staircase, for which each rock weighed over 500 pounds! The finished product was worth every minute. This re-route will close down a blue blaze trail that turns into a river during a downpour (which we witnessed). The AT will cross back through the other half of rice fields, where it was initially, when it is completed.

Crew 1: Return to Wayah Crest with Nantahala Hiking Club

Crew 1 returned to Wayah Crest for its second week in a row, working in Nantahala Hiking Club's territory. The crew picked up where it left off last week, installing more log steps and waterbars in order to curtail water erosion issues on the A.T. south of Wayah Bald.

The crew was met with more rain this week, though not as much as the week before. Two families -- the James family and the Thomas family -- joined the crew this week, making up over half the group. Lindsey Dunbar, Rachel Moses, and Clark Britt were all returning volunteers from weeks or seasons prior, and Matt Kaplan, a 2008 thru-hiker, joined Konnarock for the first time.

The Nantahala Hiking Club came out this week as well. Bill Van Horn and Gail Lehman came and worked two days with the crew, helping rehab the trail alongside Konnarock volunteers.

Crew 1 put in 20 log steps and 8 waterbars this week, and made 70 cubic feet of crush and fill to go behind those structures. The crew also put in 20 feet of junk cribbing to keep hikers on the A.T. and protect the trail corridor, and they installed over 130 feet of drainage behind their water-diversion structures.

On the crew's downtime they visited Wayah Bald Lookout Tower to watch the sunset, were mesmerized by Lindsey's photo-encyclopedia of the natural world from which they chose their spirit animals, and were treated to a Mexican feast in Franklin one evening by the Nantahala Hiking Club.

While there is still more to do at Wayah Crest, two weeks of trail rehab have greatly helped restore this section of trail. Thanks Crew 1 for another successful week in the Nantahala!

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