Friday, April 8, 2016

Meet the 2016 Konnarock Crew Staff!

With the help of a mighty crew of local volunteers, Konnarock Base Camp is all cleaned up and ready for the 2016 season! The five crew staff members have moved in for the season and are currently training and checking out project sites--read on to meet the staff.

Volunteer registrations are rolling in, but we still have lots of spots open--we particularly need help Weeks 7, 8 and 11. Click here to see the season schedule and sign up!

Janet Gibbons, Base Camp Coordinator

Hometown: Floyd VA

A.T. Background: Hiked bits and pieces mostly in the South. Trail maintainer since 1986, member of PATH and MRATC, and many years' experience on ATC Trail Crews.

Other talents: Hmmmm! I can cook a bit.

Favorite memory: Bushwhacking with the Rocky Top Crew from Ekaneetlee Gap to Cade's Cove in the pouring rain wearing cheap orange rain gear which looked like flagging tape when we arrived! Never been keen on bushwhacking since!

Favorite place on the A.T.: Whitetop Mountain, VA

What you're looking forward to in the 2016 Krock season: Looking forward to a safe, fun, and productive year. 

What you love about Konnarock: The Konnarock vibe is what I love. Good times with like-minded people. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”

Jerry Kyle, Crew Leader (Crew 1)

Home: West (by God) Virginia.

A.T. Background: Eleven year volunteer with Konnarock, plus Rocky Top & Mid Atlantic trail crews.  Member of Roanoke AT Club, Mount Rogers AT Club and PATH. Section maintainer for Roanoke ATC. Two previous seasons as crew leader for Konnarock Volunteer Trail Crew, One season each as Boundary Technician and Trail Inventory Technician with the Centrail and SW Virginia Regional Office of ATC.

Other talents: Paramedic, wilderness EMT, caver, father, grandfather.

Favorite memory of an outdoor adventure: Watching the sunset on Peters Mountain near Rice Field Shelter.

Favorite place on the A.T.: Mount Rogers high country.

What you're looking forward to in the 2016 Krock season: Different trail building & rehabilitation challenges, working with Hardcore and new people & places!

What you love about the Konnarock program: The satisfaction of seeing volunteers learn new skills and creating great trail, the privilege of doing meaningful work in special places, and awesome co-workers and friends!

Dave Youmans, Crew Leader (Crew 2)

Hometown: Roanoke Va.

A.T. Background: Maintainer for the “Andy Layne” Trail in Virginia, hike leader for the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC), and currently serving as the Regional Partnership Committee representative for RATC. Multiple Seasons with the Konnarock Trail Crew as a volunteer. Additional volunteer work with the Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Top Trail Crews, and RATC.

Other talents: I am a casual Kayaker, and an avid Diver (though I haven't been underwater a lot lately!). I'm not a terrible cook, and enjoy cooking, then eating with friends. I've been renovating my house for the last year, so this hasn't happened for a while. I was recently certified as a Wilderness First Responder…but you will not become injured on my crew, please.

Favorite memory of an outdoor adventure: Kayaking among a pod of Orca in British Columbia (they were really close, and I was a little intimidated). Then sitting on an outcropping drinking tea and watching a black bear comb the beach. And let's not forget the satisfaction of looking at an area of newly built, or rehabbed trail after a day’s work on Trail Crew.

Favorite place on the A.T.: Lunch atop Tinker Cliffs overlooking Catawba Valley. You have earned it after climbing up the Andy Layne Trail. Hiking with the ponies and Long Horn cattle in Grayson Highlands is darn nice as well. Especially when the foals, or calves are around!

What you're looking forward to in the 2016 Krock season: Witnessing the satisfaction from volunteers after completing a solid rock step, or well-designed cribbing. The satisfaction I get when learning a new skill, or improving on another.

What you love about the Konnarock program: The people! I'm not sure what it is, but the people drawn to the trail are a really pleasant bunch. By mid-week, the crew acts like old friends, with all the goofiness, and grumpiness that could entail.

Brian Allgood Assistant Crew Leader (Crew 1)
Trail Name: Allgood

Hometown: Abingdon, VA

A. T. Background:
Having lived around Damascus and Mount Rogers most of my life, I have been fortunate enough to hike extensively on my "home stretch" of A.T. throughout the years and have so many great memories centered around the Trail. I completed a thru-hike in 2008 and several other sections since then.

Other talents: I raise a fairly sizable garden and grow a wide variety of veggies. I also enjoy playing mandolin and other acoustic instruments.

Favorite memory of an outdoor adventure: Although I've been on many different hikes around the country, I still think hiking through Maine on my northbound thru-hike takes the cake. I had no time time constraints and really got to take my time and make the most of it.

Favorite place on the A.T.: As a native Southwest Virginian, I'm partial to the Mount Rogers high country. Nowhere quite like it!

What you're looking forward to in the 2016 Krock season: Meeting and working with folks of different backgrounds from all over the world who genuinely care about the A.T. I'm also looking forward to revisiting parts of the Trail that I haven't seen in a while and working to improve these sections.

What you love about the Konnarock program: The people, the high standards of our work, the places we work, the food, the camaraderie, and the satisfaction of leaving a long-lasting positive impact on the Trail. What's not to love? Konnarock is the real deal.

Justin Farrell, Assistant Crew Leader (Crew 2)
Trail Name: Mayhem

Hometown: Austin, TX

A.T. Background: Several day hikes in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and a section hike in Virginia through the Grayson Highlands. Six weeks as a volunteer on the Konnarock Crew in 2015.

Other talents: Cooking Italian food and telling jokes

Favorite place on the AT: Wilburn Ridge in the Mount Rogers High Country

What you’re looking forward to in the 2016 Krock season:
The springtime weather and scenery in the Southeast!

What you love about the Konnarock program: Meeting new people from all walks of life, doing hard work for a good cause, and getting dirty of course!