Crew 2: Sinking Creek Mountain Relocation
working with Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club
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Week Four for Crew Two was spent working on a multiyear relocation project on Sinking Creek Mountain, in Virginia's Craig County. The goal of this project is to eliminate a steep section of fall line trail near the top of the mountain by installing a long switchback almost to the boundary of the National Forest. This will bring the Trail to a more sustainable grade by better utilizing the space allowed.
Once complete, the switchback will be just over a half mile long. Though that may not sound like much, the project requires a great deal of heavy rock work, some of which is very technical.
Luckily, Konnarock had just the team for the job – students from the Veterans Program at The University of Central Missouri. The UCM Mules have been coming out to volunteer for Konnarock for three years now as part of their service learning program and have earned an honorable reputation among the Trail Crew. Simply put, when they come work gets done!
Once the rock was moved onto the trail, several more volunteers were called upon to help “mule” to the rock down the trail in a rock net to be used as step or cribbing material. The Mules especially lived up to their name during this process since many of the rocks weighed upwards of 400 lbs. One rock, dubbed Dorito rock for it’s triangular shape, required the assistance of nearly the entire crew.
Though the work and the hike were tough, the Crew had it pretty easy as far as camping arrangements go thanks to the folks at a local Christmas tree farm, Joe’s Trees, who have been allowing crews to camp on their property for this project. With real bathrooms, running water, and an awning to cook and commune under who could ask for more? Not to mention the delicious lamb sausage that the owner gave to the Crew straight from the farm. Burritos have never tasted so great. A special thanks goes out to Joe’s Trees for their hospitality!
Each night, the group had a reflection in which each member was able to express their thoughts, appreciations, and memories from the day. This is something unique that this particular group does and it really boosts the camaraderie. This would usually be followed by a game or two of Werewolves – a Konnarock classic. Other entertainment at camp came early one morning in the form of a passing road bike race. Crew members had way too much fun cheering on the hundreds of race participants.
--Brian Allgood, Assistant Crew Leader