Thursday, July 27, 2017

Week 9: July 12-16, 2017

Crew 2: Sinking Creek Relocation

working with Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

click here for the full photo album

Week nine brought Crew Two back to Sinking Creek Mountain in southwest Virginia to continue construction on a multi year relocation project near the top of the mountain, picking up where they had left off Week 4. For more information on the relo, check out Crew Two’s blog from Week 8.

This week was unique in that the Crew hosted the ATC’s Conservation Leadership Corps, a summer internship program in which young people from diverse backgrounds can come together to experience different forms of conservation work. Also joining the Crew were a few alumni volunteers who were able to provide some pointers in the technical work required in this project.

As usual on Sinking Creek Mountain, the Crew certainly had their work cut out for them. One team worked to finish up the rock and earth steps from week four while the rest worked in the next rock slide rearranging rocks to route the Trail through it and then filled the path with crushed rock. The work was tedious and precarious at times, but before they knew it the trail came together. The volunteers agreed that it was much like a giant game of Tetris.
To reward the volunteers mid-week, Kathryn from the ATC office in Roanoke brought the Crew some delicious Mexican lasagna and ice cream to fuel the progress. Thanks Kathryn!

After working through the rock slide, the Crew divided themselves up among three separate projects. Two teams moved up to the switchback to begin work on a staircase and a crib wall to retain the upper leg just above the landing. Since the two legs of the switchback come together so closely, the crib wall will both deter hikers from cutting and armor the Trail even if cutting occurs.

The other team continued work on the steep exit just beyond the rock slide building a cribbed rock staircase. Both teams got a solid start on these technical projects and scouted out several rocks to be used on next week’s Crew.

As technical and labor intensive as the week’s work was, it was not without it’s rewards. At the end of each day, the volunteers enjoyed the plentiful blackberries growing in the pasture near the Keffer Oak.

Afterwards they would relax at the campsite at Joe’s Trees Christmas tree farm and had fun playing cards and watching the sheep and cattle roaming through the fields. One evening, they even got to see a bear as it sauntered across the field across the road.

The Crew ended the week in style with a refreshing dip in the Falls of Dismal, a popular swimming hole on the AT, on the way home. The swim was especially needed this as this week was the hottest of the season thus far. Afterward, they rewarded the week with pizza at Moondog Pizzeria in Whytheville. After a week’s worth of hard work, let’s just say they had no problem putting away five large pizzas and wings!

Thanks, Crew Two, for another successful week on Sinking Creek Mountain! HYAW!!

--Brian Allgood, Assistant Crew Leader

No comments: