Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Week 3: May 18-22, 2018

Crew 1 and Hard Core: Wilburn Ridge Rehab

working with Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club, ALDHA, and Damascus Hard Core volunteers

click here for the full photo album

Week 3 for crew 1 was full of alumni, thru hikers, rocks, rain, and lots of success!

This week was a little different from the "normal crew week" as the crew consisted of seasoned trail maintainers who have been coming to Konnarock for years. I learned a lot from these guys and appreciated their enthusiasm for the trail and the work. They were also gathered here to lead mini teams of thru-hikers on trail maintenance at Grayson Highlands for what is called HARD CORE.

This event, organized by the MRATC (Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club) and ATC with some funding from ALDHA, is a chance for thru-hikers to give back and volunteer to work on the trail for a few days. The annual "Trail Days" festival in Damascus is where thru-hikers are able to sign up and get involved. We had 9 different sections with seasoned Konnarock alumni volunteers Billy, Handlebar, Ted, Boy-Howdy, and Doug leading a group of volunteers each. ATC's Andrew Downs, Josh Kloehn and Kathryn Herndon-Powell came out to help, as well as Jim Chambers with ALDHA.

We had a great turnout of about 39 volunteers (some new, some returning) for the 2 HARD CORE days and we were able to accomplish some great trail work in 1 and 1/2 days. The 2nd day was called short because of thunderstorms and rain. Rock steps, drains, crib walls, and waterbars were all created in those days. We had gravel, provided by the Forest Service, to use for setting steps, waterbars, and raising the tread at wet spots. Everyone who carried even one bucket of gravel up the hill, deserves an extra "thank you!" That was no walk in the park and there was a lot of gravel needed for the work that got accomplished!

Before the fun of HARD CORE, Crew 1 (HOO-YAH), went up to the high country to work on the trail in the mud and rain for 2 days. We built rock steps, a rock crib wall, and improved a lot of drainage issues on the trail. This week was also a different week because we all decided it was worth the extra drive time to come back to base camp each night instead of camping, as the weather was so unpleasant. It was appreciated and enjoyed by all--the chance to wash muddy, wet clothes, a hot shower and a huge kitchen to cook big meals for breakfast and dinner. 

The last work day of the crew week, we went back up to the high country to put some final touches on the trail before getting back to base camp for clean-up and the end of week celebration. We added a few more rock steps, laid more gravel for setting steps and for creating a more desirable tread surface. We had our final lunch looking out at the amazing view the high country can offer,  and walked through all the finished work with smiles on our faces.

Jerry's final count of the work that got done by all:
69 rock steps
45 cubic feet of rock cribbing
100 cubic feet of junk cribbing
135 cubic feet of crush & fill
140 ft of drainage ditch
2 rock waterbars
6 stepping stones
1 rock culvert
10 grade drips
27 ft of causeway
85 square feet of scree
and a total of 1150 ft length of trail redefined and maintained!!! HOOYAH! That is fantastic!

HARD CORE was a wild success with many people working hard to make it a successful few days. Thru-hikers were able to give back, learn some trail building skills and gain some appreciation for what has gone into the trail they experience, which is what HARD CORE is all about. 

Thank you to all the clubs, volunteers, leaders, thru-hikers and alumni for coming out and joining the cause!

--Julia Smith, Assistant Crew Leader

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