It was just like it says – hard core. Most everyone arrived at Iron Mountain Gap on Sunday morning around 11 am. After arranging parking and sorting out tools, we took in groups 10 at a time to the relocation on the side of Little Bald Knob.
The day started off rather ingloriously when one thru-hiker walking in fell and busted his nose. He bled for a bit, but he survived. After clumsiness and medical treatment, we arrived at the end of the relocation and started digging trail. We spent several hours in the intermittent rain and dirt. At about 3 pm, we were able to close the old Trail over Little Bald Knob and open up the new one. The thru hikers got to paint blazes which was very exciting for them. Ed Oliver looked like a mother duck with her ducklings as he instructed each person on how to blaze. After walking out, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and cider from Ox’s trailer and then drove to the Laurels for some fine food prepared by the Cunninghams and other TEHCC members. Sunday allowed us to complete about 2000 feet of new trail and close off the old trail.
Monday turned out to be perfect trail maintenance weather. We arrived at Carvers Gap around 9 am and were greeted by the cold wind. After distributing tools, we made our way over the balds to the side of Grassy Ridge. The views were spectacular. After hiking and the sun getting higher in the sky, we all started warming up and getting down to t-shirts. We worked hard on moving the trail further down ridge to bypass the near creek bed that the existing Trail had become. There were several areas where rock work was required. Bob Peoples and his apprentices, Otto and Camo, did an excellent job on those. We were able to complete a major section of trail totaling about 1500 feet. We were also able to complete one of the new switchbacks going down Grassy Ridge towards Stan Murray Shelter. Around 3 pm, everyone started finishing up and heading back towards Carvers Gap. From there, many went back to Kincora for dinner, others parted ways, and some even started hiking from there! It was a fun two days of work that helped the Club complete two large relocations in a short amount of time. Thanks to all who organized the event!
by Jake Mitchell