The 10th annual Hard Core event became reality on Sunday, May 16, and Monday, May 17. It was a reunion for many of us, but we also welcomed many first timers. As usual, everyone had fun working hard. On Sunday the work project was to build trail relocation on the trail south side of Pond Mountain. This particular relocation was to eliminate the worst piece of the AT on Pond Mountain. On the second day we started a relocation north of Hughes Gap to again replace a very steep area of the AT. The 2000-foot relocation is replacing a little more than 700 feet of existing AT.
The 10th annual Hard Core event became reality on Sunday, May 16, and Monday, May 17. It was a reunion for many of us, but we also welcomed many first timers. As usual, everyone had fun working hard.
To get a proper early start to the event, Bob Peoples was honored for his dedicated service to Hard Core at Damascus Trail Days. The Hard Core concept has caught on in several northern locations like Vermont and Maine and Bob has played a major role in encouraging those. “Otto,” representing the American Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA), presented Bob with a beautiful polished rock about one foot in diameter with a glass plate engraved, “In appreciation of Bob Peoples, 10th Anniversary Hard Core.” The logos of ATC, TEHCC and ALDHA are also engraved in the glass. This award is now placed strategically on Bob’s mantel.
On Sunday the work project was to build trail relocation on the trail south side of Pond Mountain. This particular relocation was to eliminate the worst piece of the AT on Pond Mountain. The day greeted us with hot, humid weather. Therefore, the climb to Pond Mountain with tools took a lot of energy out of us. But Hard Core folks recovered and completed 1900 feet of trail by late afternoon. There was a fair amount of rock to deal with. “Camo” and his crew naturally had the most rock work. Also, a considerable number of side logs were required to get by large trees on very steep hillside.
We were able to retreat to Watauga Point Recreation Area before any significant rains hit. There we were treated to a barbecue dinner including tossed salad, baked beans, carrot salad, and strawberry shortcake. As usual the meal was coordinated and primarily provided by Mary Cunningham with the able assistance of other Club members.
Participants received patches, water bottles provided by “Otto” and ALDA, caps donated by “Hammer,” and t-shirts provided by TEHCC and an NC license plate grant from ATC.
On the second day we started a relocation north of Hughes Gap to again replace a very steep area of the AT. The 2000-foot relocation is replacing a little more than 700 feet of existing AT. We found more rock challenges here than expected. But Hard Core jumped in and built a lot of rock cribbing. One span of rock was 30 feet long, four feet wide and about 2.5 feet high. “Camo” and his crew built some large rock steps at the switchback.
Monday brought some drizzles during the morning. By mid afternoon, the rains started coming hard. The black oily soil of the Roans became a real problem for maneuvering when it became wet. We abandoned the work site early under these conditions. But we had essentially built another 1900 feet of trail. We also wanted this soil type to settle before the trail was opened to regular foot traffic. We literally slid down the existing steep trail to Hughes Gap. Several folks fell and slid a half-dozen to a dozen times. So mud prevailed at the end of the day.
Dinner was served as usual at Kincora Hostel. A majority of the food was purchased using a NC License Plate Grant from ATC. Long-time participants like “Baltimore Jack,” “Chef Paul” and “Crispy Critter” organized the food purchase, preparation and serving. Dinner consisted of okra soup, spaghetti, tossed salad, and garlic bread. They even coerced Bob Peoples into baking the key lime pies for dessert.
This major giving back to the trail and socialization with like minded folks during the 10th annual Hard Core resulted in 3800 feet of new trail to bypass very steep and eroding sections of the AT on Pond Mountain and north of Hughes Gap. About 60 first-timers (50 hikers and 10 club members and local friends) joined with 94 returnees (65 hikers and 29 club members and local friends). Overall, 115 hikers worked with 39 club members and local friends during the entire event. On Sunday, 109 hikers worked with 33 club members and local friends. On Monday, 94 hikers joined with 21 club members and local friends. Total man-hours for the event were 2512. Many folks played key support roles in providing food, transportation, and tools, including some from Appalachian State University Trail Club and the U.S. Forest Service. Also, thanks to U.S. Forest Service in reserving Watauga Point Recreation Area for Sunday’s event. Thanks to all who made the 10th Hard Core a successful event.
These TEHCC members, program affiliates, and local friends participated:
Daryel Anderson, Greg Anderson, Juana Anderson, Donna Ashby, Curtis Baird, Dean Baird, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Bruce Cunningham, Mary Cunningham, Craig DeLoach, Joe DeLoach, Andrew Downs, Carol Dunham, Dave Dunham, Stuart Everett, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Mary Jane Fritz, Seth Grindstaff, Howard Guinn, Mike Hupko, Kat Johnson, David LaPorte, Jake Mitchell, Ted Moseyed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Steve Perri, Kim Peters, Laurie Pottieger, Brian Satterwhite, “Seiko,” Timothy Schaefer, Susanne Seiler, George Summers, Tim Stewart.
Here are the hikers who participated:
Adam Ward, Alison Hudson, Amy McMenamin, Amy Sternheim, Andrew Gage, Andrew Goodman, Anthony Lang, Arlow Nichols, Jack Tarlin, Ben Lightowler, Bill Ristom, Bonnier Schneider, Brent Forbes, Brian Fleicher, Brian Wafford, Byron Norton, Carl Chenoweth, Casey Markham, Charles Kinney, Charles Lee, Christian Utendre, Christopher Mann, Clark Ward, Colin Zwanzieger, Dale Draves, Dan Walker, Daniel Ruggiero, Dave Foley, Diana Ristom, Doug Chenoweth, Eric Digenetic Faye, Erin Fuller, Franklin LaFond, Greg Lee, Hayden Wilson, Jack Carter Jar, Jaime Renaud, James Fritchman, James H. Jones, Janel Scharhag, JayDe Wilbur, Jeanine Kinney, Jeff Connor, Jeff Lambert, Jennifer Berry, Jennifer Lemieux, Jessica Gage, Jessica Lafortune, Jill Engeln, Joe Harrison, Joe Reeves, John Beaudet, John Flatt, John Noullet, John Slack, John Swart, Jonathan Saul, Joseph Carlson, Joseph Roouss, Justin Busbee, Karelyn Kressler, Kelli Hardin, Kelly Collins, Kelsey Costello, Kendall Abruzzese, Kevin Short, Lamar Powell, Laura Reed, Lewis Moyers, Lindsay Stockbridge, Lint Bunting, Lucy Parker, Mara Factor, Marty Seibert, Matthew Helf, Michael Laude, Mike Price, Nathan Hallman, Nathan Ventura, Patrick Warden, Paul Renaud, Peggy Smith, Peter Howard, Phil Abruzzese, Philip Malaskill, Ray Douglas, Rick Sako, Robert Moor, Ryan Hoffman-Wentling, Sarah Crozier, Scott Ourth, Scott Senger, Sinko Englisch, Smith Edwards, Stephen Buga, Tara Nicholson, Tara Soilikki, Tatyana Kozlouska, Ted Marks, Terry Hale, Thomas Cruson, Tony Lang, Troy Evans, Walter Martin, Warren Johnson, Wayne Krevetski, Will Chadwell, William Rhyne, Yudrue Anjaleih, “Freeman,” “Chef Paul,” “Crispy Critter,” “Ma Fahmah,” and “Restless.”