Carl Fritz reporting
It always seems that the volunteers (hikers, club maintainers and friends) exceed expectations during Damascus Hard Core. And the volunteers did so again for this 14th annual event. This year’s hikers enthusiastically signed up. In fact 68 were signed up in the first two hours Friday morning of Trail Days and only 50 was the target. However, fewer returning hikers came to Trail Days and we also target 50 of them. Then surprisingly with good weather many hikers did not show up Sunday morning for departure from Damascus.
But it was all upbeat from there on both Sunday and Monday, May 18 and 19th, in spite of being about 25 hikers less than we planned. The weather cooled off and started in the lower forties at the work sites that Sunday morning. Each day we had part of the crew at Little Rock Knob digging a long relocation and the larger crew just north of Ash Gap digging on the last eight remaining relocations between Cloudland and Ash Gap.
The crew at Little Rock Knob did some beautiful rock work. As Camo said, “We were really fortunate that all the rock was available in the area it was needed.” He also said that at 2 o’clock on the second afternoon, he thought there was no way to open this relocation. But they persisted until they could open it and blaze it. So in the two days they successfully built 1600 feet of trail to replace the 600 feet of the steep rocky climb to the Little Rock Knob vista.
Likewise, the crew at Ash Gap were just as determined. By late Monday afternoon, they had completed and opened seven of the eight relocations. And they jumped in to finish the last relocation. At 4 o’clock they started the last rock switchback by hauling rock 100 feet or more. We essentially finished that switchback but could not complete a substantial crib to open that eighth relocation. (It was opened by the Club ten days later.) In total Hard Core dug about 2000 feet of trail north of Ash Gap.
Thus, 3600 feet of difficult trail was built in two days! And the Appalachian Trail is on a much better grade that is more resistant to erosion.
AT License Plate grants, one from North Carolina and other from Tennessee, funded both dinners. Club volunteers coordinated by Ed Oliver prepared the Sunday dinner and hikers coordinated by “Baltimore Jack” prepared the Monday dinner. If you live in a state with an AT license plate consider purchasing one for your vehicle to support trail work and demonstrate your commitment.
Hard Core patches/rockers were distributed. As usual “One Pint” provided something unique like full snack bags for the hikers so they would not be famished during the day. ALDHA provided funds for additional hiker lunches plus water bottles for both days. Andrew Downs provided Trail Karma high performance tee shirts to all participants. Many were worn on second day of Hard Core and many are being seen on the trail.
In total there were 79 hikers and 37 club and friends or 116 volunteers contributing 2359 hours to make this event a success!
These TEHCC members, program affiliates and local friends participated: Brian Paley,Carl Fritz,Curtis Baird,Dean Baird,George Thorpe,Greg Kramer,John Robbins,Allie McDonald, Arunas Bartkus,Ken Buchanan,Kevin Sedgwick,Kim Peters,Steve Perri,Steven Wilson,Theodore G. Mowery,Tim Stewart,Bob Peoples,Jim Chambers,Jim Foster,John Beaudet, Pat Loven,Carol Dunham,Daryel Anderson,Dave Dunham,Ed Oliver,Juana Anderson,Karen Loven,Marsha Hupko,Mary Jane Fritz,Mike Hupko,Pat Buchanan,Paul Benfield,Bill Ristom,Diana Ristom,Julie Judkins,David LaPorte, John Botts,Kendall Abruzzese,Nathan Laporte,Rio Berry,Andrew Downs
These are the current year hikers and hiker alumni who participated: Alexandra Cockfield,Alice Feinald,Allie McDonald,Arunas Bartkus,Brian Maxwell Ruotsi,Chris Minnich,Dave Murphy,Samantha Mills, Tim Burton,Diana Moedinger,Donald Crook,Drew Lazelle,Ellie Beckett,Felicia Nardella,Franklin LaFowd,Hank Holleman,Jack C Gilbert,Jack Despres,Jacob Bison,Jake Bison, James Flynn,Jamie Ratchford,Jay De Wilbur,Jeff Klime,Joe Bizos,John McKinney,Jonathan Warren,Joseph Lucius Nelson,Kathy Markwad,Kay Ce Wilbur,Kayla Carter,Kevin Beberas,Kevin Delancy,Kevin Kiernan,Kristen Davis,Kuelan Archer, Lucius Nelson,Mike Geischen,Muriel Epling,Noah Naseri,Rita Ross,Robert Stormes,Samantha Mairson,Jack Tarlin, Richard Calkins,Samantha Mills,Tim Burton,Timothy Schmidt,Travis Glynn,Walter Martin,Adam Beard,Adama Malkia McGaepth,Ben Buchwald,Ben Moedinger,Christian Steeves,Christopher Hood, Dan Sanford,Donna Dean,Gabe Cisneros,Jennifer Berry,Jim Sain,Jon Borden,Kevin Beck,Laura Reed,Lewis Moyers,Matt Newman,Megan Kelly,Mike Laude,Mike Price,Nicole Laeger,Peter Bryan Garah,Phil Abruzzese, Sarah Coughtrie,Scott Ourth,”Chef Paul”,”Snake Bite”,Chris,David Bowie,Amy C Sternheim,, ,Jack Tarlin,Richard Calkins