Bear activity at Watauga Lake Shelter causes new Closure Order

April 2016: Two nights of bear encounters have been recently reported at the Watauga Lake Shelter. The bears were seeking food, thus destroyed a pair of tents, able to shake a bag off the bear pole, and climbed trees for hanged bags.

The US Forest Service has reinstated a Closure Order similar to the previous one which now covers Oliver Hollow Rd./Hwy 321 to Wilbur Dam Rd. – approximately four miles of the Appalachian Trail along the west side of Watauga Lake. No picnicking, lingering, or overnight camping. Hiking, only, allowed on the named four mile Appalachian Trail section. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Help us protect you and the bears. Please hike through the area without stopping. Closure Order: April 15, 2016- Until Further notice.

For TEHCC members, the best recommendation is to avoid this “Oliver Hollow” area and enjoy another section of the Appalachian Trail. For thru-hikers, the word is being gotten out so that they can properly plan their distances. The temporary campsite located south of Hwy 321 above Shook Branch is available for use.

From the Chair – April 2016

By William Werner

For fair-weather hikers like me, April marks the beginning of hiking season. I’m excited to get back out on the trails, and we have a great lineup of hikes this month. I’d also like to bring to your attention two important non-hiking events in April. The first is our annual rental equipment inspection on April 20th. The club maintains a broad selection of hiking and camping equipment for rent, and each year we need volunteers to examine the items to evaluate their condition. Helping out with this process is a great way to get to know what equipment is available, and it’s just plain fun to set up tents in the middle of the B-310 lobby. Volunteers are rewarded with a light lunch of pizza and snacks, so I highly recommend you come out. The inspection is from 11:00 to 1:00 in Room 221 of the Eastman Employee Center (B-310). Contact our Rental Equipment Coordinator, Terry Dougherty, at 502-5177 and let him know if you can make it. The second event is our Spring Dinner Meeting, scheduled for the night of Friday, April 22. We have an excellent speaker this year in Danny Bernstein, an Asheville author who will present stories and photos from her visits to each of the National Parks in the Southeast. We also have some copies of her book to give out as door prizes; so be sure to attend!

Section hike the TEHCC AT Section This Year

Tim Schaefer is interested in section hiking the TEHCC section of the AT this year (Spivey Gap to the Virginia border). He’s looking for car pooling and hike partner(s). This way he won’t have to do it twice going out and back. It also fits in well with the National Park Service’s program this year to hike 100 miles of trail and earn a pin or decal (see February newsletter). Since time, and more specifically hiking days are limited, he’s looking at possibly doing this in as few as seven outings. If this sounds too aggressive, contact him anyway as he may be encouraged to tone it down to be able to accomplish this. There are also others interested in achieving this same goal in not such an aggressive manner as well and we can get you in contact with them. If interested email Tim at tim@tehcc.org for some discussion, to do some planning, and start to get some events on the calendar.

Norovirus (Stomach Bug) Information – 2016

Prevent outbreaks of norovirus (or even passing around a stomach bug) at campsites/shelters along the Appalachian Trail. Proper hygiene — especially hand washing with soap and water — is key to preventing the spread of the disease. (Hand sanitizers may not be effective against norovirus; however, vigorous rubbing of applied sanitizer has been reported to improve performance.) Also, be aware that most water filters do not filter viruses.

Please be informed! Read the following information carefully.
Prevent Norovirus 2015

NPS Hike 100 Challenges

Submitted by Vic Hasler

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. In celebration of its Centennial, several of the national parks are hosting 100-mile challenges. For the Appalachian Trail, everyone who hikes 100 miles or more — with at least one hike on the A.T. — during 2016 is eligible to receive a limited-edition Hike100 decal. Register by sending your name and email address to AT_Hike100@nps.gov to receive a simple official hiking log. Enter dates, where, and miles to reach the 100-mile goal, and then send it back when you’re done. Other national parks in the region announcing similar challenges include GSMNP and New River Gorge.

Trail Value Assessment Completed for TEHCC Section

Vic Hasler and Carl Fritz reporting

ATC worked collaboratively with the APPA NPS office to develop a system for assessing the value of the A.T. and its associated facilities. The results are to help the APPA (Appalachain National Scenic Trail) better compete for funding relative to other National Parks in our region by accurately accounting for the true worth of the extensive work provided by the volunteer corps. The monies help support A.T. relocations, trail rehab, and facility improvements.

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Wilderness First Aid Course

The APEs and TEHCC will host a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course taught by NOC/SOLO (Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities) on March 19-20. The class will be hosted at the Eastman Lodge and will run from 8:30am – 5:00pm on both Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $115 for WFA and $35 for CPR.

Fast paced and hands-on, this two-day course covers a wide range of wilderness medicine topics for people who travel and work in the outdoors.  If you plan to spend time in the backcountry, this training will provide you with the tools to provide patient care in remote settings where assistance may not be readily available. Training will include both classroom instruction and structured scenarios. All levels of training and experience are welcome. Minimum age is 18 years old, or 12 years old if accompanied by a chaperone. This class can be used to recertify WFR for an additional $15.

Class size is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. TEHCC has limited positions available for sponsorship in the form of partial course fee reimbursement (~$50). You must be a TEHCC member to apply. Contact William Werner at wwerner@eastman.com for additional information. Register online at http://www.riverapes.org/registration.html. After submitting your registration you will be directed to http://www.riverapes.org/paypal-1.html to pay for the course using PayPal.  APEs (or TEHCC) membership is required to participate and can also be purchased online at http://www.riverapes.org/paypal-1.html for $10. No need to fill out and send in a separate membership form. Your online registration will double for that purpose.

Please Contact Scott Fisher at TFisher1@its.jnj.com for additional information.

Trail Wiki Update

Submitted by Tim Schaefer

The holidays and getting the new year started slowed progress a bit, but we were able to complete tagging every page with its current short comings. Now, if there are improvement needs, the trail page has a banner highlighting the potential improvements, and anyone reading the page can see how they can help. Needs include everything from more pictures, trail description detail, to GPS logs. With that complete, I will now turn my attention to trail searching. I’ve played with it a bit and have a basic working version, but the aesthetics need some improvement before it’s ready for the non-engineer. Beyond that, others have added details about Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area and its trails. There have also been updates to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and several GPS track file updates to trails throughout our area. Progress continues and we hope you find it useful and will one day help out as well.

Hiking through Israel with Bob Peoples

Excerpt from longer article by Rebekah Price originally appearing in Elizabethton Star on January 11, 2016

bob in israelRebekah’s quote regarding the interview was: “Wish I could have spent the day hearing more of Bob’s stories. When Bob Peoples tells a story, books write themselves.”

Hampton resident and hiking legend Bob Peoples, 72, returned this Fall from a venture of Biblical proportions. Hiking through Israel, he followed the Yam el Yam (Sea to Sea) trail and then took a bus to Nazareth and hiked the Jesus Trail, each of which ended at the Sea of Galilee. He covered about 100 miles by foot and visited over 25 churches and numerous historical sites. The high temperature was below 100 degrees Fahrenheit on only one day of his three-week journey.

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