Welcome Amy Snyder as ATC SORO Resource Management Coordinator

Vic Hasler reporting

Amy received a B.S. in Biology from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2006. As a graduation present to herself, she decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. During her hike, she witnessed the dramatic devastation of the forest caused by the gypsy moth invasion. This experience inspired her to pursue a M.S. in Entomology from Virginia Tech. Since graduation in 2011, she has been working towards forest protection in the natural sciences and natural resources fields. In her free time, Amy enjoys hiking, whitewater kayaking, and mountain biking. She can be reached at asnyder@appalachiantrail.org.

ATC Family Hiking Day – Saturday, Sept 26, 2015

AT – Indian Grave Gap to Beauty Spot

Leader: Mike Watts, 423-963-1593
Rating: Moderate per TEHCC, Moderate-to-strenuous per ATC for 4.6 m round trip, 1000’ elevation gain

This Saturday event is planned to participate in the ATC’s Family Hiking Day.  Beauty Spot is a natural grassy bald (4,437’) with excellent views of the Roan and Black Mountains. The overlook was recently improved by the Cherokee National Forest Hotshots (June newsletter) who removed some of the trees which had grown up over the years. Let’s leave Colonial Heights, TN at 9am to meet at Indian Grave Gap around 10am. Bring plenty of water, comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing/sun protection, and lunch. The hike itself will take roughly three and half hours depending on how much lunch/sightseeing time is desired on the bald. For further information, check the trail wiki or call the hike leader.

Bear Activity along TEHCC Section

Three reports have been recently received of bear activity along the TEHCC section.  On June 13th, hikers were disturbed by a bear at Low Gap on Unaka Mountain who would not leave their campsite.  Next day (June 14th), a juvenile bear was encountered around Cherry Gap Shelter, who again did not want to leave.  The leader used bear spray in an attempt to negatively reinforce the bear, which returned that evening to take pack.  The pack did not contain food, which was properly hung.  On June 15th, a third report was made for three miles south of the Mountaineer Falls Shelter.  Along the trail it was apparent there was a lot of bear activity.  Necessary precautions to limit risk of encountering a bear were taken including hanging bear bags 50 feet or more from the campsite.

ATC and USFS have been notified or provided information on all of these incidents.  Warning signs were posted on Monday at trailheads and in the shelter at Cherry Gap.  Camping at Low Gap or Cherry Gap Shelter is presently not recommended.

2015 ATC Biennial – Winchester, Virginia

Hiking Through History
July 17 – 24, 2015

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Biennial Conference is being co-hosted by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) and Mountain Club of Maryland (MCM).  Sited at Shenandoah University located in Winchester, Virginia, which is near hundreds of miles of outstanding hiking trails, including a short 18 minute drive to the Appalachian Trail at its closest point. The University is also close to important civil war battlefields such as Manassas, Gettysburg and Antietam, and 90 minutes from Washington D.C.

Workshops will be held during the day on Saturday, July 18th through Monday, July 20th. Coordinated hikes will be offered between Saturday, July 18th through Thursday, July 23rd.  In addition to amazing scenic areas, there will be nature, history, and  photography theme hikes, plus sunset outings. Many of the hikes include a swim, and/or a stop at an ice cream shop, restaurant, winery, or brewery. Family hiking specialists have designed hikes suitable for most families that are five miles or less plus hikes suitable for most children eight years and older that are nine miles or less.

2015 Bienniel Logo

For the Record – Spring Wildflower Hike, May 9, 2015

Joe DeLoach reporting

For this year’s installment of our annual spring wildflower hike, we chose the Appalachian Trail from Highway 19E to Doll Flats.  Our record of 40 species was found years ago between 19E and the edge of Hump Mountain, and we might have matched that if we’d gone further this year, finding 31 varieties without going beyond Doll Flats.  Showy orchis and fringed phacelia highlighted the lower elevations, moving into erect trilliums and wood anemones in the middle, with early spring trout lilies hanging on at Doll Flats.  The flower of the day was jack in the pulpit; we saw some great specimens and a lot of them in the upper half of the hike.  We also saw evidence of much hard work by dedicated TEHCC volunteers who had cut and peeled locust logs, some quite large, and stakes for Trail rehabilitation with HardCore the following weekend.  Doll Flats makes a great place for a siesta on a warm sunny day.  Joe lost his bet with Kim that we would find more species of flowers than we would see Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and it wasn’t close.  Next year we’ll shoot for earlier in the spring and the different varieties it brings. Hikers for this outing were Serita Blankenbecler, Phyllis Cairnes, Denise Hardin, Kim Peters, and Joe DeLoach.

2014 Damascus Hard Core

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. Continue reading