From the Chair for April

Ian Powell, Steering Committee Chair
It will soon be warming up and more people will be spending time outside
enjoying the trail and water.  Have you thought about what you are going to
make out of this spring and summer?  Do you have a big trip planned?  If you
have an activity or trip that you have been putting off for awhile, waiting for
the right time to take it, wait no more.  Make the plans and make it happen.
No one knows what the future will hold, so don’t get caught regretting never
hiking that trail or paddling that river.  If you are looking for some company
on this outing, I can guarantee that there is someone in the club who would
be willing to go with you.  So please consider posting your trip on the club’s

Roaring Branch Trail up to High Butte, March 19th, 2011

Vic Hasler reporting

Located north of Big Stone Gap, VA, the Roaring Branch Trail is within the Jefferson National Forest. This hike ended up being 8 miles round trip with ~1400 ft elevation change requiring six and half hours to complete. The trail starts at the cascades (see photo), proceeds up the lush valley to the ridgeline, which is followed to the High Butte overlook. There are multiple stream crossings – mostly rock hopping, but one did end up needing to be waded. Blowdowns from the winter 2009 storms in the first 1.5 miles have been cleared by volunteers (per Forest Service ranger). The mid section, still along the creek, had not yet been maintained to remove several small tree falls plus trim back the rhododendron growth, thus required a few detours and lots of hand clipping. The upper section, emerging onto the ridge crest, changed to more open forest. At the overlook, lunch and the sunny day were enjoyed while peering down into Powell Valley. The return trip, downhill and with a more open path, was quick. Not much active wildlife was seen, except for several species of birds and a small snake on a rock in the trail. Out for the nearly spring day were Vic, Clark, and Ben Hasler. For more details, visit the TEHCC Trail Wiki’s entry for Roaring Branch Trail.

Hard Core – Pond Mountain and Hughes Gap Relocations (2010)

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.

Continue reading “Hard Core – Pond Mountain and Hughes Gap Relocations (2010)”

Hard Core – Big Laurel Branch Wilderness and Grassy Ridge Relocations (2009)

The ninth annual Damascus Hard Core, held Sunday, May 17, and Monday, May 18, is now history. And it was a very exciting event! We hoped the Saturday night rains would clear sufficiently by mid-morning Sunday, and they did. Monday was a beautiful blue-sky day. Every year, people come to socialize and work at this event, and this year, they found plenty of both. Fortunately, no serious injuries occurred, even with all the rock work. 139 people, including 29 club members and guests from ATC and TVA, plus 110 hikers worked 2282 hours to make this two-day event a tremendous success. We built 4500 feet of very difficult sidehill relocations in these two days. This exceeds our record of 3800 feet built in 2008; and it is by far the most difficult trail overall that we have built with Hard Core. Continue reading “Hard Core – Big Laurel Branch Wilderness and Grassy Ridge Relocations (2009)”

Hard Core – Cherry Gap Relocation (2007)

For the seventh annual Damascus Hard Core on Sunday, May 20, and Monday, May 21, the hikers and club members exceeded expectations. One hundred and twenty people, including 26 club members and 94 hikers, volunteered 1781 hours to make this traditional event very successful. On Sunday, 88 enthusiastic hikers and 24 club members worked. On Monday there were 77 hikers and 16 club members. Continue reading “Hard Core – Cherry Gap Relocation (2007)”

Hard Core – Mountaineer Falls Shelter Construction (2006)

Everyone participating in the sixth annual Damascus Hard Core on Sunday, May 21, and Monday, May 22, exceeded expectations again. The first expectation exceeded was the number of hikers that showed up. Would you believe 143 hikers gave their time to help this year? In addition, 28 TEHCC members and affiliates also helped to pull off this major event. These 171 people donated 2209 hours of volunteer time to the Appalachian Trail. A major portion of work was on and around the new shelter about 1.5 miles south of Walnut Mountain Road. A secondary project was trail relocations near Low Gap on Unaka Mountain. Continue reading “Hard Core – Mountaineer Falls Shelter Construction (2006)”