Recent AT Maintenance

Below is submitted maintenance activities for the last 6 weeks. Please note that trail conditions can change quickly. Or view maintenance by section.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/26/2020
Purpose: Hang RR crossing sign and cut back dog-hobble/rhododendron
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Chestoa parking lot was free of litter with just one overnight vehicle. First task at sunrise was to hang the replacement northbound metal railroad crossing warning sign that Steve Perri had created. Then relocated to outfitter parking lot to start by brushing in a shortcut parallel to the blue blaze trail. While hearing the Nolichucky River churn due to the recent rainfall, I quickly walked to observe the trail repair of a gouged hole back in June was successful plus three stepover blowdowns between the first and second bridges. Humidity this morning was nearly 100% as everything, including this maintainer, was damp. Started lopping rhododendron and used a swing blade on the dog-hobble and stinging nettle as steadily worked NOBO. (Last time this part of the section was heavily cut was June 2018.) Did see the reported 30" hemlock just under a mile from the outfitter. I opened a temporary bypass over the upper end as the blowdown was difficult to get around. Continue removing growth until reached the bottom of the switchback which was the planned stopping point for this day. Saw just one SOBO backpacker and a mother/daughter pair walking a dog on the trail. Driving out, I noticed ten vehicles parked at the Chestoa trailhead plus another ten along the road across from the hostel.

Reporting: Elzear Lemieux
Date: 09/21/2020
Purpose: AT Maintenance
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Elzear Lemieux
Emily Lemieux
Eric Fritz
Summary: Hiked trail and inspected
Weed-Eated several sections of the trail.
Cut back vegetation along the trail.
Water sources were flowing

Reporting: Joe Morris
Date: 09/23/2020
Purpose: Blowdown removal and clean water bars
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Joe Morris
Summary: Cleaned water bars and removed two nuisance blowdowns near Greasey Creek Gap.

Reporting: TONY MESSINA
Date: 09/21/2020
Purpose: Blowdowns
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Tony & Renee Messina
Summary: We shuttled cars and cleared blowdowns from Cloudland to Hughes Gap in response to reports from Mike Watts via Carl. A couple of the blowdowns were complex 'rats nests' of relatively small diameter treetops. All in all we cleared about a dozen logs from the trail. There remain several tall and large 'leaners' that may fall one of these days but are not worth addressing at this time. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the mountain....a little nippy, in the 40's at Carver's Gap this morning....but very refreshing.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 09/16/2020
Purpose: measure section length
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Distance with a measuring wheel from middle of Temple Hill Gap to edge of pavement at Unaka Springs Rd - 20, 358 ft (3.856 mi)
Distance to middle of Nolichucky Bridge - 20,776 ft (3.935 mi)
Distance from middle of Nolichucky Bridge to north edge of pavement in Chestoa - 361 ft
Saw 3 day hikers and 3 section hikers breaking camp at south end of Temple Ridge. Beautiful early fall day.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/19/2020
Purpose: Third Saturday Trail Maintenance – cut rhododendron growth
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Mike Casper
Carl Fritz
Vic Hasler
Summary: Carl prepared for this work outing by repairing loppers, retrieving loppers from another maintainer, and getting paint from Lowe's.

Vic arrived early to break up the fire ring too close to the trail path at the second campsite south of Indian Grave Gap. The rocks and log seats were dispersed into the forest. Trash was removed from the ash mound which was then raked to spread out. A few broken trees were lopped from along the A.T. A small amount of trash was picked up from the Indian Grave Gap parking area.

For Mike, this work trip was his second with the club. For his prior effort on Sept 10th, Carl presented him with our recognition patch for first time maintainers.

Due to multiple reasons (illness, vehicle problems, other schedule conflicts), the original eight volunteers became a crew of three which shifted focus to access the A.T. by a shortcut to drop 1.5 miles at both ends of the trip. While the first chilly morning of the Fall season, clothing layers were being shed at the spring as the sidehill path was sheltered from the cool breeze. The crew continued to Curley Maple Gap shelter to start at the far end of the maintenance section. The graffiti board was given two coats of an oil-based white paint. The mouse-eaten shelter log was replaced. Broom and shovel were observed to be present. The previously reported tree limb had already been removed from the shelter roof and the broken rafter straightened. Rough measurements were taken to return with a supporting brace to attach.

The club’s battery-powered hedge trimmer was tested on rhododendrons for the first time. It quickly sliced through up to 0.5” branches with Carl as the fastest operator moving along the A.T. Mike and Vic lopped the larger growth to open the uphill side. The trimmer battery life was not specifically measured, but two rechargeable batteries lasted roughly 3.5-4 hours total in this service. A good application for the trimmer which we did not quite reach is a section of thick azaleas, thus recommend returning sometime soon to work more on this maintenance section, including the less than 0.5-mile section south of the spring.

Reporting: Joel Zabel
Date: 09/19/2020
Purpose: cut blowdowns, retrieve trash
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Ed Brading
Denny Samuel
Marianne Huff
Joy Zabel
Joel Zabel
Summary: Cut 3 blowdowns with hand saws; largest was 12"+ dia. Carried out 2 dirty, soggy, cheap sleeping bags that were abandoned on the top of Unaka Mtn. Checked shelter.

Reporting: Joe Morris
Date: 09/18/2020
Purpose: Blowdown removal
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Joe Morris
Summary: I removed two blowdowns about one and a half miles south of the Hampton blue blaze and one other on the blue blaze approach

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 09/15/2020
Purpose: clear trail
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick
Summary: Weed Whacked trail for the last time this year. I believe it grew another foot plus since I was here just a few weeks ago. Ended up cutting some of what I did last time. Found a few minor blowdowns and cleared them. Cut back rhododendron. Met 6 section hikers.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 09/14/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: Cut and removed a very hard locust tree that fell across the trail. Also cut back more Rhododendren's and thorny weeds.

Reporting: Saylor Fox
Date: 09/04/2020
Purpose: Clear water diversions
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Saylor Fox
Summary: Cleaned water diversions.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/12/2020
Purpose: Lop uphill side of trail
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Early drive to Indian Grave Gap to arrive before sunrise. Picked up trash around the parking area to allow morning twilight to appear. Took a swing blade to the growth around the steps up the SB trail, then returned tool to the truck. Wanting to inspect the path for next weekend's Third Saturday outing and work further down the trail, I set a one-hour alarm on phone. I'm a slow hiker as only traveled around 2.5 miles, but decided uphill growth was sufficiently thick to begin lopping. Removed rhododendron and briers to just short of the bend of the spring around the corner when my hard stop time was reached. During the beautiful morning with a nice breeze, two NB thru-hikers passed by. One (Stumpy) shared there was trash at Curley Maple Gap shelter. A SB day hiker with dog on leash came along and so I gave him a grocery bag with request to pick up what he could. Everything was removed which was discarded clothing. My return trip was even slower as I had to lop any briers and pines discovered. Will need to arrange yet another visit, maybe from other direction, to perform trail maintenance closer to the shelter.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/10/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Michael Casper, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick
Summary: We installed a post with blazes just south of Indian Grave Gap. We did a lot of rehab adding rock and locust steps, locust side logs with back fill, locust water diversions, and rock water diversions. Also, we removed a lot of old stumps that were in the trail. It was a warm day and needless to say everyone was soaked from perspiration. But we will return again.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 09/08/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: Starting at Wilbur Dam Road, we cleaned off the steps and cut back rhodendron bushes. We only made it to the top of the Rocky crest because there were many thorny weeds and Rhododendren bushes to cut back.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 09/07/2020
Purpose: Remove tree
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Pat Loven
Carl Fritz
Summary: Carl and I went back to Canute Field today to remove a large blowdown blocking the trail on the northern edge of the field. With Carl’s expertise and after many, many cuts we were able to clear the trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/03/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Carl Fritz, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Kevin Sedgwick
Summary: Bob and Carl retrieved two truck loads of locust logs from our stash at Watauga Work Center. It took longer than expected and we took a detour so we were 45 minutes late getting to rendezvous. They liked the paid time without having to work. But everyone jumped in to start stashing logs at various places from Indian Grave Gap to Unaka Mtn. This crew actually was able to do our work with just rocks today. We added three water diversions, some rock pavers and about nine rock steps with a lot of rubble.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/03/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: John Beaudet, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Bob Peoples
Summary: This crew installed 4 locust steps in first switchback above the FS230 switchback. Some then came down and helped second crew working further south. This completes most of the major planned rehab on this section.

Reporting: Michael Watts
Date: 09/02/2020
Purpose: Remove blowdowns
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Rick Lott
Kevin Sedgewick
Mike Watts
Summary: Removed reported blowdown south of former Apple House shelter and cleared smaller tangle south of highway. Also removed two blowdowns a short distance north of 19E.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/27/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: John Beaudet, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples
Summary: We continued to add rock water diversions and have that generally completed in this area. One switchback could benefit from a half dozen steps and that will be a future trip. We only saw four day hikers.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 08/26/2020
Purpose: Weeding
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: It was a hot day for the continuation of cutting back vegetation from a previous trip. I was able to hit about a 3/4 mile stretch before the swing blade broke.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 08/26/2020
Purpose: Weed Whack
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Gloria Shuttled me around today. Continued cutting weeds, rose and ect. Cleaned out water bars.

Reporting: James Foster
Date: 08/26/2020
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: John Tomko, James Foster
Summary: A good day cleaning water bars and removing 6 small to medium blowdowns. The trail is in good shape with no obstruction.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 08/25/2020
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Pat Loven
Summary: Worked the top portion of this section today. Cut back vegetation, sawed a number of trees ( mostly dead ) that had fallen onto trail. Vegetation was very heavy in a couple of areas opened up by forest fires a few years back . Also dismantled one campsite.
I did find a large blowdown a few yards north of Canute’s that was too big for me to tackle. Was able to cut a temporary bypass until tree is removed.
Also cut one tree that was blocking the Jeep road going up the mountain.

Reporting: Michael Watts
Date: 08/25/2020
Purpose: Cut weeds
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Michael Watts
Summary: Cut weeds close to 19E

Reporting: Richard Ramsey
Date: 08/22/2020
Purpose: Assessment of condition
Section: 14a: Doll Flats to Bradley Gap
People: Richard Ramsey
Summary: Just assessing condition of trail. There is a 14" blow down at Apple House that need removed. The balds are about knee high. I don’t plan on cutting back the grass and encroaching vegetation. I feel that it only encourages people to walk out of the rut and widen the trail.
If this is not consistent with the trail maintenance practices please let me know.
Found a tent partly blown down just below the plaque on Hump mountain with sleeping pads and a few other items. I took it down and gathered it up to keep it from killing vegetation. Will return with
a large pack and carry it out next week, if it is still there.

Reporting: Elzear Lemieux
Date: 08/23/2020
Purpose: AT Maintenance
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Elzear Lemieux
Emily Lemieux
Summary: Hiked section for inspection
Removed a 9" Blowdown and cut back some vegetation

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/21/2020
Purpose: Inspect trail and shelter
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Jen Barnhardt, Carl Fritz
Summary: Jen Barnhardt, the new Ranger for Appalachian Ranger District, and I visited the Overmountain Shelter on a rainy day. Recent rains have obviously washed the roads more. Jen requested this site visit. Afterwards I walked the AT to Buckeye Gap to check weed growth which was not much.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/20/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: John Beaudet, Carl Fritz, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart
Summary: Just south of Unaka Mountain peak the trail is eroding. We installed 11 rock water diversions and some rock steps. We only saw one hiker.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 08/18/2020
Purpose: paint graffiti board
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: Walked the section for routine check (no blowdowns), checked the shelter, swept it & picked up a small bag of trash, kilz painted the graffiti board, checked the spring, which is running very well, and left a new shelter register.