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: Scotty Bowman
Date: 04/07/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: It was a brisk day as I hiked in to check Vandeventer shelter. Along the way I cut back greenbriar and Rhododendron from encroaching on trail, cleaned out the 2 water bars located around 2.5 miles from Wilbur Dam Rd. All springs are flowing pretty good. At the shelter there is no new graffiti and the graffiti board is working great. I did pick up a little bit of trash around the shelter (not much). I talked with around 15 hikers that day.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/25/2017
Purpose: Flag trail relocations
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Carl Fritz, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart
Summary: Hikers by the dozens, fog all day, beautiful greening hillsides with numerous wild flowers, and muddy trail were all abundant today. We feel pretty good about five flagged long relocations to take out the steepest areas. There is only one switchback and it is doubtful that anyone will cut it but it may take twenty steps to install it. Getting resources here will be a problem.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 04/25/2017
Purpose: Manufacture wedges for hand saws
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth
Summary: The Silky and other hand saws create a narrow kerf that standard plastic wedges do not fit into. To make the hand saws more effective, wedges were made with narrower tips to fit these kerfs.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 04/25/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Though misty most all day, it was a great day to walk the section. Cleared several blowdowns, picked up trash and cleaned a number of water diversions after the reacent rains. Thru hikers were coming by the dozen along with one SOBO. The newly installed graffiti board at Double Springs Shelter has already been put to use.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 04/25/2017
Purpose: Mow Trail
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: We mowed about half of the Trail across the Osborne Farm. Did not finish due to mower problems. Grass was tall and very wet. We plan to return on Thursday and complete the mowing at the Osborne farm and the Over Mountain Shelter.
The grass on the trail needs to be sprayed as soon as possible. 2 Trees are reported down between Vandeventer Shelter and Iron Mtn Shelter. 19 Hikers passed while we were mowing.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 04/20/2017
Purpose: A.T. Spring Partnership
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: SAWS: Bill Hodge, Katie Currier
ATC: Morgan Summerville, Matt Drury
USFS App. RD: Kevin Knesek, Cleve Fox
USFS Unaka RD: Leslie Morgan, Cheryl Summers
USFS Watauga RD: Keith Kelley, Chas Ingle
TEHCC: Vic Hasler, Kim Peters, Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, Paul Benfield, Dan Firth, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart, Eric Middlemas
Summary: After being delayed – twice, the Spring A.T. Partnership gathered a few key organizations to ensure our alignment on current issues facing the Trail and the forest through which it passes. This trip report is a summary. If you need further details, please contact someone who attended.
SAWS recently relocated their office to 225 East Chestnut in Asheville. Another relocation is at Turkey Pen Gap to be opened this coming weekend during training hitch for crew leaders. SAWS is the designated distributor of a $250K grant from the Wilderness Alliance, which is available to all types of trails (hiking, biking, etc.) to immediately support planned improvements. Deadline for submission is June 2nd, but the work and spending must be completed by end of 2017.
Keith Kelley shared that area is still dry with at least two forest fires caused by campfires.
USFS Appalachian RD has purchased a pull mulcher for shrubs to help with open area management. NEPA paperwork for Deep Gap (Unaka Mtn) relocation must be regenerated as prior submission cannot be found. Permission was given, with two weeks’ notice, to haul items along the old A.T. route to repair the Stan Murray Shelter before Oct 15th fire season. USFS engineers have looked at the structural concern for Overmountain Shelter, and believe it can be addressed while giving OK for normal use. The report and drawings will be forwarded to TEHCC.
USFS Watauga RD is glad that Chad Ingle (from Land Between the Lakes NRA, KY) is on board for the summer. Scotty Bowman is also employed by the district as ranger in wilderness areas. A dead pine tree at Double Springs Shelter was promptly removed by forest service staff. A problem with posted advertising along the A.T. was addressed, as was an announced organized event at Osborne Farm in mid-May.
USFS Unaka RD currently does not have a trail technician, so is arranged with another organization to have a leader with three crew over six months for deployment as pairs or full set to work across the district. They will have a booth at the Great Outdoors festival in Erwin on May 6th. A pair of temporary trapping grids are being set up to enable better counts for gypsy moth and bears.
TEHCC shared about the “graffiti boards” being tested at a few shelters with what appears to be success in mitigating the problem; however, not yet through a whole thru-hiker season. The bridge at Shook Branch was recently replaced, which is good now the lake level has been raised. Equivalent bridge replacement at Wilder Mine (near US19E) is slated for mid-summer execution with lumber already been cut and supplies purchased using 2016 TN tag grant. Roan Mountain, TN will have an April 24th designation event as an A.T. Community, then a May 6th celebration. TEHCC raised a question regarding the designated status of the Grindstaff monument. USFS Watauga RD will check their records, then we’ll continue the conversation at the Fall meeting. The maintenance approach of several USFS trails which intersect the A.T. were discussed, with Temple Hill Gap (#524) and Granny Lewis (#108) not being actively maintained. Holston Mtn (USFS #44) has mixed report on whether in good condition. Konnarock Crew should finish up relocations for Backbone Rock Trail (USFS #53) this year, then the club will not be employing this group until 2020 for Weedy Gap. Jess Schaner will begin as the 2017 Roan Naturalist on May 18th.
ATC stated that further staff changes are underway as Amanda Wheelock and Sean Ogle are leaving to pursue other opportunities. APPA Capital Plan need to be update by early June. Tag grants were approved for repair/painting shelters and large chainsaw plus the request by SAHC for long-term artwork at the Carvers Gap kiosk. Currently TN program is providing $15K/year in grants. The 2012 inventory of campsites in the Roan highlands along the A.T. will be updated this year with assistance by Dan Firth, who is also working on rare plant monitoring. For the Emerald Ash Borer invasive species, Dan Firth and Bill Tindall have agreed to identify ash tree stands along the Trail for treatment. (FYI, Bill Tindall says EAB has been seen in Church Hill, TN.) Jason Zink would like feedback on ATCAMP app, which can allow hikers to indicate where they will be staying along the Trail.
Next meeting is proposed to be Wednesday, October 4th at Watauga Ranger Station in Unicoi, TN. SAWS has a known conflict.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/22/2017
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Paul Benfield, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Gerald Scott, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, ASU Trail: Lawson Osteen, Austin Babb, Brian Everette, Beau Clark
Summary: Four enthusiastic ASU Trail Crew members joined us to rehab some wet areas between Walnut Mt. Rd. and Elk River. With the rain this week we thought we could find some problems and we made significant progress in improving them. We cleaned most water diversions. On old road we improved some waterbars by adding new logs. Several drainages were redug to allow water to drain. Locust logs were added to turnpike and rocks were placed for step overs. A couple of areas were rehabbed that were sloughing. One required some rock cribbing. Fortunately, we only took one shower today. Gerald placed the new shelter sign. We saw almost 40 hikers.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 04/09/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Summary: Removed a moderate amount of trash from the barn, including a half dozen disposable diapers dumped behind the shelter. Cleaned out all waterbars. Removed a minor amount of blowdowns (mostly limbs). Lots of NOBOS & section hikers out. All springs are running well.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 04/18/2017
Purpose: Clear blowdowns
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
John Beaudet
Summary: Cut up and removed large blowdown near Temple Hill Gap.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 04/15/2017
Purpose: Paint Shelter
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Lotta Murray, Ken Murray, Jeffrey Richards, Carl Fritz, Phyllis Cairnes, Stacy LaBare, Lowell Toof, Kat Johnson, Kim Peters, Jim Floyd, "Georgia Peach" (m)
Summary: April 3rd Saturday - Hiking with Tools
What a great turnout we had on a beautiful day for this 3rd Saturday trip! The goal for the day was to clean and paint Double Springs Shelter, install a graffiti board and seal the leaking roof. With so many hands, this was accomplished in record time. We even had additional help when a hiker "Georgia Peach" stopped and offered his help for a few hours.
Many thanks to Lotta Murray for preparing the graffiti board as well as carrying it in and to Ken Murray for installing it. This marvelous invention of Lotta's has now been installed in five of our newly painted shelters and all evidence suggests that it helps reduce the amount of graffiti on walls.

Reporting: Kenneth buchanan
Date: 04/14/2017
Purpose: Refresh blazes, inspect shelter
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Ken Buchanan
Laura Jack
Summary: Good intentions and opportunity came together on a fine Spring day. Persuaded our daughter to go along and repaint the blazes on this section. A bit surprised to note weeds and grass are not yet a problem. Did encounter one blow down which is an easy step over.
Quite a few hikers one wanted a picture of himself painting a blaze.
A fun outing.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/13/2017
Purpose: Trail Rehab
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We cleaned out water source at Moreland Gap shelter. We removed a blowdown that had already been cut closer to Canute Place. We rehabbed a number of small areas where trail was sloughing. Either we redug the bench or cribbed and back filled. Tim repainted graffiti board with a couple of coats and repainted some of blazes. We fixed one small stream crossing by redoing stepping stones. Shelter still looks good and has no graffiti. Surprisingly, we only saw four hikers today.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 04/14/2017
Purpose: paint blazes
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Awesome sunny day. We were passed by 27 thru hikers and 4 section hikers. Painted blazes. Removed one campsite. Cut out a few minor blowdowns . A couple larger ones will require return trip with a chain saw. Continued cutting back multiflora rose. Continued pulling down limbs across where ATV access trail

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 04/09/2017
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Craig Haire
Summary: There was a particularly nasty obstruction just north of Doll Flats. It had created a detour, which I blocked with cleared branches. All is now cleared except for 3 easy step-overs, too large for a hand saw, within a mile of 19E.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 04/08/2017
Purpose: clearing trail obstruction
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Used a hand saw to remove branches hanging down into the trail. There remains only one large tree, easy to step over, about a mile north of Stan Murray Shelter. Between Stan Murray and Overmountain Shelter there were fresh ATV tracks at various places and saplings at trail's edge cut flush to the ground. I later learned a crew from NC was called in to rescue an injured girl in a large hiking group. She had been hauled to the Stan Murray Shelter in a makeshift litter.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 04/08/2017
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Cut and removed large branches blown into the trail from recent storm, using hand saw. Cold and windy day.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 04/08/2017
Purpose: Inspect and maintain trail section
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Adam Baird
Dean Baird
Jennifer Baird
Summary: We picked up and removed a full bag of trash. Replaced (again) some rocks that were missing from the area of heavy locust and rock cribbing where rock wall is very close to Laurel Fork Creek just before where BB trail meets the AT.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 04/08/2017
Purpose: Inspect and maintain trail section
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: Adam Baird
Dean Baird
Jennifer Baird
Summary: We removed tree branches on the trail; there were no major blowdowns. Brushed in several spots where the old trail (that went straight up Pond Mountain) is either still or again being used by hikers because it is difficult to determine what the current trail course is. Inspected blazes and determined that several blazes need to be repainted and that some double blazing is needed at some of the areas that we brushed in. Will do painting on another trip since we did not have any paint on this trip. Checked the springs near top of Pond Mtn., which are clean and running well.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 04/08/2017
Purpose: Inspect and maintain trail section
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Adam Baird
Dean Baird
Jennifer Baird
Summary: Inspected trail for blowdowns and debris. Cleaned brush, limbs, etc. from trail. Removed large plastic container of trash that was located at the Shook Branch trailhead. Checked on condition of blazes.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 04/09/2017
Purpose: Section maintenance
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Andrew Ross-Sermons, Christopher Ross-Sermons, Joe DeLoach
Summary: First-timers Andrew and Christopher joined in a trip through snow to Cloudland. We cut about a half-dozen blowdowns, clipped brush, picked up trash in and around the shelter, and left a new shelter register. Hikers reported some larger trees down Trail south of Cloudland, it sounded like between Cloudland and Ash Gap.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 04/05/2017
Purpose: Repaint blazes and general maintenance
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: We finished painting the blazes and cleared 5 small blowdowns from the gap to the Shelter. We also put some finishing touches on the root ball hole that we repaired last week. There's one large blowdown about 1/4 mile north of the gap that will need a chainsaw to remove. We saw lots and lots of hikers looks like a busy year for our trail.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 04/04/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Summary: Trail is in good shape from Temple Hill Gap to Devils Creek Gap except for one large blowdown close to Temple Hill Gap

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 04/04/2017
Purpose: Walk thru/ maintenance
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Awesome day on trail. Ran into 8 thru hikers today. Gloria shuttled me. She walked in some but had to leave early. Broke apart 2 campsites. Cleaned out water diversions. Managed to cut out 1 major blow down with hand saw and Pulaski. Broke my new saw blade. luckily most of tree fell off of trail. Cleared some smaller blow downs. Continued my harassment of ATV folk by dragging downed limbs across where they access AT. It seems to work in spots. Got a jump by cutting back any new growth on invasive rose and briars. Fixed spot where small dead pine fell pulling apart tread way. Repleted with rocks the best I could in location

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 03/29/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: There are 2 blow downs on this trail a short distance beyond the power lines. We were able to clean most of the 1st blow down closest to the power line. There is still a small tree hanging halfway in the trail. We couldn't cut it with our small saws and will have to return another day with better tools.

Going a short distance from the blow down I just described, is another bigger tree lying on the trail. Hikers are able to step over it. It's too big for us to cut and will require a chain saw.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 03/30/2017
Purpose: Repaint Blazes
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: We repainted the blazes to the Shelter and back. We also cut two small blowdowns and filled in a four foot hole in the trail that had been caused by a large rootball turning up. We met at least 20 hikers.

Reporting: Joe Morris
Date: 03/25/2017
Purpose: Blow down removal
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Joe Morris
Summary: Removed two blowdowns from the north side of Pond Mountain. Met several hikers. Great day to be out.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 03/24/2017
Purpose: shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Rolla Wade, Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: Today's mission was to paint over the shelter graffiti board with Kilz to give it a fresh surface for hikers use. I found it takes 3 coats to cover black Sharpie marks with at least 10 min. drying time between coats. In addition to painting we picked up trash and dismantled 2 fire rings, one which was under the eve of the shelter. Someone continues to leave and replace 2 paper-back-sized religious books which I carry out each time. We talked with a thru-hiker who stopped for lunch at the shelter and chatted with a slew of others trekking toward Damascus. One, Crazy Tree, (53, Gainesville, GA) said "hi" and then asked who maintains this section? He said it was in terrific shape! He even wanted me to tell a bit about our club on his YouTube video. So, maintainers, your work is appreciated! The trail between Low Gap and Abingdon Gap shelter was truly in excellent condition: blowdowns removed, water bars created and cleaned, greenbriar cut back....ready for the spring crowd!

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 03/24/2017
Purpose: Blaze trail.
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Eric Middlemas
Summary: Painted blazes in the north and south directions from Iron Mtn Gap to Cherry Gap Shelter. Also, refreshed the blue blazes on the trail to the springs behind the shelter. Removed one small blow down from the trail near the crest of Piney Ball. Replaced shelter log book.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 03/24/2017
Purpose: First aid/CPR recertification
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Pat Loven
Summary: On line and class room training for Red Cross First Aid/CPR recertification as required for chain saw operation.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 03/23/2017
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery and Bob Peoples
Summary: Graveled the Southern approach to the bridge and the north side up to the parking area. Cribbed and installed some larger rock for fill along the outside of the trail.

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 03/22/2017
Purpose: Trail maintenance documentation
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Eric Middlemas
Summary: Walked through this section to assess and document maintenance needs. Remove 1 small blowdown with a handsaw.

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 03/22/2017
Purpose: Maintenance survey and documentation
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Eric Middlemas
Summary: Walked through this section to assess and document maintenance needs. Made note of blowdowns and areas needing treadway rehabilitation. Removed 4 small blowdowns with a handsaw and removed trash (broken beer bottles) from the side of the trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/23/2017
Purpose: Trail Rehab
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: John Beaudet, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Keri Purvis "Geo" f, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We repaired some areas with sloughing trail by redigging or adding a side log. We added some steps, cleaned steps and built a couple of wet areas with rocks as a walking surface. This part of section is in good shape. We were privileged to have Keri join us today. She through hiked last year and looked us up on the web site.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 03/23/2017
Purpose: Clear blowdowns
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Ken Buchanan, Kim Peters
Summary: After finishing up section 12a, Ken and I drove around to Campbell Hollow Rd to see if we could remove the reported blowdown that was about 1 mile north without a chainsaw. It turned out that we could! Using the Katanaboy Silky saw and a sharp pulaski, we were able to remove the 14" blowdown as well as another 10" blowdown.
We also cleaned out steps on the way back out.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 03/23/2017
Purpose: Spring walk-thru
Section: 12a: Bitter End to Walnut Mountain Road
People: Ken Buchanan, Kim Peters
Summary: After getting a shuttle from Bitter End to Walnut Mt. Rd from the Thursday crew, Ken and I walked back north towards Bitter End. The first mile north of Walnut Mt. Rd. is absolutely clean. It appears as if the Forest Service has been in with leaf blowers prepping the trail to serve as a fire brake. We lopped back laurel and removed a few stumps from the trail but little more was needed. In the last two miles, we did more of the same but removed a few small blowdowns and cleaned out water diversions and steps as well. This section is in good shape except the blazes need to be repainted.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 03/23/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Danny Harper
Dennis Dugan
Pat Loven
Summary: Planned to drive up jeep road on south side of White Rock Mountain and check southern portion of this section. However, USFS gate at the bottom of the mountain was locked. Not sure why as seasonal gates were scheduled to be opened on March 17.
We then drove to Dennis Cove and worked the northern end of this section. Removed some minor trail obstacles and one overhanging tree. Trail is in good shape. We'll return when the gate is open to check the southern end. Met seven hikers heading north.
Special thanks to Shadow and Country Mouse for some wonderful Trail Magic at the Dennis Cove parking area.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 03/20/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Cleared numerous small blowdowns from the trail and cleaned out fire rings at the several campsites.

Met two thru hikers and three section hikers.

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 03/19/2017
Purpose: Remove blowdowns and debris.
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Eric Middlemas
Judy Middlemas
Summary: Removed a total of 7 blow downsfrom Iron Mtn Gap to a location about 1/4 mile south of Cherry Gap Shelter. Two of the blowdowns were large and caused hikers to side track from the trail in order to avoid them. These blow downs were difficult and time consuming to remove, even with a chainsaw. Also removed much debris from the trail, lopped brush, checked the shelter, and removed trash. Did not check the springs but both were running with good flow several weeks before. We met about 10 through-hikers along the way. There is extensive side-hill trail erosion along this section of the trail, especially at about 1-1.5 miles south of Iron Mtn Gap and immediately south of the crest of Piney Ball. These areas are badly in need of rehabilitation. The trail was muddy from recent rain and was sometimes difficult to walk on, especially with a full backpack.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 03/18/2017
Purpose: Repair shelter picnic table
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler, Troop 48: Finn and Kyla Hounshell, Easton Keeton, Aiden and Heather McNabb
Summary: Second part of our two section trip report. The group reached Curley Maple Gap shelter at 1pm for a late lunch, then reattached the bench seats to the picnic table using a cordless drill and 3” screws. The table is now solid, but the screw points just penetrate the other side of the boards, so next trip will need to bring a metal file to remove the tips. The existing logbook was missing both cardboard covers, but had plenty of clean pages. Nevertheless, we left another notebook to cover the main thru-hiker wave into the Fall.

The significant rain during the prior night melted snow from earlier in the week to turn Jones Branch into a vigorous cascade. Unfortunately, the trail path was also a runoff stream up to 6 inches in places. (Water bars would be useful if could figure out where to direct the flow.) One normally easy side stream rock hop again required removal of boots to wade the icy shin-deep water.

Since we were behind our trip plan, the only other task accomplished was to employ a pair of swing blades to attack some dog-hobble from narrowing the trail path north of the third bridge to the switchback. There is one telephone pole sized blowdown in the lowlands which is being walked around.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 03/18/2017
Purpose: Lop Rhododendron on way to shelter
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Vic Hasler, Troop 48: Finn and Kyla Hounshell, Easton Keeton, Aiden and Heather McNabb
Summary: First part of a two section trip report. Our original plan was to drop off a shuttle vehicle at the outfitters on the Nolichucky, but the recent still-drizzling storm had dumped rain – and snow melt – into the river so that the 0.8 KCFM flow earlier in the week was 7 KCFM and rising. (It later peaked at 12 KCFM or 5 ft. higher as measured at the USGS gauge downstream.) Their recommendation was to stage the drop-off vehicle at the Chestoa highway bridge, thus adding 1.3 miles to our planned maintenance trip. Not wanting to strand a family SUV, the group followed the advice.

The focus of our trip on this day was to repair the picnic table at Curley Maple Gap shelter, but we employed four sets of loppers to trim some of the uphill rhododendron as we passed through the trail section to the north. The drizzle stopped after the first mile and the clouds began parting during the second to reveal sunshine, so we shed clothing layers as temperature rose towards upper 50sF. Our main challenge was that every normally-easy runoff crossing was a rapidly flowing cascade. One required the boots to come off to wade across the shin-high ice-cold water.

This trail section is in great condition. A suggestion is to consider repainting the blazes, primarily at the switchback ends which may have faint trails wandering to overlooks.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 03/18/2017
Purpose: Spring walkthrough
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Lowell Toof, Colton Duckworth, Terry Oldfield, Nicole Hardin, Kim Peters
Summary: What a great first 3rd Saturday - Hiking with Tools trip for 2017!
Despite the poor weather forecast, four hardy volunteers showed up to work on the trail between Hughes Gap and Ash Gap. We did have all kinds of weather on this trip. We started out in fog and misty rain, then had sun and then wind, then clouds and wind and finally hail and wind as we worked our way up and down the mountain. We cleared about 10 blowdowns of various sizes, some easy step overs, some partially blocking the trail and a few completely blocking the trail. All the steps and water diversions were also cleaned out and briars and other vegetation cut back. We left one blowdown about 1 mile north of Hughes Gap which is the stump end of a 40" tree the end of which is about a foot into the trail. It can be walked around, but would be nice to be removed.
Many thanks to the hardworking crew including first timer, Colton Duckworth for making this such a successful trip. This section of trail is now in good shape.