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: Kayla
Date: 11/19/2017
Purpose: General Maintenance
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Kayla Carter
Summary: I did a sweep of my section to winterize it. The communication pole on Campbell Hollow side that was previously downed has been fixed!

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/07/2017
Purpose: Cherry Gap Shelter Design
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples
Summary: We attended the Bartleby Open House by Elizabethton High School. In 2016 they placed among 13 national winners in the XQ Super School Project. They received the Student Leadership Award and $200,000 to develop an innovative educational model that could be successful in public schools nationally. Part of the program is to have some selected students working on real projects of their selection within the community. One of those projects is designing a potential replacement shelter for Cherry Gap Shelter. The two students who will be working on that are currently working on Tweetsie Trail cleanup and beautification.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/06/2017
Purpose: Determine log needs
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz
Summary: We estimated the additional locust log needs for steps and water diversions in the two end areas that were graveled about 14 years ago. We did clear an eight inch blowdown near Cloudland. With the cooler temperatures and strong winds, we saw no other hikers.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/04/2017
Purpose: Rehab gravel trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Bettye Boone, Richard Carter, Saylor Fox, Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples
Summary: We continued to gather washed gravel off old trail. We also added
more water diversions close to TN-143. We built sumps at many water diversions so hopefully they will catch much of gravel when it is washed off.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 12/04/2017
Purpose: Blow down removal and Trail assessment
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: Today was a the perfect day to go out and do some maintenance. A little bit chilly at first but then it warmed up. I chatted with a previous thru-hiker (2016) who was meeting up with two others that are South bounders. On the way out I met a couple who were out for the day and hiked to Vandeventer and back out.

I removed a total of 5 blow downs between Wilbur Dam Rd and spring 3.3 miles traveling trail North. Along the way I cleaned out 2 water bars. I also carried out an abandoned tent, sleeping pad and bag of wet rope that someone had tossed off the side of the trail.

The spring did have a couple of small pools of water.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 12/03/2017
Purpose: Remove graffiti from rock face
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: A follow-up visit to the October 4th trip report was made to further remove “M+L” graffiti located roughly half mile north of the Chestoa bridge parking. The prior attempt used Goof Off hydrocarbon spray with 2/3rds success. Today more Goof Off was applied, then full-strength Awesome cleaner dribbled onto the rock face. A plastic bristle brush and water from a spray bottle were also employed to continue eliminating the graffiti. After another hour’s effort, the blue coloring is very faded, but will require normal weathering of the sandstone surface to finish the job.
Otherwise, I pulled a six-inch blowdown off the trail, while leaving two 16+ inch rotted pines – one between the parking and railroad, while the other is at the base of the incline to the overlook for Unaka Springs trestle. A chainsaw will make short work of these two, but the Katanaboy saw could break them up to roll off the trail.
Of the two yellow plastics warning signs hung at the railroad crossing in December 2014, only half of one remains.
Picked up one bag of trash from the parking lot, including a black BSA neckerchief.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/30/2017
Purpose: TEHCC A.T. Committee
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Bob Peoples, Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, Jim Chambers, Paul Benfield, Steve Perri, Steve Wilson, Ted Mowery, Vic Hasler
Summary: The club’s A.T. Committee met to discuss several issues regarding upcoming projects and how we organize ourselves to best handle ongoing tasks. This report shares a few items.
TEHCC will submit requests for 2018 tag grant for painting three shelters, providing Hiker-Volunteer patches, and purchasing gravel fill for the trail section between Carvers Gap and Cloudland.
After two years, TEHCC will fully handoff the 2018 Hard Core event to VARO/MRATC.
Lack of available training slots is impacting our ability to have fully approved sawyers for field work. We’ll continue to highlight the gap to ATC/USFS partners, while also evaluating the path and conditions on having a certified trainer within the club. Discussion indicated that, if necessary, the club’s AT Committee would be willing to cover reasonable travel costs to attend appropriate sawyer training available further away – if recognized by our USFS partners.
Spreading out the maintenance coordinator duties has been a continuing conversation. The biggest opportunity is for arranging outings (location, participants, tools, and transportation). We need to make use of an ability to separate tasks by time of year, location, and partners to have better defined work packets to recruit leaders. Steve Perri will coordinate Konnarock Crew program – which is open for next couple of years, but needs to propose any projects seven years out. Ed Oliver will begin handling distribution of the first-time volunteer patches and keeping records. Several tasks can be completed by folks not regularly going out into the field. Since TEHCC has a surplus of digging tools, the AT committee agreed to supply the regular Thursday crew with own digging tools - thus the maintainer will be responsible for keeping them in sharp.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/29/2017
Purpose: Rehab gravel trail
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Ken Buchanan, Bob Peoples, George Thorpe
Summary: They recovered gravel from the October storm. The worst area was coming down the steps at TN 143. More work is needed.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/29/2017
Purpose: Rehab gravel trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter, Saylor Fox, Carl Fritz, Kim Peters
Summary: We continued working from Round Bald towards Engine Gap. We recovered gravel where we could, cleaned water diversions, removed some sod encroaching on the trail, and reworked some areas. We covered some of the most exposed geoweb with geotextile and pulled one large piece of geoweb. Most of the big rehab from October storm is completed from Carver's Gap to Engine Gap.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/24/2017
Purpose: Check Trail
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Ed Speer
Summary: Ed cleared small blowdowns and branches. There are still some minor blowdowns that are stepovers.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/23/2017
Purpose: Check Trail
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Ed Speer
Summary: Ed removed small blowdowns and branches. Recent winds have brought a few more minor ones down. Ed was very appreciative of this section of trail and claimed it to be the best trail in East Tennessee with the relocation and rehab.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/21/2017
Purpose: Check Trail
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Ed Speer
Summary: Ed removed minor blowdowns and branches. Obviously, there were some recent winds that brought down some trees. Most of problem blowdowns are in spring area. There is a top of poplar tree, a couple of wild cherry trees with a 12"er being about five foot high, and a three limb oak 4' high with largest limb being 12".

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/24/2017
Purpose: Rehab gravel trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Brian Carter, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples, Connie Squires, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We continued recovering gravel from Carver's Gap up Round Bald and halfway to Engine Gap. We also reworked water diversions where needed. And we added a lot of cribbing. Again we moved tons of gravel by bucket. We were not the only ones missing Black Friday shopping. The mountain was covered with hikers and dogs. Parking lots and along the road were overflowing with vehicles. But it was a beautiful day to be out.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 11/22/2017
Purpose: check section & place shelter plaque
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I hiked in from Carver's Gap & mounted a wooden plaque with Stan Murray's name on an overhead beam near the front of the shelter, picked up a small bag of trash from around the shelter, checked the spring, which is running well, and placed a new shelter register. On the return hike I cut 5 blowdowns of 3"-5" size, plus one treetop blowdown of multiple small limbs, picked up/removed several blowdowns of 2"-3" size, and cut back some encroaching bushes and briars.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 11/20/2017
Purpose: LL Bean Grant Evaluation
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Prepared and submitted evaluation report for 2017 LL Bean grant to purchase handheld saws.

Reporting: Ken Buchanan
Date: 11/18/2017
Purpose: Clear blowdown
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Ken Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Summary: Various people had told me about a blowdown blocking the blue trail to water source at shelter.
I finally took the hint, recruited a more or less willing worker and with sharp axe in hand walked the section today.
We crossed two step over blowdowns on the way to shelter .
The blue trail blowdown was white pine and cut like hot knife through butter. The blowdowns were dead Oak and not easy at all. However, we got em. Also cleaned some trash from fire ring at shelter. The log book is a bit ratty.
A fine day but no hikers to be seen.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 11/18/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: We walked half way up the trail cutting back a few thorny weeds and removing several small trees from the trail. A small stump sitting in the middle of the trail was also cut by us. There was very minimal trash on the trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/16/2017
Purpose: Rehab gravel trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, Saylor Fox, Pat Gagan
Summary: We continued to recover gravel and rehab trail from the late October storm. We completed up through forest and are approaching top of Round Bald. It was a brisk day with maximum temperature of 40 plus 20 mph winds. The chilly weather encouraged us to work and kept the number of pleasure hikers low. We reworked almost all water diversions and added more. And we hauled tons of gravel by bucket and wheel barrows.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/10/2017
Purpose: Remeasure trail distance
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Carl Fritz questioned the no change reported last month in the 0.8 mi. distance between TN91 and the stream listed in the Data Book. The TN-NC guidebook mentions two streams 100 yards apart on bog bridges, thus this gap can swing the results which are stated in 0.1 mi. increments.
I took the Friday afternoon as vacation to repeat the rolling wheel measurements, but to another specific milestone of the Grindstaff Monument at 3.3 miles from TN91. I was glad to have worn layers, including blaze orange, for the crisp hike as the sun settled on the horizon. The trail itself remains in great shape in this section.
The new measurements taken in both directions found the distance from TN91 centerline to the Grindstaff monument to be 3.4 mi. (1.2% difference in the two readings). Reviewing the data observes the shift to occur between crossing the USFS logging road at 0.5 mi. and the next series of bog bridges. This location is where the ASU students had worked on improving the A.T. back in 2015. The streams are measured as 0.80 mi. for the blue blaze and 0.86 mi. for the best stream flowing under the most southern bog bridge. The 0.1 mi. shift is then consistently seen in the subsequent milestones for the double white blaze turn at Iron Mtn crest through the monument.
The deadline for the 2018 Data Book submissions just passed, so this 0.1 mi. of increased A.T. distance will be reported for the following year’s edition.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 11/10/2017
Purpose: Hiker Grafitti Board
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Summary: Prepared and hung new graffiti board at the recently painted Stan Murray Shelter.

A beautiful (but cold) day to be out in the Roan Highlands. Many hikers headed to the barn.

Reporting: Kayla Carter
Date: 11/10/2017
Purpose: Post Season Sweep
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Kayla
Summary: URGENT! There’s a powerline across the trail rendering it impassible! I went in from Campbell Hollow Road and made it no further than maybe 100-200 feet, just past the conifers. The powerline is waist height above the ground. I did not want to risk crawling under it. A tree fell on the powerline and has it pinned dangerously low! I’ll send photos to Carl. It’s a fairly large tree with multiple branches mangled in the powerline. It is approximately five feet diameter. I suppose the electric department will need to be involved in this? I will find another day to go back to sweep the rest of the section and will now plan to only enter the section from Elk River Falls. There was a lot of noise out there today. Several dogs were wailing and I heard multiple gun shots. This rattled my nerves a bit too, so I just left upon finding the powerline.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/09/2017
Purpose: Repair trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe plus SAHC reps.: Michjelle Durr, Emily Adler, Saylor Fox, Bettye Boone, Pat Gagan
Summary: The volunteers including significant help from SAHC continued from last week to recover the trail from Carver's Gap to Round Bald. The heavy rain probably in category of 8 inches on October 23 washed the gravel trail as it never has in almost the twenty years it has existed. Much of gravel trail was washed clean of gravel. Some traveled 200 feet before being washed off trail as far as 30 feet. Thanks to the many volunteers with shovels, rakes, buckets and wheel barrows the trail is now looking reasonable up through the woods. We added more and larger water diversions. That repairs the worst of the damage. Another day of work towards the top of Round Bald should do the immediate job.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 11/08/2017
Purpose: Check reported down power lines
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Jim Chambers
Summary: Responded to reported downed power lines across the trail north of Campbell Hollow Rd. Upon arrival, it was determined that the downed lines are actually communication lines. Mountain Electric Co-Op in Roan Mountain confirmed that Centurylink was responsible for these lines, and they were called. Centurylink created a Work Order, and they will respond in the next 24 hours.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/06/2017
Purpose: Trail Clearing
Section: 2a: Backbone Rock Trail - Abingdon Gap Shelter
People: Ed Spear
Summary: Ed hiked from McQueen's Gap to Damascus and camped out. He cleared small branches and blowdowns. Trail is in good shape and no blowdowns are blocking hikers. Almost all are step overs except for one leaner. All are less than 18". There are two between McQueen's Gap and Abingdon Gap Shelter. There is one just north of shelter. Greater than 2 miles north of shelter there are 12 blowdowns until Backbone Rock Trail. Between Backbone Rock Trail and state line are 4 more blowdowns.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 11/06/2017
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Gloria shuttled me and helped with screen on northern bog bridge. We nailed it back down best we could. Metal is rusting out. Rehabbed 30 feet of trail. Cut back vegetation. Cleaned out 16 step/water bars. Continued my assault on keeping ATV off trail. Dragged as much brush as I could across their entrance points. Did not notice much ATV traffic. Several small blow downs in lower part of section. Using hand saw and pulaski was able to remove them. There are 4 10"-20" blow downs that fell from top of switch back across lower part. Cut a path for hikers the best I could. Will require a chain saw. Wet day. Forest service mowed the fields again.

Reporting: John Beaudet
Date: 11/05/2017
Purpose: blowdown removal
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: John Beaudet Frances Figart
Summary: Having noticed Vic's post of 4 blowdowns in Jones Branch & no postings of anyone handling them , I employed Frances as swamper and took care of it. We entered by the blue-blaze by the river outfitters and went north up Jones Branch and cut out and cleared no less than 9 blowdowns ranging from 10 to 18 inches in diameter, some pine or hemlock and 3 red oak the last of which was at the switchback and once cut allowed the root ball to come down the hill into the trail requiring more cutting and removal. Frances stopped any hikers from walking into danger as I cut. Don't feel bad Vic , Frances didn't carry the saw or help move the pieces either (this field is required)!