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.
On both days, the majority of us dug sidehill relocations near Cherry Gap. We dug 3700 feet of sidehill trail in the two days! We were having difficulty getting blowdowns cut and pin flags set out in front of the diggers since they dug much more trail than ever before and certainly more than we expected. The hikers painted blazes and opened two of these relocations totaling 3150 feet. Paul Benfield and a hiker crew toted in and installed two bog bridges totaling twenty feet on Monday.
“Camo,” plus a rock crew of 14 on Sunday and 17 on Monday, used picks, pulaskis, rock bars, and sledges to create a finished gravel trail of 300 feet through some of the worst rocks we have dealt with. This relocation is on the north side of Unaka Mt. and near switchback in USFS 230. They built a four-foot crib wall to get over a large sloping rock. They even installed a French drain. In addition they roughed in another 50 feet of trail.
Thanks to everyone for achieving these major trail improvements to eliminate steep and eroding sections of the AT. Both club members and hikers readily volunteered to take on major tasks. All participants received a Damascus Hard Core patch or soon will. Most everyone received specially designed t-shirts and caps donated by several hikers.
by Carl Fritz