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: Van Hovey
Date: 10/22/2020
Purpose: Clear blowdowns
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Van Hovey
Carrie Hovey
Summary: Cut 4 blowdowns and clear several other smaller items over trail.

Walk in approximately 1 3/4 miles

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/22/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Tim Stewart
Summary: Primarily, we worked on probably six wet areas. In some cases we provided a new path for the water to get across the trail. We installed a number of rock stepping stones with one very large rock plus four other large rocks to make stepping stones through one large boggy area. We also set some rock steps in several areas. At end of day some of us found mud in our socks. But we felt like we had accomplished a great deal.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 10/22/2020
Purpose: Remove blowdown
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Pat Loven
Karen Loven
Summary: Returned today to remove blowdown about 3/4 miles south of Dennis Cove Road. This time we took a chainsaw.
Cut a few other smaller trees and did some lopping. Beautiful day- mountains in full color.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 10/17/2020
Purpose: retrieve abandoned tents
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Tim Stewart, Carl Fritz, Richard Carter
Summary: We were responding to several reports of three abandoned tents at the campsite just south of Stan Murray shelter. We hiked in from Carver's Gap, and found the three tents, 2 one-man & 1 four-man, to contain a total of six sleeping bags, several camping items including a camp stove, a new pair of shoes, two dog backpacks, food items and considerable trash. The equipment, Walmart brand, was all new. With some effort we contrived to attach most of this to our day packs and hoisted the remainder in our arms, then trudged back down the trail to the gap probably looking like three bindlestiffs. Hikers of all description were out literally in their hundreds for the beautiful day, and Tim became our spontaneous clarifying spokesman in response to the many strange looks we received. His explanations resulted in many of our visitors giving lots of thanks.

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 10/19/2020
Purpose: Blowdown
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Tony & Renee Messina
Summary: Cleared 16inch blowdown at Guthook Mile 404.2 (south of Mountaineer Shelter). Awesome weather, near 70 degrees and sunny. Very pleasant hike crunching through freshly fallen leaves.

Reporting: Cory Franklin
Date: 10/09/2020
Purpose: General Maintenance of Trail.
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Cory Franklin
Summary: I cut back a lot of encroaching vegetation from the rhododendron and worked on making the trial easily accessible. There were 3 separate trees that had fallen on the trail. I purchased a katanaboy saw to clean these up and recieved it today in the mail (10/16). Planning on doing the cleanup Sunday the 18th of October.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 10/15/2020
Purpose: Rhododendron trimming
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: A pre-dawn start to move into position at the switchback bottom using iPhone flashlight and then gathering twilight. Section was last thoroughly cut in 2017 and 2018 but except for a few spots found to be in very reasonable condition. I’m an even bigger fan of the battery-powered hedge trimmer paired with loppers. Combination is quick to slash through the small diameter growth with subsequent removal of larger branches. After a couple of hours rapidly passed, I was well up the rising path to where the regular crew had installed rock cribbing back in February 2018… only to realize the second battery was still in my daypack hidden at the bottom of the switchback. Choice made to continue to work in this manner. Trimmer ran out of power where the large blowdown is still high above the trail. I proceeded to lop until near CMG shelter when my turnaround time was reached – a short section, about 0.2 mile was not finished. Headed downhill to reach the daypack and swapped the battery. Quickly walked out while trimming missed dog hobble spots along the way. Five pairs of hikers, all NOBO, were seen – one trail running, two on day trips with shuttle, and two section backpacking. Fall color is still changing in this section.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/15/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Dean Baird, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart
Summary: One pile of locust logs we hauled to top of Round Bald eleven months ago mostly disappeared. We hand carried about twelve new locust logs today. We installed ten new steps to lower some high steps. We also repaired about three water diversions. We installed five very large stepping stones to get through a constant wet area that some hikers were avoiding even though water is only a half inch deep most of the time. They were also cutting the upper switchback in the woods regularly so we trashed it with dead wood and branches. We also trimmed rhododendron close to Carver's Gap that were narrowing trail to 3 feet wide at many points.

It was a beautiful windy day with many hikers. The trees at this elevation are basically bare.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 10/15/2020
Purpose: Repair Curley Maple Shelter
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Dan Firth, Dave Hrivnak
Summary: Added a sister rafter to reinforce damaged rafter.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 10/14/2020
Purpose: Trail maintenance
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Pat Loven
Karen Loven
Summary: Purpose was to clear a reported blowdown. Cut one step over out of the trail using handsaw and later determined the larger tree that had been reported was 100 yards further up. Tried to clear with handsaw but tree was too large. Will return in a few days with a chainsaw.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 10/11/2020
Purpose: walk thru
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Gloria Shuttled me today. Cut back vegetation as needed. In spots rhododendron seems to have grown crazy since last time. Fixed trail where it was eroding at northern bog bridge. Placed log from small blowdown that might help. Hand cut 4 small blowndowns. Cleaned 16 water bars. Rehabed 4 feet of trail where small tree fell taking edge of trail with it. I was looking for reported larger blowdown. I could not find it at reported location only a cleared tree. I meet dayhiker couple that hike in my section a lot. They said the carry a hand saw. I asked about the blowdown earlier in the day. I believe they cleared it. Very Kind. I put up signs Carl gave me this spring at 4 locations. Ran into suprisingly high number of day hikers for my section. Also hand full of southbound thru hikers.

Reporting: joe morris
Date: 10/13/2020
Purpose: Repair access to bridge
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Van Hovey
Johnny Jones
Tony Messina
Joe Morris
Summary: Created a combination of steps and a ramp for access to the second bridge north of the NOC. Created some stream diversion to protect the bridge abutment and constructed a significant crib on the "current" side of the bridge. In addition, we replaced one of the steps on bridge number one.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/04/2020
Purpose: Blowdown Removal and Report
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Aaron Brown
Summary: Aaron hiked these sections October 3-5. He cut any simple blowdowns under 8" with his hand saw. Larger and more complex blowdowns he reported with pictures and mileage. Kayla was the big winner of the largest number of blowdowns. Some trail erosion is taking place near Dennis Cove and also near Elk River. Elk River erosion is due to a lot of ATV traffic.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/10/2020
Purpose: Shelter Impairment
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Carl Fritz, Bill Murdoch
Summary: On a very rainy day with events canceled for the day, Bill and Carl decided to spend the day in Overmountain Shelter. We had a glimpse of the nearby mountains which were at peak fall color. But most of the time it was cloudy and pouring. Since the shelter is closed because it is unsafe, we had approval to remove the plywood from the two lower level sleeping platforms. There was a total of six sheets of particle board that had been nailed and six sheets of plywood screwed down. So we removed 5 pounds of hardware. We hauled everything away.

Reporting: Joe Morris
Date: 10/09/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Joe Morris
Summary: Weed eating section from Iron Mtn Gap to Weedy Gap including water source access. Five section hikers out today. They reported no blowdowns on sections north of the Orchard

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 10/03/2020
Purpose: check section
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: Went in from Bitter End for about 2.5 miles. A fairly easy outing. Removed 7 step-over or easy-under blowdowns. Of course, did some lopping of rhodos as well.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/08/2020
Purpose: Blowdown Removal
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart
Summary: Becky and Gayle found several large blowdowns near bridge at Oliver Hollow Rd this week. One hit the bridge. We were able to clear the trail and the bridge. One span of bridge is broken and will need to be replaced before lake rises in the spring. Hikers can easily bypass bridge for now.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/08/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Dean Baird, Mike Casper, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Tim Stewart
Summary: This was a sunny day with fall leaf color in some nearby mountains. There were hundreds of hikers including many back packers. We installed two dozen locust steps to reduce height of some steps. We also did some other rehab of some steps and side hill. We also removed an abandoned tent from near top of Round Bald.

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 10/08/2020
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Eric Middlemas
Judy Middlemas
David Polon
Janice Miller
Allan Liggett
Rich Ritter
Lana Scott
Summary: Walked through the section mainly cutting back encroaching, woody growth. Removed one large blowdown. Trail is in good condition.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 10/06/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: Cut back weeds and thorny bushes from the iron gate to the shook branch parking lot. At the small bridge, there are 3 to 4 blow downs that are completely blocking the trail. One large tree fell on the bridge and has put so much pressure on the it that the bridge is starting to bow and break down. We tried to cleaned up the debris on the bridge but hikers still have to hike around this area.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/29/2020
Purpose: A.T. Partnership Discussion
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Vic Hasler, and Steve Perri
Summary: The Fall 2020 A.T. Partnership was again held as a joint videoconference with the Carolina Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, US Forest Service districts, and Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. CMC opened with an extensive discussion regarding excessive visitor use on Max Patch during September 19th weekend as a tent city sprawled across the bald. Joint club topics covered recent staff changes within partner organizations, policies, and projects. TEHCC’s conversation primarily shared intention to open the A.T. relocation south of US321 this winter, reviewed a field visit to the Big Laurel Branch Wilderness, and outlined some efforts for 2021.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 10/02/2020
Purpose: Roan Stewardship Committee/Recreation discussion of visitor use management
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Carl Fritz
Vic Hasler
Steve Perri
Summary: Chief purpose of this outing was to introduce Jen Barnhardt (new Appalachian District Ranger) and Monica Johnson (new Roan Mountain State Park Ranger) to challenges and issues facing the Roan highlands while meeting a few participants of the Recreation subteam of the Roan Stewardship Committee. Besides the above listed TEHCC members, also in attendance were Marquette Crockett (SAHC), Matt Drury (ATC), Chad Ingle (USFS), Stephen Eren (ATC), and Travis Bordley (SAHC). The group started at Carver’s Gap on a chilly and windy morning reviewing the parking issues down both the North Carolina and Tennessee highways. A hike was taken to Round Bald, stopping frequently to point out and discuss the current and potential upcoming trail projects like kiosk posters, social path signs, fencing, spruce tree habitat improvement, trail capacity, step installation, destination with peakfinder displays, and dispersing a fire ring.
The group chose to skip the hike out to Grassy Ridge, thus proceeded to visit the Pritchard Tract just below Carver's Gap in North Carolina. This acquisition could provide another scenic valley view with a possible trail up to Carvers Gap.
After lunch, Vic tagged along with Jen and Stephen for Matt to look at two study sites in the spruce/fir forest off the A.T. near the former Hack Line Road. The objective was to evaluate whether the second was sufficiently similar to the first to allow inclusion in a planned investigation (it was). This initiative is to learn about the impacts of selectively creating openings in the canopy, hopefully allowing a new generation to thrive resulting in increased forest health. This research is being done by Western Carolina University.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/01/2020
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Michael Casper, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Tim Stewart, HIKERS: Fantastic and Blueberry
Summary: We reworked many water diversions and added several from Beauty Spot to power line south of there. In one low spot we added a turnpike plus digging a couple of 1 to 2 foot deep ditches to drain water. We added a couple of log steps to slow down water erosion on one hill. "Fantastic" and "Blueberry" stopped their hike to install those steps. They were on their last leg to complete their thru hike after skipping all around after the pandemic stopped their northbound hike. Also saw "Potato Head", who we saw in Big Laurel Branch wilderness last Saturday, as he is on his last section to complete his section hike since 2012.

The Old Time Hiking Club is doing a great job of cutting weeds and encroaching vegetation.

Reporting: John Beaudet
Date: 10/01/2020
Purpose: remove blowdown
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: John Beaudet, Van Hovey
Summary: Van Hovey and I hiked in from the parking near the outfitters to remove a reported 30" hemlock blowdown 1/2 mile in. After removing 5 blowdowns, including a 16" white pine 1/2 mile in, we reached the switchback where the trail starts up the mountain and turned back. While there we saw, again, three thru-hikers we had seen earlier in the day near Beauty Spot, including Blueberry and Fantastic, who helped us with the work earlier in the day.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/26/2020
Purpose: Inspect trail and minor brushing
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart
Summary: We hiked about 2.5 miles on an old FS road to just south of Turkey Pen Gap. We checked out the lower relocation done by SAWS several years ago. Then we hiked on towards Wilbur Dam Road. We only encountered four hikers. But one was completing the AT with his last section. A number of rhododendron along this section have a disease and show yellow leaves. So they are dying and some are dead. SAWS has redug some short sections north of Vandeventer Shelter and improved the trail. They also have cut most of the bothersome weeds (briars) this summer. There was very little evidence of ATVs. The wilderness boundary sign is still at old boundary. Vandeventer Shelter looked in good shape except graffiti board needs painted (and we had wrong paint) and a new 10 foot piece of guttering is needed in back. The front guttering could use a minor splice in the middle. There is a large dead oak beside the shelter and it will be evaluated further. Carl and Dan did some follow up work with communication, data analysis and obtaining shapefiles of the wilderness area.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/25/2020
Purpose: Complete TNATLP Grant
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth
Summary: This year Dan obtained a Tennessee Appalachian Trail License Plate Grant to purchase two Katanaboy saws and an 18" Dewalt battery chainsaw. He and Tony Messina did the purchasing. Dan has completed the final report to ATC. These saws have already been used frequently. The Katanaboy hand saws are popular for cutting smaller blowdowns and can be borrowed from Carl Fritz.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/28/2020
Purpose: Obtain Bog Bridge Materials
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Bill Murdock
Summary: Bill found a couple of 4x8 sheets of surplus heavy metal lath which can be used to as traction on bog bridges. He purchased these and cut 12" wide pieces with an angle grinder. He donated these to club for future use.

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.