Session Two: Summer is in full swing and the blackberry bushes are growing!

Starkey Gap to Welch Ridge Trail Intersection
Crew Leader:  Amy Allamong
Assistant Crew Leader: Ben Royer

Session Overview:  This week we had a small crew of 6. One person was hiked out on the third day due to sickness. We stayed at Silers Bald Shelter instead of Derrick’s Knob due to hiking ability of the crew members and weather. We were able to work on the section between the shelters from Silers Bald just fine.

Summer is in full swing and the blackberry bushes are growing! This week we focused on cutting back the blackberry bushes and other perennial growth. We also focused on beech, cherry, and birch sapling removal from the corridor. As we hiked through we worked on the drains that could be cleaned easily and efficiently. We did not dig any new drains. The crew practiced solid safety principles while working and hiking to the worksite.

 Before (above) and After (right) drain enhancement.

Here are our crew's objectives:  The crew had a defined set of goals to accomplish during the session. These objectives included:

·         Remove brush within defined trail corridor.
·         Clear obstacles such as downed trees in the trail.

·         Clean existing drains and dig new ones where needed.

Week Summary: All in all it was a great six-day session. The beginning was rough with the hike in, long hike to the work site and all the rain. Most of the crew stayed positive and had a great time. It’s unfortunate we lost a crew member in the middle of the week due to illness; this had an impact on the amount of work we were able to accomplish. We ran into Billy the ridgerunner this week, he says things are looking great! 

Before annual growth was cut back...

Same location after annual growth was cut. Wow! 

Session One, Recap

Camel Gap Trail to Mount Chapman (about 7 miles)

We had 7 people total: 2 Crew Leaders, 5 volunteers
Tools: 5 Swing Blades, 1 McLeod, 3 Fire Rakes, 3 Pulaski’s, 3 small hand saws, 1 large hand saw, 1 lopper, 2 hand snips.

Saturday June 8, 2013 – Hike into base camp was about 9 miles. We took the Snake Den Trail to the A.T. from Cosby Campground where we left the van in the front parking lot. We had a little rain near the end of the hike but, it let up enough for us to get camp set up camp and begin cooking. It took about 7.5 hours to do the hike.

Sunday June 9, 2013 – It rained all night and in the morning. We cooked breakfast under the shelter. We had a slow start getting everyone motivated to work in the rain. It was not heavy enough to call of work. We began hiking about 10 am to Camel Gap. One crew leader stayed with 3 volunteers near the Snake Den Junction while one crew leader took 2 volunteers down to Camel Gap. Vegetation was light between Snake Den junction and Camel Gap, we were able to cover most of this and dig out drains.

Monday June 10, 2013 – The Day was very straight forward and the weather was great. No injuries. Most people had wet feet from the day before so we made sure to double check everyone.

Tuesday June 11, 2013 – Again, very good day. We removed a couple small snags over the trail.

Wednesday June 12, 2013 – Final day, lots of drain cleaning and heavy annual brushing. Many Spruce saplings were removed.

Thursday June 13, 2012 – We hiked out in about 5 hours, just before the storm. Break down was smooth.

Week Summary

We did not finish all of Section 7; about a mile of the southern end was left. We should be able to tack that on to section 6. I am happy with the results of the crews work, especially for the first week and the weather. The annual brush removal was very good in some sections, but could improve in others. I spent the last two days focusing on spruce trimming and sapling removal; I also cut a lot of 2- 4 inch spruce out of the corridor. The drain digging went very well after a couple days of practice. We were not able to give the drains a lot of attention because there were so many and we had so much ground to cover. In the future, I would like to make them bigger if time permits.

Total Measurable Accomplishments

Improved/Cleaned Drains: 58

New Drains: 8

Water Bar: 1 rock

Miles Brushed: 6