Session Seven: What it's all about in 5 short minutes

Assistant Trail Crew Leader Ben Royer shot this using his Go Pro. It captures the spirit and hard work of S.W.E.A.T. Crew, session 7!

Session Overview:  There was not a lot of brushing this week. We could have used more digging tools because we mostly cleaned drains and put in steps. This section is in the Spruce/Fir forest so it does not have a bunch of undergrowth; plan for lots of drain digging in the future. Having a 12 person crew was great at times but hard to keep organized and busy. We had crews of 2 working together on drains. I will say this crew dug the best drains and I think it was because of the teams. 

The large crew made for an interesting camp life. Everyone got along, and a bunch of new friendships were made.

Specifications:  Parts of this section are extremely eroded; some places are 3-4 ft deep. The drains were cleaned very well. Not a lot of brushing was needed. 

 Results and Measurable Accomplishments: 

·         Total Trail Mileage: 2.94
·         Water Bars Installed: 2 rock and 1 log
·         Check Steps Installed: 8
·         New Drains Installed: 16
·         Drains Cleared: 104

Day 1: He hiked up Snake Den Ridge trail to the AT the on to Tricorner Knob Shelter arriving safely. We set up camp then had a camp orientation.

Photo: Lunch on the trail, thank goodness no one had to pass!

Day 2: We worked 0.9 miles south of Tricorner and leading down to the shelter. We spent time focusing on drain clearing with some brushing. We cleaned 28 drains and dug 5 new ones. We installed 1 rock water bar.

Photo: Mary clearing a drain. 

Day 3: We covered 1.14 miles of trail clearing 36 drains and building 6 new ones. We also installed 1 new check step and one new log water bar and 1 rock water bar.

Photo: (right) JR, David, Julia and Mary proud of how dirty they were! 

Day 4: We only covered 0.3 miles today because we began the day with 4 check steps and building a turnpike in the afternoon. We spent the day collecting rocks for crush and laying the log cribbing. We also cleared 15 drains.

Photos: Before (left) and during turnpike instillation (right)

Day 5: We finished our turnpike and covered .6 miles clearing 25 drains and building 3 more check steps. We also dug 5 new drains. We saw Billy the ridgerunner!

Day 6: Hike out to Soak Ash and break down.

Week Summary: A great week! We could have used more digging tools and a sledge but we made due. For next year bring more digging tools and less brushing tools. Loppers work great for cutting roots. 

Session Six: Big Progress

Session Overview:  Session 6 went very well; we had our oldest member yet! At 76, he was one of the hardest workers and would not give up. He had a great attitude and tenacious spirit. Addy’s 10 years of trail work experience was a tremendous help and Joanne’s hard working military background brought a lot to the group. This is Mary’s 4th session; she is a regular assistant to our crew. JR and David will be here again next week.

We got about 4.0 miles of work accomplished this week. We also saw a Mama bear and two cubs that we steered clear of!

We did not finish the mile between Spence and Russell because we figured our time would be better spent working south of Mollies. Franklin seems to be very active in his section so we wanted to get to the other part.

Results and Measurable Accomplishments: 

·         Total Trail Mileage: about 4.03 miles
·         Logs Cleared: 1
·         Water Bars Installed: 1
·         Check Steps Installed: 3
·         New Drains Installed: 15
·         Drains Cleared: 76

Day 1: We hiked in from Cades Cove via Anthony Creek Trail and Russell Field Trail. The crew did great and we made it to Mollies Ridge Shelter Safely.

Day 2: We covered 1.22 miles of trail we installed 6 new drains and cleaned 20 existing along with brushing. We put in 1 log water bar.

Day 3: We worked on 0.8 miles of trail today and had a visit from Dick Ketelle with some brownies! We installed 8 new drains and cleaned 18 existing drains.

There is a section of trail just south of the Ekaneetlee spring that is in need of some steps. It is badly eroded and the trail is 4-5 feet wide. There are plenty of rocks available. This is something I would like to schedule for next year’s S.W.E.A.T crew to work on. 

Day 4: We brushed and cleaned 23 drains on 1.21 miles of trail down to Doe Knob. We also added three steps to an existing series. The crew really enjoyed building these!

Photo: Step installation before and after

Day 5: We installed 1 new drain and cleaned 15 existing drains covering 0.8 miles. We had a Boy Scout and his father joins us for a couple hours. We taught him how to clean a couple drains and allowed him to brush a little. His father said he could use that time for a badge!

Day 6: Hike out to Soak Ash and break down.

Week Summary: This was a successful week. We were glad we got down to Doe Knob. I wish we could have installed some rock steps in the badly eroded area, but hopefully they can next year.