Not Quite Over that Next Hill

Section #7: Mount Chapman to Camel Gap
Crew Leader: Mic Collins
Assistant Crew Leader: Allegra Torres
Volunteers: Ron, JR, Katie, Jeff, Robert, Lee, Quinn

June 26: The group parked our van at Cosby Campground where we congregated and  had our first stretch and safety circle of the week. We hiked 4.4 miles north on the Snake Den Ridge Trail with a vertical gain of 4,000 feet to the A.T. then completed another 3.7 miles on the A.T. to the Tricorner Knob Shelter.

June 27: Our first day of work was a productive one. We hiked north on the Trail to Camel Gap. After a demonstration in tool usage and how to clean water bars, the crew worked in groups of two to address clogged waterbars and clear corridor. The real work came later in the day when the group addressed three areas of the trail in danger of washing out on the downhill side. We spent the rest of the day re-establishing sidehill.  By the time we set off back to camp, the crew had completed sidehilling projects of 25, 40, and 85 feet.  A great day of hard work!


June 28: Day three saw more productive and quality work from our session three crew: The Almost Over the Hill Crew.  We hiked north again to where we had stopped work the previous day. The crew worked together to address some major damage on the trail just passed Mount Guyot.  Due to lack of waterbars on this section of Trail, water had eroded and destroyed previously installed check steps.  After coming together to make a plan and delegate jobs the crew worked through the afternoon to address the issue.  Jeff, Lee, and JR built new water bars, using rocks and logs, while Ron, Quinn, and Katie worked diligently to dig in and set new check steps.  By the end of the day, we had built three new water bars and 7 check steps, ensuring a safer and more quality experience for hikers passing through.

As we prepared to head back to camp for the day, we received a pleasant surprise due to some amazing trail magic brought to us by Allegra's husband, Jake Hansen AKA Sweaty Cheddah. We were rewarded for our hard work when Jake met up with us and pulled out of his bag of tricks a half gallon of ice cream for our enjoyment on the Trail.  Yes, you read correctly, a half gallon of ice cream, 8 miles in the back country on the AT.  How, you ask?

The formula is as follows:  A half gallon of ice cream placed in a stuff sack with a nalgene full of ice, wrapped up in a sleeping bag for complete insulation, and boom, you've got a good 5 hours before melting point.  Thanks for the tasty treat Jake!  #IceCreamOnTheAT

June 29: Day four was a highlight for The Almost Over the Hill Crew due to the amount of trail covered and work completed.  As a crew, we cleaned a grand total of 131 waterbars and cleared a mile of corridor with the use of swingblades and loppers, reaching all the way to Camel Gap.  In the afternoon, we were rewarded for our hard work by two visitors, our Camp Coordinator Chloe and the ATC ridgerunner, David AKA Star Child.  We snacked on zucchini cake made from scratch by Chloe and fresh cherries brought to us by David.  Another day brightened by some amazing trail magic, Thank Chloe and David!

June 30: On our final day's work the crew focused south towards Mount Chapman.  We cleaned 50 more waterbars and cleared a final mile of corridor.  With severe weather forecasts for the afternoon, we decided to address some needs at and around the Tricorner Knob Shelter.  The groups split up to clear brush, eliminate obnoxious stumps, and to sidehill a small section of the approach trail.  
July 1: The crew woke up early in anticipation of our long hike out. We had breakfast, broke down camp, and made it back to the van in just under 5 hours. 

Week Summary: SWEAT Crew Session three was a major success in improving the safety of the AT. The Almost Over the Hill Crew lived up to their name and proved they were not quite over the hill yet, as we were able to complete the work at the top of our priority list while taking on some additional responsibilities. This was a long section of the A.T. to maintain, and the efforts of the crew certainly produced quality work that will have a long lasting affect in maintaining the trail.

By the numbers:

Waterbars cleaned: 213
Waterbars built: 5
Corridor cleared: 5 miles
Sidehill dug: 150 feet
Log steps: 7