Week 2: The P.E.L.T. Crew in Action

SWEAT Crew Session 2
Day 1:  It was an arduous hike up Anthony Creek Trail from Cades Cove to an abandoned horse camp site near Russell Field shelter.  3500 feet in just five miles…talk about SWEAT Crew!  After one water resupply and a handful of breaks, we made it.  A few minutes piling dead fall and underbrush helped to make the camp accommodating and the tarp up and the stove out means HOME.  Meg had a special meal prepared, Petros, a Knoxville original, remnant from the Knoxville World’s Fair from 1984.  Petros comes complete with real sour cream, so we thoroughly stuffed ourselves in anticipation for the ambitious work week.

Up On Rocky Top
Day 2:  We began our first workday by picking up tools located at two different shelters on our way to Rocky Top.  By the time we reached the summit, everyone was ready to break and enjoy the magnificent panorama.  Meanwhile, Andy took the opportunity to visit Thunderhead - what can we say, the girl's got some energy! From there we worked on clearing brush from the northern portion of our work section.

View Hiking Up to Rocky Top
Vinicius & Tim Clear Back Brush
Day 3: The team broke into two smaller crews in order to divide and conquer the most difficult work areas.  The Hazel Creek Gang, comprised of Dave, Jeff and Crew Leader, David, headed south to cut back some serious mountain laurel, while the Spence SOBO’s (Andy, Tim, Vinicius and Morgan) worked on cleaning/constructing waterbars and more brushing.  By the end of the day, everyone was beat, but still found energy to play a round of P.E.L.T!—a version of hacky sack introduced to us by Crew Leader David.

Back at Camp, Ready for PELT!

David Attacks a Blowdown
Day 4: Half the crew began the day preparing breakfast while the other half treated their blisters.  It rained intermittently in our approach to the worksite, but never enough to damper spirits.  Since the section from Russell Field to Spence Field is open to equestrian use, we had to widen the corridor a great deal.  It was well worth the time, as by the day’s end we’d met 12 riders more than willing to share their appreciation.

Dave Clears Out a Drain
Tim Backfills Crush Behind a Log Waterbar

Day 5: Our work week drawing to an end, the crew set out with the drive to finish the remaining 1.5 miles of trail.  With an ample supply of gusto, good humor, and a few sore arms, the crew raced to the finish in time to return tools to Spence and survey the several days of hard work.  Needless to say, we returned to camp satisfied with our labors.  

Day 6: We packed out after packing up camp and enjoyed ice cream down at Cades Cove.  The drive back to camp put us at Soak Ash just in time for a delicious cookout courtesy of our chef extraordinaire, Meg.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled pineapple, watermelon, baked beans…. the list of amazing food seemed never to end.  A great end to a fantastic week!
Session 2 Volunteers: Tim, Andy, Vinicius (from Brazil!),
Dave, and Jeff