Session 4: Mt Chapman to Camel Gap

Session 4 Crew

Day 1: Session 4 began by welcoming a host of new faces and veteran volunteers.  There’s Newt, a 7-time crewman, and his grandson, Jacob, from Dallas.  There’s thru-hikers Elizabeth (another alum),  Doug and Will, Vinicius (back for more), and Patrick, an intern for ATC SORO.  After the crew made the long journey to the trailhead, their journey was made longer when they took the wrong trail.  With daylight burning, the leaders decided they should stay at Round Bottom horse camp where everyone could recoup and take a swim in the nearby creek.  Sadly, Newt decided he had better return to basecamp after some difficulty with the climb.  We were sad to see him leave, but believe he’ll enjoy waiting for Jacob’s return with all the conveniences of basecamp and local family. 
The Crew is Ready for Work!

Day 2: Approach to Tricorner base camp take two!  The crew got up super early to try and make up for lost time.  They met a lot of difficulty head on, as the first 2.5 miles seemed more like an endless staircase than a hike.  By the halfway point, Crew Leader David was tending to Jacob and Doug’s blisters, and Vinicius needed a nap.  Camp was reached with just enough energy for the crew to set up tents and cook supper…Tuna Alfredo!  Thanks as always, Meg.
Patrick and the Crew Take a Break

Bustin' the Brush

Day 3: Everyone was incredibly amped to begin working.  Breakfast was scarfed down ahead of the team’s charge up Mount Chapman, which needed a good deal of brushing and waterbar cleaning.  David bestowed Will the trail came ‘Super Safe’ after he exhibited superb safety…ness while wielding the Pulaski.  Meanwhile Doug, Elizabeth, Pat and Jacob handled blowdowns.  Go teamwork!
Patrick wields the loppers.

Will clears some brush.

Day 4: It was a soggy day in the Smokies—plenty of pruny feet to go around by day’s end.  Patrick was awarded the trail crew name ‘Rogue’ after he grabbed his loppers and took off on a serious mission.  Jacob swing-bladed from beginning to end, assisting the team’s amazing 2.5 mile maintenance run for the day. 
Vin cleans up limbs on a blowdown.

Day 5: A long final day of brushing was broken up at lunch with a trail crew naming party.  They are as follows:
Doug-The Smoky Mountaineer
Will- Supersafe
Patrick- Rogue

After dinner, we resumed our nightly P.E.L.T. game in the muck and mud, so everyone’s ready to hit the showers as soon as we get back to Soak Ash.
Volunteers Elizabeth and Vinicius.

Day 6: Soak Ash, here we come!  The crew got up before daylight to get a leg up on the heat (not to mention there were more than a few members ready for some food NOT cooked in a pot).  We made it down in record time and took advantage of the long drive to sing Genie in a Bottle and dry out.