Big Crew, Big Session, Big Fun!

Session 7 Crew

Day 1 - The hike from Clingman’s Dome to camp was a 10+mile slog through the fog and rain.  We stopped at two shelters en route, allowing everybody the chance to lunch out of the wet and empty their boots.  With about three miles left, David had to respond to an injured hiker report.  Applying his excellent wilderness medical skills he was able to stabilize the hiker until other help arrived and they airlifted him out.  Good work, David!

Brit on the swingblade
Day 2 - It was a 6-mile hike to the end of our work area, made a little easier by clear skies.  Jeff, Kirk and Tina began brushing at Silers Bald Shelter while the rest of the gang ascended further north to tackle the blackberry invasion.  At the end of the day, Morgan commented that it seemed like the toughest workday of the season.  Luckily, there was a great supper and dessert to look forward to, followed by bedtime around 7:30.

Kessiah works the loppers
Day 3 - The crew split into two teams today, with Morgan, Tina, Jeff and Kirk heading south brushing while the rest of the bunch went north to finish a 2-mile section of waterbars and lopping.  On the way up, David’s crew heard a bear growl, so they kept close together in hopes of no further encounters.  After a good 3.5-mile total of work completed, everyone headed back to camp for tuna mac and conversation with the wild pig hunter, Rick.

Hanging out at camp
Day 4 - Yet another day of dividing and conquering.  Morgan’s group headed south and brushed their way back from Starkey Gap.  David’s group had a more thrilling workday after Kessiah spotted a rattlesnake on the trail!!!  The crew took some photos from a safe distance and resumed their brushing a little further downtrail.  Later, on the way back to camp, they were caught in a major downpour.  Luckily Kirk and Morgan had supper prepared for their soggy return.

Andrew on the loose!

Day 5 - The crew ate breakfast a little slower this morning, watching and hoping the rain would quit soon.  In the end everyone sucked it up to clean a few more waterbars and dig sidehill.  Tina showed everyone out with her amazing pulaski skills while Greg worked the shovel.  Returning to camp the skies opened long enough for the crew to dry their gear and sun bathe.  Dinner was followed by a game of ‘Bean-Boozled’ (look it up…YUCK!).

Group shot with some passing hikers
Day 6- The long walk home…frequent stops with the intermittent bear markers (aka fresh scat).  The ascent to the dome was long and arduous, but it paid off once the crew reached the top and were able to take in the breathtaking views.  After tacos at Soak Ash basecamp, David and Morgan handed out the prized trail crew shirts and everyone got time to reflect on another great week of trail maintenance.