SWEAT Crew Session 5
Derricks Knob to Spence Field Shelter
Steve, our only volunteer this week, Matt and Katie headed out on the morning of
day one, being sent off by Meg, Julia, and David, who stood in for Chloë as she taught
a Leave No Trace course for CLC. After a few pit stops were made on the way to the
trailhead, at the grocery store, getting gas, and the backcountry office, we made it to
the trailhead. From there we crushed some miles up to Derrick’s Knob, making it
luckily before the rain. At the shelter we ran into Maury, the ridge runner, once
again and conversed with her while dinner was being made. The night went well,
except for the Bard owl that decided to wake us all up at 2 o’clock in the morning,
hooting above our tents!
After breakfast and a quick stretch circle, since there were only three of us, we did a
quick orientation to trail maintenance and then began working. The morning
consisted of sun and clouds as we worked, but midday we got poured on, however
we were lucky enough that the rain only lasted about 45 minutes and we were able
to dry out some. But the rain gave us the opportunity to see our waterbars in action!
We did have a friend in a deer as we worked though; we saw him multiple times
during the day and had an eight-point rack.
We worked on some awesome steps during the morning, making a steep section of
trail much nicer. It took us a while to find a nice log, and then a while longer to cut it
into the size we needed, but eventually we got one step in place as it began to rain.
But the rain did not last long, tapering off not long after it began. We then put in
another step, making the section of trail even better! After lunch, we headed down
to where we stopped the day before and continued working on waterbars and
brushing. But the time we made it back to camp it had begun to rain again, but later
we had a nice sunset and blue sky.
We hiked out to our stopping place from day three and continued working, one
person on swingblade, one on waterbars, and one on lopping. We worked all day on
Brier Knob, ending the day at the top, where Matt was unfortunately stung by a
yellow jacket, but thankfully it was the end of the day, so he took some Benadryl and
then we began our hike back to camp. After arriving back at camp and making pasta,
it began to rain on us once again, so we all retired to our tents for the night.
After a nice, beautiful morning, we began our trek out to work. Climbing Brier Knob
was tough, due to the steep slope, but we made it to the top and from there kept
working south, mainly working on brushing as that section of trail was very
overgrown. We moved slowly throughout the day, as the brushing was really hard,
but the work done was really great and rewarding, especially walking back through
what we had brushed. Steve got stung today, but luckily he is not allergic, so no
Benadryl was needed. The day was gorgeous, a little hot, but blue-sky overhead and
sun and at camp we talked about taking showers the next day!
We got up early, packed up our stuff, ate breakfast, did stretch circle and then began
our hike out. On the way out, we stopped by the waterfalls we had hiked past on the
way in, the falls were gorgeous and Matt got in, walking under the falls. Once we
were off trail, we then took a detour to Cades Cove, since neither Steve nor Katie had
been there before and we were so close. We drove around the loop, took a picture
on the van, and got stuck in a bear jam. After our detour, we made it back to Soak
Ash for some homemade pizza made by Chloë. Our crew session came to a great end
and Steve was the volunteer of the week!