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Virginia Happy Trails Running Club

  • Frank Probst
  • Mike Bur
  • Mike Campbell
  • Quatro Hubbard
  • Kerry Owens
  • Marlin Yoder
  • Ted and Sharon Lapkoff
  • Vicki Kendall
  • Barb Isom
  • Susan Baehre
  • Kari and Bob Anderson
  • Gary Knipling
  • Charlie Miracle
  • Carolyn Gernand
  • Carl Camp
  • Keith Knipling
  • Mary Campbell
  • Fernando Garcia
  • Bill Wandell
  • Stan Duobinis and Margie Schlundt
  • Tom and Kristin Corris
  • Michele Harmon
  • Joe Clapper
  • Anstr Davidson

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

  • Ed Brimberg

Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition

  • Thomas Jenkins
  • Alex Kurland
  • Misty Tilson
  • Susan Musante
  • Chris Scott
  • Mike Capraro

Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE)

  • Brian Junkins
  • Liz Notter
  • Wesley Smith
  • Ernie Rodriguezand

Reports from:
2007 | 2004 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
1998 | 1999

VHTRC Work Party 2008 Report

May 3-4, 2008

There is no I in team.
-- Trite management concept

"I hear you guys might need a new mascot. I could represent more of you. Your other mascot just poops in the woods. I go slow. Who's more representative? "
The 2008 VHTRC trail work party proved the power of working together. Joined by two other groups and coordinated by a PATC guy, the group cleared over half of the MMT 100 course -- from Camp Roosevelt to Woodstock Tower. Plus we cleared an important part of the Old Dominion 100 course and of the Ring. We could not have done all of that without the work of others. The success of the day shows the value of embracing the multi-use nature of the trails. Other users, in this case mountain bike groups, are other trail maintainers. See Ed Brimberg's chart of our work

The trails in the southern part of Fort Valley have come a long way. When MMT started in 1995, these trails were in very bad shape. But now, thanks to the work of many and the use of many more, they are in good shape.

This year's event was greatly enhanced by the work of Ed Brimberg. Ed is the PATC guy in charge of all the trails in the Massanuttens north of 211. He helped us get organized, recruited a bike group to come out and work, and he cut a lot of trees himself.

Two different mountain bike groups contributed to the day. One cleared Waterfall Mountain and the trail north to Scothorn Gap. The second group cleared all the way from Edinburg to Woodstock on the Massanutten Trail. That group's work included fixing the section that the off-road vehicle folks had undercut and was suffering serious erosion. A big thank you to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE).

Thanks to the many who came out to be part of this great day! Many trail uses will be in your debt.

Here is a rundown, listed in no particular order, of what each work group did:

Trail Work in Duncan Hollow
Michele Harmon and Joe Clapper cut a log in Duncan Hollow. They don't need no stinkin' chainsaws!

Gap Creek trailhead to 211E (reverse of MMT100 direction)
Carolyn Gernand

Sue Baehre, Fernando Garcia, Barb Isom, Vicki Kendall, Charlie Miracle, Frank Probst, Carolyn Gernand (crew leader)

Gap Creek Trail (blue) to Scothorn Trail (yellow) to intersection with Massanutten Trail (orange):
We cut brush, tripping hazards (roots sticking up) and moved blowdown limbs. We assisted Gary’s chainsaw team with several large blowdowns between Scothorn Gap yellow/orange intersection and Gap Creek aid station site. We were very glad not to be doing them by hand! We had some PATC treadwork tools that we used to do what we could in terms of reforming drainage from the yellow trail section, but some spots just had nowhere for the water to go. There are numerous apparent springs, all of which need channeling across the trail, feeding water directly onto trail. Runners should be mentally prepared for mud in that section. Otherwise, the trail is clear.

Massanutten Trail (orange) to Connector Trail (white):
We were also very glad to meet one of the mountain bike chainsaw crews just as they were finishing the cuts on one of the two major logs on Massanutten Trail north of Connector Trail; we helped them roll the cut section off the trail. We told them about the one other large logs just south of the Scothorn trail. We had created a passage around the end of the log, in case the mountain bike crew did not get to that area. However, they were proceeding north to check it out as we continued southward to 211E. They may have done more work on that log. We pulled/cut numerous blackberry and other sticker vines along the upper part of this section. The trail is clear and in good shape.

Connector Trail (white) to 211E:
We found one tree down on the logging road. We cleaned the branches out of the way to allow an easy step-over. Ed Brimberg (yet another sawyer) asked later about the logging road and indicated that he would go take care of that tree for us. Thanks, Ed! The trail is clear and in good shape.

Gap Creek to Gap Creek section
Gary Knipling

The Gap Creek Team consisted of Carl Camp, Tom Corris, Keith and Gary Knipling. Our assignment was to make a counterclockwise lollipop loop from Gap Creek (blue) to Scothorn Gap Trail (yellow), to Massanutten Mountain East Trail (orange), up and past the Stricklers Knob cut off trail (magenta), down into Duncan Hollow to the Peach Orchard Trail (blue) and back over Peach Orchard Gap past Duncan Knob cut off to the start at Gap Creek.

As we started our trek about 8:30 AM, we were joined by a caravan of trail maintainers with Carolyn Gernand’s Gap Creek to Rt 211 Team. The two Teams worked together for about 2½ miles until the Scothorn / MMEast crossroads, during which about 5 major blowdowns were removed and 4-5 nasty wet spots were drained. At the crossroads after a quick snack break, the Teams parted.

The Gap Creek Team found it easy going past the Stricklers Knob cut off, but going into the depths of Duncan Hollow both chain saws were rotated to keep them “cool” as a series of 9-10 blockages were cleared – some involving three trees at one location. In spite of the difficult passage of the Trail there was evidence of recent hoof prints and mountain bike tracks, and we saw two hikers using the trail that day.

Because of the heat of the day and the work effort expended, the Gap Creek Team ran out of carried water. As we got lower into Duncan Hollow we found some flowing water, and debated the safety of what appeared to be “spring water”. Three of the four Team members succumbed to temptation and gleefully partook of the Mountain’s offering. We (or they?) will know in a few days if the dreaded Giardia organism was avoided.

The One We Didn't Get
One of the few we didn't get. This log is about 1½ to 2 miles south of Camp Roosevelt.

As the Team was nearing the Peach Orchard Trail intersection, we were joined by the backtracking Kirstin Corris who brought much-needed cheeseburger and fluid sustenance. Kirstin had also seen Anstr’s Team going from Camp Roosevelt to Gap Creek, and informed us that the only trail maintenance for us to do was a large dead oak blow down near the summit of Peach Orchard Gap. Kirstin added nourishment, energy and good news to our Team as we trudged up and over Peach Orchard Gap to retrace the mile descent to our cars at Gap Creek.

The Gap Creek Team traversed about 7½ - 8 miles of trail. As of Saturday afternoon, it was all clear. We were out on the trail for 8 ˝ hours. Carl, who drove about 4 hours from Delaware, got his Wasatch 100 volunteer form verified. After a stimulating and refreshing splashdown in the Creek all Team members, except Carl, proceeded to the Mushroom for more trail experience and enjoyment.

Addendum: There had been a report of a large blow down blocking the Massanutten East Trail just north of Milford Gap as well as several smaller obstacles between Milford and the top of Indian Grave Trail. Bryan White visited the area Sunday morning and found the large blow down removed and he cleared the Trail from Milford to the top of Indian Grave.

Gap to Gap Team Captain

Kerns Mountain Team
Mike Bur and Ed Brimberg

The Kerns Mountain Team consisted of Ed Brimberg from PATC, Marlin Yoder, Bill Wandel and myself. Our task was to clear and trim that trail from Gap Creek, up Jaw Bone and then south on Kerns all the way to Crisman Hollow Rd with a small detour up to the Jawbone overlook while we were there just for good measure.

Quatro Hubbard and I are the PATC overseers for this section of trail so I had taken stock of the work that needed to be done over the winter and knew that there was a fair bit of chainsaw work that needed to be done. Here are the pictures I took of the blow-downs during my scouting run over the winter: ( these were taken going in the same direction, N to S).

We met Ed Brimberg at the Gap Creek trail head at about 8:15 and got underway at about 8:30. Ed brought the much needed chainsaw for this section and Bill, Marlin and I divided up the fuel and oil to carry along with additional lopers for each of us. Just as we were starting we could hear the chainsaw fire up from Gary's group. Normally, you wouldn't want the loud sound of an engine to encroach on your wilderness experience but on this day this was music to our ears.

It didn't take long for us to get in on the action and by the time we had made it to the top of the climb, the chainsaw had already been put to good use three times. No sooner had we turned south on Kerns and the action started in rapid succession and did let up until about two thirds the way in for about a mile where we did encounter a tree crossing the trail that required the chain saw.

In all, there were 29 separate trees that we had to use the chainsaw on. Some of them were easy, others required the trained eye of Ed to decide the best order in which to clear the tree. We finished our work at 3pm. In talking to Ed he said that it probably had been a few years since anyone had taken a chainsaw end to end on that section of trail. There are still plenty of rocks to kick but at least for this MMT, there shouldn't be any blow-downs to hop over.

Tred Work
How would you want to run into this at night? Sharon Lapkoff with "headknocker" that was cleared. Photo: John Nelson

Short Mountain Team
John Nelson

Ted and Sharon Lapkoff and John Nelson hiked South from Edinburg Gap along Short Mtn to the beginning of the descent to Moreland. We cleared four minor blowdowns and trimmed a few spots where briars were encroaching. The trail is in "best ever" shape.

Jawbone Gap Blazing
Quatro Hubbard

Gary Knipling and I got off to an early start, hitting the south end of the Short Mountain trail so that Gary could chainsaw the one large blowdown on that stretch - it was about a half mile up from Forest Service Road 374 (the road we cross a mile after leaving the Moreland Gap aid station on the way up to Short). We also checked out the rest of that section of trail up to the base of the real climb up that side of Short, but found nothing else that needed to be done. Gary then left to meet up with his work party at Gap Creek, while I headed off to meet ... at the Visitor Center, where [I was] on a work party detail with Bob and Kari Anderson.

Tred Work
Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Team works on trail north of Edinburg Gap. See finished work below.

Bob and Kari and I reblazed the section of the orange Massanutten Trail that runs from Moreland Gap Road south to the top of Jawbone Gap. We also did some generally light brushwork - Bob brought a bow saw that was useful in clearing the one blow down on that section; everything else that we took out just required loppers. After having a nice "lunch" break at the 360 degree overlook located a short hike up from the top of the gap, we then went back to Moreland Gap Road, with Bob and Kari adding a second coat of paint to each of the blazes. On the other side of Moreland Gap Road from the trail head up to Jawbone Gap is the official continuation of the Massanutten Trail, heading up to Short Mountain. That little 75 yard or so section is rarely run, since we always set up an aid station at Moreland Gap at the parking area about 40-50 yards down the road from the trailhead, and then run the connector trail from the aid station/parking lot past a couple of tank traps back to the orange trail. But that little neglected section of the official Massanutten Trail is now much more apparent after much brush work and repainting of the blazes from Moreland Gap Road to just past the junction with that short connector trail.

Kari and Bob were great to work with and it was wonderful getting to know them. As Bob will be gunning for his 9th MMT finish, expect him to have an inspired run through to Moreland Gap during the race, going through what should seem like his own trail now. That section of trail clearly needed reblazing, so it was a very productive few hours, and it was a fantastic day to be out there. As per our union contract, we were done by 4 p.m.

Gotta run,

Bird Knob Section
Stan Duobinis and Margie Schlundt

Stan Duobinis and Margie Schlundt, joined by Mike Campbell and Mary Campbell (not related, that we know of anyway) cleared the Massanutten South trail from Route 211 to the road where the Bird Knob aid station is. (The road up to the radio tower.) They got all but one log. They did not have a chainsaw. For the log that they couldn't get, they built stairs over it. The trail is now in good shape but overgrowth is causing it to be a bit narrow in places.

Tred Work
Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Team's finished work on trail north of Edinburg Gap

Edinburg to Woodstock
Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Team
Thomas Jenkins

A two person crew chain sawed and cleared trail #408 Massanutten North from Edinburg Gap to Woodstock Tower, 10 down trees and 10 snags. They did NOT clear any of trails on the east side of the ridge trail. A four person crew built two crib walls and finished tread work on 70 feet of trail about 1/2 mile North of Edinburg Gap. Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Web site

Duncan Hollow Team
Anstr Davidson

Michele Harmon, Joe Clapper, and Anstr Davidson went south from Camp Roosevelt to the fourway intersection with the Cap Creek trail where we turned right and went up and back down to the Gap Creek Trailhead.

Tred Work
Just Saw'n logs!

We were a bit worried that we might not have anything to do. But came upon a small blowdown right away. We found several blowdowns on the way to the fourway intersection. We got all but one. (See picture above.) This section of trail is mostly next to the stream in the bottom of the valley. There are a lot of muddy places. We tried to clear some water drains, but probably didn't make much of a dent. That trail should actually be relocated to the side of the hill to get out of the mud. Other than that, it's in good shape.

The Gap Creek Trail going up from the east was messy. We cleared a couple of down trees and cut back some growth along the sid of the trail. We left one big tree for Gary that he got.

The trail down to the Gap Creek Trailhead was fine. We ran into the M.O.R.E. group on the way down.

Waterfall to Gap Creek
Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE)
Brian Junkins

A group from MORE, led by Brian Junkins and composed of Liz Notter, Wesley Smith, and Ernie Rodriguez, went from the top of the Waterfall Mt. Trail to the Gap Creek trailhead. They had a chainsaw and did great work. MORE is a mountain bike group located in the D.C area. MORE Web site

Trails Chainsawed and Trimmed on VHTRC Work Party
Prepared by Ed Brimberg

Trail Intersections Distance
Massanutten Jawbone Gap Trail to Crisman Hollow Road 4.8
Massanutten Crisman Hollow Road to Scothorn Gap Trail 3.3
Massanutten Scothorn Gap Trail to Gap Creek Trail 2.7
Massanutten Gap Creek Trail to SR675 (Camp Roosevelt), trimmed only 3.3
Massanutten SR675 (Edinburg Gap) to SR730, Moreland Gap Rd 7.1
Massanutten SR675 (Edinburg Gap) to SR758 (Woodstock Tower) 8.2
Massanutten Moreland Gap Road to Jawbone Gap Trail 1.6
Massanutten Connector Massanutten Trail to Route 211 1.8
Gap Creek Massanutten Trail to Crisman Hollow Road 2.4
Scothorn Gap Gap Creek Trail to Crisman Hollow Road 3.0
Jawbone Gap Crisman Hollow Road to Massanutten Trail 1.2
Massanutten South Route 211 to one mile past Bird Knob, trimmed only 5.0

Participation from the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC), Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE), Shenandoah Mountain Touring and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC)

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