VHTRC Work Party 2007 Report
May 5-6, 2007
A slightly smaller but hard working crew cleared trails in the Massanuttens on May 5, 2007. The weather was great, until it rained. Many folks repaired to Kerry's place for post work refreshments. We got a lot done. Thanks to all who participated.
Wild Azalea Near Powells Fort
Here are reports from each work group.
Ed Brimberg's Chain Saw Strike Team
This group did three separate areas where big blow downs needed special attention. Ed is the PATC coordinator for all the trails in the Massanuttens north of route 211. We appreciate his help on this day and all he does for the trails out there. Susan Baehre and Paul Blackman were with Ed on this team. Here is Ed's report:
Thanks to the members of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club and their annual work party today we were able to clear all the blow downs on the following trails.
Short Mountain Team
[Report by Ed Demoney] Short Mountain was in good shape to begin with but we did clear some debris off the trail, cut a few emerging stickers, removed some overhead limbs and removed seven blow downs. There are several, no exact count but probably about five blow downs. that remain but they have been there for some time and are not difficult obstacles. The two largest are about in the middle of the section. Short Mt is a virtual freeway anymore, barely showing evidence that it is a relatively new trail. There are plenty of rocks so it is not an easy section and worse in the dark.
We started our maintenance at 8:30 a.m. and finished up at 2:30 p.m. I managed to get back to Arlington with sufficient time to vote for a school board candidate and arrived home about two minutes before the running of the Kentucky Derby. Bill [Wandel] and John [Guendelsberger] were the other two on the assignment. I would definitely say the trail is cleared with no significant obstructions.
Bunny Runyan and Mike Broderick. That tree is not there anymore!
Bird Knob Team
[Report by Ed Cacciapaglia] Mike Campbell and I covered all Bird Knob trail up to the where the white loop (previous MMT return course, the part we're not doing on Bird Knob this year) connects with the orange trail down to 211 East. On the top of bird Knob there are 2 or 3 trees we weren't able to move, including one which we were able to move slightly, so that you can get by it without having to jump over it. That section is passable without major challenges. It could use some further maintenance, but I'd give it a lower priority than the very bottom part of the Bird Knob trail, below the picnic area.
From the top of the Bird Knob Trail to past the picnic area, the trail is in good shape. We removed several smaller trees and a couple of good sized ones. Below the picnic area we removed two big pine trees and numerous smaller trees that had obstructed the trail. We were unable to move 3 or 4 trees including one that is rested on some big rocks. If possible, a crew with a chain saw would be useful to remove a couple of major fall downs.
[Report by Gary Knipling] The Gap Creek Trail from Crisman Hollow Road to Peach Orchard Gap is clear. The side trail going north from Peach Orchard Gap to the rock scramble on Duncan Knob is also clear now with 4-5 smaller trees having to be taken out/off the trail. The major work on the Gap Creek Trail involved a large White Pine tree that had fallen lengthwise down the trail which meant removing the entire tree, and placing some large stepping stones at several wet places on the trail to help keep the feet dry.
The trail from Gap Creek over Jawbone Gap to Moreland Gap is clear except for two larger trees that are partly buried in the dirt. These have been there for a few years and seem to be part of the trail now. There were about 18 trees across this section of trail, some of which were fairly large. [Tom Corris helped Gary on this section and Ed C joined them later.]
Tired Workers at the End of the Day
[This group's goal was to blaze the trail over Short Mountain. Report by Carolyn Gernand] Kerns Mtn trail reblazing, Crisman Hollow Road to Jawbone Gap, May 5 (VHTRC trail workday):
Participants: Quatro Hubbard (trail overseer), Mike Bur (trail overseer), Carolyn Gernand, Vicki Kendall.
Was going great until it started to rain about 2:00. So we didn't finish. We plan to continue the weekend of May 12-13. Not sure which day yet --- depends on the weather forecast. We have plenty of orange, though, so no problem there.
[Report by Keith Knipling] John [Nelson], Sean [Andrish], and I covered Elizabeth's to Mudhole Gap. There were several (6-7) trees, mostly 9-12 inches in diameter across the trail. All but one were on the descent from Meneka Peak Trail to Elizabeth Furnace. We also cleared a lot of vines near the top of the ridge. A very large tree was also removed on the Orange Trail near the reservoir. We hiked back to the car via Mudhole Gap. That trail was in pretty good shape.
After that, we drove to the finish and parked at the end of the gravel road cul-de-sac [just off of rte 613]. We hiked the final trail section up from there, clearing the trail of several branches and a few trees. On the turnoff (yellow trail?) from the Shawl Gap Road (mile 7-8?) we tried to tackle the very large downed tree. We did the best be could with hand tools, removing all wood but the two primary trunks. This trail is impassible to horses, but people can get by. It will be a bottleneck, though. We took this trail all the way to the logging clear cut, about 1.5 miles from Shawl Gap AS [Shawl Gap trailhead on rte 613].
Powell's Toward Woodstock
[Report by Anstr Davidson.] Bunny Runyan, Mike Broderick, and I cleared the trail from Powells Fort Camp about four miles south. There were about six or seven trees that, though passable, would be annoying to runners and hikers. We cut a lot of emerging brush along the side of the trail. This trail is in good shape. It has some very nice sections and some rocky sections. That's sort of par for the course!
We also saw two snakes having, what Gary assured us, was sex. Gary would know.