A.T. Summer Maintenance Trip

ATmaintenance-OHscouts20110618

Lenny and I went to maintain our A.T. section today. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of growth that had accumulated on our section of the A.T. (Devils Fork Gap to Rice Gap). He had brought a weedwhacker to trim back the weeds and blackberries while I clipped and picked up any garbage.

Here he is without the regulation goggles.ATmaintenance-Lenny20110618 He claims that with regular glasses, the goggles are uncomfortable. Besides, his glasses are safety glasses.

I soon passed him and entered the rhododendron tunnel which took up the most time. The trail is supposed to be 4 feet wide and 8 feet high and the tunnel was going to obstruct most backpacks.

Since I was on my own – Lenny was slower than me with his weedwhacker – I walked up to the waterfall and took some close ups.ATmaintenance-waterfall20110618

Two logs bisect the waterfall and from the trail, it’s not very photogenic. I was able to get a photo without all those obstructions by getting close to it. My dream is to have someone with a chainsaw get rid of the logs but that’s not going to happen. There’s too much real work to do to worry about esthetics.

Further up, I found a yellow jacket nest in the ground. The yellow jackets were very mellow. They were just walking in and out of their holes and I probably could have stamped on the ones outside their homes. In a couple of months, these placid wasps are going to cause me trouble. I took some duct tape, put it around the closest tree and wrote Yellow Jacket Nest on it, to remind me for my fall visit.

I heard some yelling and exuberance and a scout troop descended down the trail. They were from Lithopolis, OH south of Columbus. A group of nice boys with two leaders. Why, oh, why, have I never met a group of girl scouts backpacking or even dayhiking on the trail?

ATmaintenance-Atlas20110618As I got close to Frozen Knob, the high point of our A.T. section, I saw Atlas finishing up his lunch. He’s a section hiker from Florida, out on his second day. He’s heading south, hopefully to Springer Mountain. By his own admission, he was slow but cheerful. He asked me to call his son and let him know he was OK so I will as soon as I finish this blog entry.

After lunch, the wind picked up, something fierce. The sky darkened as if the lights had been turned off. Branches cracked and it was obvious that it was going to rain. I was up over 4,000 ft. and I just hoped that there would be no lightning. The wind died down a little but it started to rain. That was OK. Rain is not a problem. After suffering with the heat for several weeks, I was actually cold and put on my rain jacket.

All this while, I was clipping errant branches and thick tall weeds. Finally I got to Rice Gap and walked down to my car. I was soaked and muddy but felt I had finished the trail maintenance for this quarter. Unfortunately, Lenny’s weed whacking doesn’t go as fast and he has a couple more trips to do.  

 

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