Shenandoah National Park, VA, June 20 – 26, 2015 — I’ve got 15 feet of surplus fire hose. That makes me rich in a special sort of way. In some ways, that’s better than having a gold bar from Fort Knox.
Most people wouldn’t find old fire hose exciting or practical, I mean you can’t use it for water fights or to water your lawn for that matter. It’s just canvas with a rubber lining. How useful could it be? Besides, I’m too old to play fireman anymore (not really).
To people who use sharp tools, old fire hose is pure gold. It’s so durable that it’s nearly bullet proof. A little glue and a rivet gun help craft this magic material into all kinds of sheaths, holsters, and protective coverings for all things sharp such as axes, hatchets, cross cut saws, chain saws, pruning saws, swing blades, clippers, loppers, heavy fire fighting hoes, and machetes. These are among the tools I need to maintain my section of the Appalachian Trail and for work maintaining trails in the park.
I own them all, and I’ll use every bit of this hose before I’m done. Thanks to Dick Batiste for sending it.
Dick is one of the great guys I met volunteering in Shenandoah’s Central District last week. He’s a retired FBI agent/lawyer who’s nearly 80 years old. That’s 80 Arnold Schwarzenegger years. This guy can lift giant rocks and swing a pick with the best of them! If he’s found the fountain of youth, he ain’t tellin’ and I don’t blame him. Actually I think that his being a New Hampshire native is his real secret. Tough country and rough weather produces tough cookies. I should know, I’m married to one.
The week was productive. It opened with the North District Hoodlum’s monthly work day. I was assigned to work rehabbing a side trail where we rebuilt several erosion control structures, pruned back vegetation and cut a few blowdowns.
Unfortunately our planned hiker feed got rained out. That was a bummer. It’s been a soggy year so far.
Our crew week time was spent on three projects – completely rebuilding the Spring Meadow trail, installing some stepping stones at a messy spot on the Corbin Hollow trail and doing basic maintenance on the lower half of the Old Rag trail.
We had one small adventure. We needed to install a waterbar on the Meadow Spring project. Waterbars are drains set at a 30 to 45 degree angle to the trail. We picked a spot where we could tie into some existing rocks. The only problem one little rock that blocked the way. The rest is history.