On the Road

Chainsaw sculpture at Bears Den Hostel, Va.

Chainsaw sculpture at Bears Den Hostel, Va.

Northern Virginia, July 17 – 28, 2015 — In deference to Garrison Keillor, it wasn’t a quiet week anywhere around my town.  It was busy as could be.

We had the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) biannual meeting at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. where I led two hikes – more to come on that, followed by a trail construction day with an environmentally oriented youth group from Yonkers, NY called Groundwork.

In between a small group of North District Hoodlum sawyers schlepped our chainsaws up to Bears Den on Saturday to buck two large dead trees that were felled by professional arborists.

Did I mention that the daytime temps averaged over 90 F with high humidity the whole time?  So there I was, producing infinite amounts of sweaty washing while our still-under-warrenty washing machine awaits a new motor.  No, I have not sublet any space at our house to anyone named Murphy.

The first hike was a strenuous 16-miler from the Reno Monument on Maryland's South Mountain south to Harpers Ferry, WV.  The heat took its toll.

The first hike was a strenuous 16-miler on the AT  from the Reno Monument on Maryland’s South Mountain south to Harpers Ferry, WV. The heat took its toll.

Monument to Civil War journalists at Maryland's Gathland State Park.

Monument to Civil War journalists at Maryland’s Gathland State Park.

The second hike was a five-miler on the First Manassas civil war battlefield on the 153rd anniversary of the battle to the day.  It was hard to imagine what it was like for the soldiers who wore woolen uniforms in suffocating heat and humidity.

The second hike was a five-miler on the First Manassas civil war battlefield on the 153rd anniversary of the battle to the day. It was hard to imagine what it was like for the soldiers who wore woolen uniforms in suffocating heat and humidity.  This is at the “stone bridge” for those familiar with the battle.

We started the morning with a preview of the battle in the visitors center.

We started the morning with a preview of the battle in the visitors center.

This stone house and former tavern served as a hospital during the battle.  The battle's culmination point on Henry Hill is just above this structure.

This stone house and former tavern served as a hospital during the battle. The battle’s culmination point on Henry Hill is just above this structure.

The sawyer was approximately 80 feet in the air.  Couldn't pay me to do that.

At Bears Den.  The sawyer was approximately 80 feet in the air. Couldn’t pay me to do that.  This dead tree plus another threatened to block the access road if blown down in a storm.  The need to preempt that is self evident.

Boom.

A severed branch smacks the road with a big boom!

Wearing my sawyer hat.

Wearing my sawyer hat.  I need to iron my neck and maybe use some spray starch.

Head Hoodlum Janice Cessna briefs the young folks from Groundwork.

Head Hoodlum Janice Cessna briefs the young folks from Groundwork.

2015-07-28 11.16.14

Working Hard!  It's important to make the experience hands-on.

Working Hard! It’s important to make the experience hands-on.  Here the kids are building a check dam which is a structure designed to slow water.

Completed waterbar - a structure designed to direct water off the trail.

Completed waterbar – a structure designed to direct water off the trail.

14 thoughts on “On the Road

  1. Looks like the sky was clear and sunny. The 90s were probably joined by high relative humidity. That’s been our formula for success here in IA lately. Today is a beautiful day with sun and lowered RH. The windows are open until evening.

    Put those young people to work. They are strong and able to muscle things into position. My back hurts just thinking about it. I’ve become smart at figuring out the least uncomfortable strategies for back work.

    The sawyer was way up there. Those folks are monkeys in their DNA. Good climbing skill and a sharp saw are valuable.

    As to your neck, maybe a daily coating of Preparation H would be less painful than ironing it. 🙂

    We just finished a busy 3 week stretch involving family reunion. Yesterday, we took our son to the airport so he could report back to base. We will go see him out there next week.

  2. That makes sense. I have had to many after work jobs so I have not been able to get to the gym. I feel a little wimpy right now. You do good work my friend!!
    Just read in latest edition of Backpacker that the number of potential thru hikers on the PCT is up by 33%. Thank you “Wild”! They had to rescue one young man who ran out of water after just a few days!

    • I’ve seen “A Walk in the Woods” and I don’t think it will have quite the impact as “Wild” for a number of reasons including the ages of the stars, genre differences – one a drama/the other a comedy, attractiveness of the scenery and sense of challenge. On the other hand, the AT is better known and more accessible. We’re up 10 percent on the AT so far this year. Time will tell.

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