Shenandoah National Park, January 12, 2021 — It was 23 degrees at the Compton Gap parking lot. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. So we were masked and armored to the best of our ability against the cruelty of winter.
The reason we were there is as mundane as the presence of Nature. The never ending parade of trees blown down across hiking trails had marched on. In its wake were a list of barriers to breach. There we were. Armed with fuel, oil and a Stihl chainsaw, ready to assault and clear what might be described as potholes on the hiker superhighway.
Think about it. We’re the Hoodlums Trail Crew. Masks are totally apropos.
We managed to clear 5 blowdowns from the AT. As the day warmed up, we were as overdressed as any group of rookies that ever were.
We’d never encountered a blowdown like this until today. Then there was another one just like it. Blowdowns are like puzzles. The first time wasn’t perfect. The second was a charm.
We salami sliced this beautiful red oak because it was covered in poison ivy. Didn’t want to manhandle a large log.
After clearing five blowdowns on the AT, Wayne and Dave headed for the Elk Wallow Trail to test this ancient two-person crosscut. I drove to Jenkins Gap to checkout the AT section for which I am responsible.
Woops. Found a five-incher across the trail a few feet north of the stone steps for those who know this area. Everything else was clear so took the time to clip green briar and blackberry which are easy to see in winter. These brambles are vicious, ripping hikers skin and clothing. Some can grow a foot per week in summer. Hope I made a dent in their progress.
Same blowdown looking south.
Day’s end. Relaxed. Off the grid. At one with Nature. It was like riding into the sunset.