Who is she going to bury?
Shenandoah National Park, August 27, 2022 — When you live two hours away, the number of trail maintenance trips is limited. When ever you do get there, there’s usually no time for the extra little touches that are fun to do.
We usually tent at Indian Run after a Hoodlums work trip and use the next day to maintain our section. Since Caroline and her partner have a new puppy that needs a lot of potty training attention, we kicked the can ahead a week. The improved weather was a bonus.
First we replaced a rotten waterbar that, as the photo illustrates, was also completely silted up with sand that originated as part of an ancient lake bed that covered the region eons ago. Then the fun began.
For years I’ve wanted to build a log bench adjacent to the water source that flows at about the half way mark on the south side of Compton Peak. Its common to see hikers stop there to refresh their water supply, each lunch or take a break. There is only one flat rock on which one can park their butt. Otherwise, it’s sit in the dirt. Adding a bench was priority two – after everything else that needed doing.
We had a handy materials candidate in the form of a nearby blowdown cleared about 18 months ago.
The plan was to saw two pieces for the base and use a six-footer to sit on. We would then peg it together with wooden dowels. What could go wrong?
Would you believe the battery overheated several times and stopped the drill dead, the last time for good. We were unable to complete drilling the holes. Time for plan B.
We had already made a cradle for the cross piece with an axe. It would have been ok for a pegged bench, but not for one held by gravity so I used my chainsaw to notch a seat. We’ll bring a more powerful drill next trip and complete the pegging then.
Meanwhile the bench got a reasonable test from a flip flopper and two southbounders who stopped to help.
But wait! There’s more.
The last time I painted blazes was 2015 when I inherited responsibility for the section. Some are fading and flaking paint. Time to refresh.
The first thing we did is invite one of the southbounders to paint a blaze. She was thrilled. Her husband documented the deed. I think we made her day.
The first the old paint has to be scraped and the bark smoothed with a stripping tool.
Caroline’s dad is from Switzerland and she’s a dual national. When I asked if there were any famous Swiss painters, she couldn’t think of any. Well, they have one now – sort of.
PS: Hoodlums highlights from last week. Our team cleared seven blowdowns from the north district trails including a branch that crashed at the hut.
We also cleaned out a silted up box spring.
The water cleared after a bit.