Shenandoah National Park, Summer and Fall 2023 — Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Somehow time got away. All summer and fall we’ve been running at warp speed doing the stuff we love to do.
Trail work is fairly predictable. We saw, chop, weed whack, dig, and move rocks. Every so often we work on a shelter or empty a privy compost bin. We also schlepp tools up mountains. That’s what the past few months have been.
We were painting the rusting roof on the Calf Mountain Hut when Henry Horn grabbed a paper towel to mop the sweat from his brow. Little did he know that towel’s astonishing convenience was a trap. Nothing is ever that easy.
The towel had been used to wipe paint spillage from the handle of a brush. The instant Henry touched paper to face, he knew he was ready for his close up in the remake of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The silver colored, oil-based, rubberized paint we use on the corrugated tin shelter roofs is messy. It sticks around like a well-crafted conspiracy theory.
Fortunately, Henry’s wife was handy and mopped his face with turpentine until it was “almost” devoid of paint.
The hut was but one of many adventures.
We rebuilt a ton of trail. Here is a log hauled by Julie and Nicole. It was used for a step on the park’s Overall Run trail.
We were in designated federal wilderness, so all the logs were cut with handsaws. They weren’t small.
Finished work. About three fourths of those rocks are buried in the ground. Like in your car mirrors, objects in this picture are larger than they appear to be.
Checking one of the falls on Overall Run. Surprised it was still flowing. The region was 10 inches behind on rainfall for the year when this was taken. We’ve since had about three inches of rain.
Cleared a white pine that the wind blew over.
Hauled some firewood for the September workshop.
I love helping to split the wood for the workshop community fire.
Workshop class on invasive species taught by a park biologist. When he was done, we realized we were surrounded by several invasive species.
My brother Jack visited from Colorado and helped empty the Byrd’s Nest 3 compost bin. That’s the kind of job you give your brother to show your love, and signal the virtue of your volunteer efforts. We painted the privy afterwards.
PATC open house at Bears Den.
Our best recruiting tool is the crosscut demo.
Future trainers being qualified to train and certify our new Certified Maintainer course. The course is built around the SET principle. Structures must be Sustainable, meaning they will last a long time; Effective, meaning they do their intended job; and Transversable, meaning they are easy on hikers. This is an example of a rolling grade dip (a drain that shunts off water).
Rolling grade dips are now the preferred way to remove water from the tread, thus preventing erosion. If built properly, ideally a hiker will barely notice them.
More step building, this time on the Compton Peak viewpoint trail.
Taken from Skyline Dr. November 18 at eight o’clock in the morning facing east. It’s hard to beat the zen of a moment like this.