Seasons end but the work lives on.
The Appalachian Trail, September 30 and October 2, 2022 — We’re a month early but my final chapter leading our ridgerunners has been written. Dan Hippe will now keep the flame burning brightly with his capable leadership.
It was a cold and drippy day as Sara and I climbed up to Annapolis Rock one last time to pack up the caretaker site and secure it for the winter. The stuff good enough for next year was packed into the tool box while we carted the UV-rotted tarps to the dumpster at Washington Monument State Park.
Since then, Sara has turned in her radio and keys. She’s hiking all of Maryland’s 41 miles as this is written. I picked her up at 5 a.m. in Harpers Ferry where she left her van, and shuttled her to the Mason-Dixon Line for a 6:15 a.m. pre-dawn start. She expects to finish by 11 p.m. tonight.
My larger role may be changing, but the trail maintenance gig has a long runway in front of it.
The spring on the AT section Caroline and I jointly maintain in Shenandoah National Park was, for all intents and purposes, dry. The ground was saturated but the flow was virtually nonexistent. Tina, my friend of 30 years, Gang of Four hiking group member, and occasional swamper, joined us help remedy the problem.
We dug a catchment basin, inserted a 5 ft. length of PVC pipe and anchored in with large rocks.
It worked! Our next Hoodlums work trip is October 16. We’ll check on it then.
The other reason we were working was to rake and shovel silt out of our waterbars (erosion control structures that direct water off the trail). Our section is particularly sandy and the waterbars need annual cleaning.
This is hard pick and shovel work.
We didn’t count the exact number, but we got three quarters of our waterbars cleaned out. We’ll finish the rest next trip.
Exciting news! After almost two consecutive years working with the Hoodlums Trail Crew and one year co-maintaining this section, Caroline has a trail name.
It’s not something trite like “Sweet Caroline.” Regular readers know that she’s an American/Swiss dual national, so she could have been “Swiss Miss.” It’s far better than those.
Meet Caroline “Dozer” Egli” ’cause she can move dirt.