While some folks breakfast at the hut, Caroline, the ridgerunners and I slipped into Front Royal for a bite at the Knotty Pine.
This is a one-meal-a-day, greasy-spoon, stick-to-your-ribs, and clog-your-arteries breakfast. These hole-in-a-wall, mom-and-pop eat shops are where it’s at in every tiny community across our nation. It’s where locals gather and a part of American culture that I love.
Our project was to work on the AT near the spring on Compton Peak. The tread on about 250 yards of the trail had drifted down hill. Our job was to restore the tread to its original location using a technique called side-hilling.
Reminds me of railroad building.
The raindrops didn’t miss the area around the hut Saturday night. The slow, steady patter on my tent fly served as white noise for sound sleeping. That meant hanging my kit out to dry once home. Cleaning and storing equipment is part of the game. Speaking of games, the ballgame was unremarkable other than the hapless Nats won one for a change, but the spectacular shot of the capitol on the drive home reminds me of why I like living here.
NOW FOR CREW WEEK
Crew week runs Sunday – Friday. We reside at the Pinnacles Research Station. It is equipped with ten bunks, a lab area, kitchen, livingroom, shower and laundry. It is surrounded by apron of flat ground for tenting and trees to hang hammocks.
We tend to work side-by-side with members of the park trail crews and various members come and go as available. I had to be home on Tuesday to chair a PATC Executive Committee meeting but rejoined Wednesday bringing Sabine Pelton, 2019’s Ridgerunner One, who was in town all the way from Maine while her husband attended a conference at the University of Maryland.
We did a lot of rock work this year. This happened while I was away. Crew colleague Cindy Ardecki shared her video of this rock’s journey. There is more than one way to move a BFR as you will see.
The previous day we used a different technique while working on the Overall Run trail just above the falls.
Crush and blunt force injuries are possible, so safety is a big deal. The park doesn’t require hard hats, but the club will consider adopting them as standard PPE this fall.
We ran into a young bear on the hike back to our transportation. He was curious but conditioned to having people nearby. He only moved 10 ft. off the trail as we hiked past.
You might ask if we were nervous. Not really. As a rule, bears are shy and fearful of humans except when food is involved. This bear showed no sighs of aggression or being concerned about our presence. Besides, he was realistically overmatched by eight guys equipped with trail tools.
We also repaired steps on Compton Peak leading to the park’s best columnar basalt formation. We built the original steps 10 years ago. They are in a difficult spot in which to build and were in need of attention.
We’re trying a new technique using logs as retaining walls to create steps filled with rubble.
We worked on the Indian Run access road on the final day. Sabine and I also slipped up to the spring on Compton to improve the flow. We also found new artifacts near the CCC trash midden located on the section. I wrote about it last winter. This trip we found a plate shard and part of a terracotta pipe section.