You think we were tired!
The AT and My House, April 12 – 17, 2022 — It’s been people time recently – lots of interesting people and even more fun.
The week opened with a visit from a German public radio producer, her lovely children, and her colleague.
It ended with a day spent with Caroline and her dad.
In between the Hoodlums April work trip brought out 31 people, a record for this time of year.
The time of year is important. The weather went from sunshine Sunday to snow on Monday. Weather this time of year is a crap shoot. We got lucky. It’s going to be in the high 60s again later this week. Go figure…
Susi Weichselbaumer and her children were lovely. We haven’t had little kids in the house since we bought it. Fortunately we found some of our daughter Liisa’s old Duplo Lego toys. Susi works for Bayerisher Rundfunk, Bavarian Public Radio in Munich. She and her kids travel the world having adventures for the radio. The name of their program (radioReisen) translates to Radio Travels. What a gig! Mom, you’re amazing!!!
Susi contacted the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in search of an AT adventure. As we corresponded, I thought it might be fun to host them, get to know them and fit the hike to the family.
I invited them over and pitched a tent in the yard. The girls packed one of my packs with two schlaufsacks and had a short camp out after which we made SMORES around the fire pit. If stickiness is any measure, they were happy.
Susi’s colleague Arthur gave the crosscut a go. The girls sawed off a couple of pieces as souvenirs.
A couple of days later we trekked up to Annapolis Rock for a picnic. Adventure complete.
Meanwhile, my wife and a bunch of Lashley Lounge/Gang of Four friends popped in to see the newly renovated Mormon Temple which towers over our neighborhood. It will be open to the public for a short time before its rededication. Secrets inside? We won’t tell.
That was the week. Now for the weekend.
Dawn cracked on the Hoodlums meet-up with a breeze that chomped at us with a seasonal reminder. We were delighted to see some pre-COVID stalwarts return to the fold.
This group broke into work parties that cleared blowdowns on several north district hiking trails. Another group continued tread work on North Marshall.
Sporting my new prescription Z 87+ prescription but dorky safety glasses, I led a group of seven down a side trail called Jeremy’s Run. That’s creek to most folks. It’s in a designated wilderness so only muscle powered tools are allowed.
It was like a war story.
There we were. Armed with my grandfather’s crosscut, a bow saw and a couple of Silky Big Boy 2000 folding saws. Yes that’s a Japanese brand of professional pruning saw, not a Harry Potter Quiddich broom. We launched what the military calls a movement to contact.
Movement to contact: Cross the line of departure into the backcountry. Search for the enemy. Find the enemy. Maneuver and destroy the enemy.
What’s the enemy? The enemy is blowdowns. Here’s our after action report:
We made contact almost immediately after entering the backcountry. This little one must have been an enemy scout. We needed to demonstrate practice and teamwork. Rachael dispatched it without fanfare.
Must be getting closer to the main body. We unlimbered the big saw. With the team taking turns, Jim Grant’s crosscut dispatched this enemy outpost posthaste.
I wish my grandfather could see and hear this. This saw was the best you could buy at the time. I hope he would be proud that it’s still productive.
The secret to success it taking turns. That way nobody gets tired. This crew had a seven limber arms in the bullpen. We used all of them.
Missed you Sam Keener. Sam is the only Hoodlum with a good excuse. She was running the Boston Marathon. BTW, she smoked it.
We didn’t always use the heavy artillery. The lighter silky saws did their share. Slo mo on the replay.
Ana clears an obstacle!
The outer defenses are defeated.
Lunch prior to the main objective. These are grad students from the Johns Hopkins school of public health taking a needed break from thesis season.
All told, we made four stream crossings and hiked down to the fifth. The water is about 12 inches deep. Don’t fall in.
The wedges keep the kerf open so that it doesn’t close and pinch the saw.
The objective. In total, we defeated nine blowdowns.
Clearing the battlefield.
Victory party at the Elk Wallow picnic area. First in two years. You go Hoodlums!
R&R at the Hoodlum’s home base, the Indian Run Maintenance Hut.
This is better than the sunrise at Campobello. Eat your heart out Teddy. That’s my morning coffee on the reflector fire wall.
A little drama in the morning breeze as Steve’s tent decided to take itself for a walk.
Turn the page to Sunday. Marching in, we found a benchmark for the original AT which was moved away from Skyline Drive a long time ago. It’s amazing what you can find without the summer vegetation choking the view.
Let’s switch gears from trail crew to the AT section that Caroline Egli and I maintain.
If you recall, last month we cut logs to replace rotting drainage structures.
We were joined by Caroline’s father. The first thing we did was camouflage an illegal campsite by spreading dead fall and leaves over the bare spot.
We replaced rotted logs.
Sometimes twenty-somethings vent a little. It’s about a couple of good guys who downplayed how tough busting rocks was for the North Marshall crew with whom Caroline worked the day before. You tell ’em lady!
She said she was strong! She drove the pick clean through the log.
Good time had by all! That’s why I love this life and these people.