Bears Den Hostel and Hiking Center, Bluemont, VA – Saturday, November 21, 2015 — Sometimes pop up projects just happen. The PATC supervisor of trails was jawing with Glenn, the Bears Den caretaker. “Ya got any work?” “Yup.” And so another adventure begins for the North District Hoodlums Trail Crew.
So there I was, minding my own business when in comes a “flash” email looking for volunteers for Saturday. Bears Den needs firewood and urgent repairs to one of its hiking trails. Who can come? Sawyers bring your chain saws. “Let’s rally!”
Now what can you say at a time like this? A chance to fire up my chainsaw… This is better than playing baseball in late October. Woah dude! Don’t ask twice I’m there. I love extra innings.
Fortunately we’ve had a prolonged indian summer here in the mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately we became way too comfortable with unseasonably warm weather.
Of course the weather pattern was going to hold. What was the chance it would be subfreezing Saturday morning … No need to guess. It was 26F according to my car when I pulled into the parking lot.
Everyone was shivering as we organized our work parties.
We had three sawyers and split into two parties while a larger crew marched off to repair a badly eroded trail.
The swampers got some help from one of two Scout troops camping on the Bears Den grounds. We were bucking the hazard trees a professional crew of arborists dropped earlier this summer as mentioned in this post: http://jfetig.com/2015/07/29/on-the-road/
Lunch is always better when enjoyed outside, especially since the temp jumped the shark back to early autumn.
Now to split the damn stuff. Fortunately, Glenn has a hydraulic splitter.
At the end of the day, we tramped down to Bears Den rocks for a zen moment Thus ended another Hoodlums excellent adventure.
Standing near the old apple orchard. The saw is for cutting logs used to construct waterbars and check dams. The red pants are Kevlar chainsaw chaps.
Shenandoah National Park, October 17 – 18, 2015 — Remember the secret word on Graucho Marx quiz show “You Bet Your Life?” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Bet_Your_Life I have a new one for ya.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a “lumbersexual” is a Metro-sexual who has the need to hold on to some outdoor based rugged-ness, thus opting to keep a finely trimmed beard. Sometimes their wardrobe includes plaid flannel shirts and leather work boots. Well, this weekend was my best imitation – or maybe was I just testing my latest Halloween costume idea…
This was the final regularly scheduled Hoodlums work weekend of the year. I took a crew of four including myself on my AT section to finish the rehab started earlier this year.
My arrival was timed for dawn plus a few minutes to beat the traffic. It’s peak leaf season the the peepers cars clog Skyline Drive bumper to bumper for all 105 mikes if the park.
This morning it was 28F when those of us who camped at Indian Run popped out of our mummy bags. I slept toasty and warm. Hated to get up except that the thought of hot coffee twisted my arm.
I spent this morning inventorying all the erosion control structures on my trail section. Along its 1.3 mile length, it has 58 waterbars, 45 check dams, 3 swailes, 14 stone steps, 20 feet of stone retaining wall and one stone culvert.
The Appalachian Trail is administered by the National Park Service. it’s budget is based in part on the amount of infrastructure that must be maintained. All 2,189.2 miles of trail are being inventoried by its various overseers like me. I think they are going to count a lot of “stuff.”
Milam apples were the most common type grown in the area. Not sure these are those.
My trail skirts an old apple orchard that was part of a farm when the land was condemned to create the park. You can see were the bears have trampled the vegetation enroute to their Oktober Apfel Fest.
Autumn is slowly asserting itself. The colors are shifting from the the energy of spring toward the reds and greens of the Christmas season. Snow and a quiet winter sleep are just over the horizon.
For more on lumbersexuality see: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/magazine/article4277725.ece