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
I found this uneaten apple about a perfect bear length in front of a pile of bear scat. Since there is but one apple tree on my entire AT section I can only deduce that it came from a tree three quarters of a mile away!
Shenandoah National Park, August 20, 2015 — It’s been a crazy summer for black bears in the park. They aren’t behaving normally.
Ridgerunners report seeing far fewer bears than normal. Yet, bear sign is everywhere. There’s plenty of scat, not to mention a huge increase in overturned rocks, shredded logs and the like. Why this, now, when food in a wet year is especially abundant?
That’s my main complaint. Our furry but elusive buddies are making a mess of everything. They’ve never done that to this degree before.
Take for instance the section of the Appalachian Trail that I oversee. I can appreciate the “guys” help in keeping down certain invasive species such as the raspberry snares that are proliferating in the aftermath of a 2011 fire that burned through the lower half of the trail. Thanks for that. But, to paraphrase what we used to say in the Army, “One aah shucks wipes out every atta boy!”
Message to bears: Stop tearing up my waterbars and check dams! I mean it. It’s going to take half the winter to repair the damage.
Here bro bear trashed a perfectly good waterbar checking for grubs. At least the log was heaved where I could find and reuse it.
In this instance of bear banditry, the SOBs took the the log which is nowhere to be found.
All right already! I know the log on this check dam is starting to rot and needs to be replaced. I just don’t need the ursus crowd chowing down on this insect motel.
Guess what? I know who you are. I saw both of you last week when I was working on keeping the weeds (Lyme disease-bearing tick habitat) in check. If you don’t behave, I’m going to have to post your picture in the Jellystone post office. I mean it!