For the last 16 years, Bob Peoples has been organizing and supervising Hardcore Trail Maintenance Crews at Trail Days. 50 current hikers and 50 alumni hikers are recruited at Damascus Trail Days to head out onto the AT after Damascus Trail Days for 2 days of Hardcore Trail Maintenance. Mom and I jumped at the opportunity to give back to the trail and be a part of such an amazing experience. And what a two days it was, cutting in trail with Pulaskis, making crush and fill with sledge hammers, moving Big Freaking Rocks (BFRs) and installing cribbing. It was hard work, but well worth it and we learned so much. Over the two days we repaired 2 miles of the AT near Hump Mountain in TN.
Hendo's Mom helping to carry in our equipment.
The trail edge had eroded so we cut in a new trail bed and emplaced cribbing (logs) along the egde to keep the trail from washing out in the future. Step one in cutting in the new trail is to remove the top layer of loam and roots and get down to the clay dirt layer. Here we are using Pulaskis to cut in the new trail bed and remove the loam.
Once the loam and root layers are removed and we dug down to the clay dirt layer it was time to bring in the crib, or the log which will become the outer edge of the new trail bed. Cribs are made from downed locust trees which have had all of the bark removed. Removing the bark will prevent the log from rotting.
A large rock was in the way of where we needed to place the crib, so Greg and I worked to reposition the rock.
The Rock and crib are in position, Hendo held the stake steady using the loppers while Applebutter sledged the stake into the ground. After using the loppers, Hendo and Applebutter where shown the proper way to steady a stake using a Pulaski.
Another part of our crew worked to reposition some large rocks in order to repair a stairway.
Hendo taking a quick water break while cutting in another section of trail.
Day 2: We continued work on repairing sections of trail which were washing away. Here we cut in a section and filled it with crushed rock, which we made by sledging big rocks into little rocks.
Quiet Diet and Rambo work on putting in some stairs.
At the end of the two days Mom helped clean up the tools we had used. Here is mom with a pair of loppers and a Pulaski.