VHTRC Work Party 2000March 4, 2000
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On March 4, 2000, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club held its annual work party on trails in the Lee District of the George Washington National Forest. We had a record crowd of 22 people participate. The group accomplished a great deal and had a lot of fun.
After a club-financed breakfast in Vienna, we drove to the mountains using all three of the possible ways to go (through Sperryville, through Front Royal and down 340, and via I-81). Each seemed about the same speed as all arrived within a ten minute span.
We worked in three groups. Joe Clapper, Ed Demoney, and Bill VanAntwerp went over Short Mountain and cleared a lot of blow downs. MMT participants will have to step over far fewer logs thanks to their hard work. Since the VHTRC has adopted this trail section it was appropriate that we did some work on it.
The second task was the finish up of very valuable work by Wil Kohlbrenner, a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club volunteer, earlier in the week. Wil and Hop Long had taken chain saws and cleared all the blowdowns on the Massanutten Mt. South Trail from the Visitors Center to the Bird Knob trailhead (the site of the southern-most aid station on the MMT course). The down trees on this section were very big and difficult to get around or over. Clearing the trail was a great benefit to us. To finish the job, we sent Russ Evans and Frank Probst up to clear the leaves off the rocks.
The main group worked on the Massanutten Mt. East Trail between the Waterfall Mt. Trail junction and Scothorn Gap. Runners in the MMT cover this two-mail trail section twice. When we first ran the MMT, this trail section was terrible. Over the years, through the work of many people, including the Forest Service, the PATC, and members of the VHTRC, this section is much improved. After our work, it is almost paved freeway!
We widened the tread to the standard 24 inches on about a mile of trail. Using tools and guidance provided by Wil, we dug into the upslope side of the trail to add width. In the process, we removed many rocks. I would say that, conservatively, each of us removed about 200 rocks. That is 3400 fewer rocks on the course! (Don't worry, there are plenty left!) The work was hard, but satisfying. Just like Communist bureaucrats that are "re-educated" by being sent to work on a farm, the mainly officer worker-VHTRC members profited from getting their hands dirty!
We worked from the south. We started after the first stream crossing and went over the next stream crossing (the one with log bridges) up to the big rock fall. There is probably about a half mile of the trail that we did not get to and will still present challenge to trail users.
After a hard day's work, most of us repaired to Front Royal for post-work fluid replacement. We sampled the margaritas at the mexican restaurant. After a good night's sleep, we took a run on the Dickey Ridge Trail in the Shenandoah National Park. Some of us were a little tired.
The VHTRC work party has now become an important fixture in the annual VHTRC calendar. Unlike a run, it is something that we can all do together. Fast runners don't go off and leave you! Then there is the wild night in Front Royal, the town beauty forgot! Most importanly, there is a strong feeling of accomplishment. There are several points on the trails out there that much more passable because I worked on them. I remember them when I pass. That's a good feeling. Why don't you join us next year? Or don't wait. Wil Kohlbrenner takes groups out to work all the time. I can get you in touch with him and you can join one of his groups.
Thanks to the marvels of digital photography, we have images of the work and the post-work activities. Go to the VHTRC photo album to see them.
Post-Work Liquid Replacement