Rock Cribbing 55ft
Rock Water Bars 2
Rock Crush Created for Filling Tread 60 cubic feet
Drainage ditches 70ft
The first morning of our 10 day excursion into the land of rock work began with a 3 hour meeting with our Forest Service partners. The crew received a formal introduction to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, and had the opportunity to meet the Area Ranger Beth Merz, as well as a few of the Forest Service volunteers working near us this season.
Around lunchtime we arrived at our trailhead and started packing in our gear to set up our camp. Our camp site was a beautiful spot located off the Appalachian Trail about 1/8th of a mile from the start of our project area, and about 2miles from the parking lot. It took 3 trips to pack in all of our tools, food, personal gear, and a 6.5ft long steel box. The box was lovingly nicknamed the box of pain, as it weighed at least 100lbs and only had two small handles. Luckily the box will remain at the campsite for the duration of the season. Camp was fully set up around 10pm, and we promptly went to sleep.
The next morning we hiked our tools down to our project site, had a stretch session, a safety meeting and then met up with Evan Blevins, one of our Forest Service contacts, and got started on the day. Evan showed us what needed to be done in the first section. The first section was about 50ft long, starting at where the blasting team had created the beginnings of a lead-out ditch in the high berm, and ending at an old check dam that was not functioning. We needed to first shovel out the 4 inch layer of muck and then raise the tread to get it out of the water course, and build a drainage to get the water clear of our trail.
We proceeded throughout the hitch to set 55ft of large rocks into the trail, and made lots of crush to backfill between the crib wall and the uphill slope of the trail, effectively elevating the trail 6 to 8 inches. We spent most mornings with 1 to 2 people setting rocks, while the other 4 located new ones and used the magic of rock bars to roll them over to the wall. In the afternoon the groups switched to making crush, re-vegetating the spots where we quarried rock from, and the other group charging away at setting rocks.
As the crib wall was completed the drainage structure was built. We first cleaned up the lead-out ditch, then worked up hill, digging an out sloped drain parallel to the tread to channel water down to the lead-out ditch without tearing up our new tread surface, or depositing muck on it. We finished these off with a rock water bar at both the top and bottom of our wall, to ensure the water flowed where we wanted it to. We still have to make more crush to finish raising the tread, but overall we got a lot done and worked together really well.