The George Washington Jefferson crew returned from the chilly, moist Spring conditions of Washington State to find the Blueridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley in their usual warm, muggy Spring conditions. After four days of shopping, planning, trailer organizing, making our just-turned-21 member into an SCA driver, and other logistical chores, the crew was more than ready to work on a trail.
The White Rock Gap trail climbs approximately 1200 feet in 2.5 miles, running from Upper Sherando Lake to the Blueridge Parkway. Many hikers and mountain bikers use the White Rock Gap trail, which had not seen any heavy maintenance since the mid-1990s. This lack of TLC was plainly evident along the route, as was some fresh damage that resulted from a major rain event in early Spring of 2011.
With a survey form in hand, and keen eyes for bad trail on the lookout, the crew began our tasks, including digging new grade dips, building new rock crib walls, rebuilding old rock crib walls, widening tread*, fixing backslope, cleaning water bars, regrading step downs, and filling in washed out trail.
Throughout the hitch, team members engaged in lively and informative discussions on the case systems of Latin and German, acronyms made with team members’ initials, and why objects made of ferrous metals can attract or repel eachother.
Overall, the hitch went well. Everyone worked hard, and progress was faster than expected. We completed all the work on the Forest Service’s survey, and worked on some of the recent storm damage. Now, we are all excited for our five days off, which will be our first break since Corps Member Training began May 23. A well deserved rest!
Further up and further in,
*Widening trail is called “restoration” in Virginia.
Total work completed during Hitch #1:
Seven Rolling Grade Dips constructed
1155 feet of trail widening and backslope repair
Three rock crib walls built, totaling 122 square feet
One rock crib wall rebuilt, totaling 40 square feet
Two step downs repaired, resulting in 30 feet of regraded trail
Nine water bars cleaned
Two rock water bars built
130 feet of washed out tread refilled
90 feet of reroutes restored to natural appearance