Hitch 4: 7/12/10 - 7/21/10
|Corridor Clearing & Brushing||1+ mile|
|Log & Tree Removal||20|
|Boulder Relocation||1 (1000+ lb.)|
|Rock Retaining Wall||1 Complete, 1 Underway|
|New Trail||350 feet|
|Backfill Material Distributed||15 yrds.|
Hitch number four brought the whole crew back together again after an off-hitch separation: Adam went back to New York to spend time with family and home cooking, Ian returned to Indiana for a classic rock concert, Angelika and Patrick took the tourist route in Washington D.C., Laura visited a school friend in Norfolk, and John spent time with family in Hot Springs. Everyone enjoyed the off-hitch and was looking forward to returning to work on the Jackson River trail.
The Jackson River trail is a beautiful trail that runs right along the river closer to the trailhead and then slowly climbs the hillside for a higher view of the river. The trail ends at an exciting suspension bridge. Before the crew started their work, the trail was an overgrown mess with some fallen tree obstacles, but that quickly changed during this work hitch. Using a motorized brusher, the entire trail was cleared of small vegetation and small trees. With the help of a chainsaw, larger trees were cut and a pole saw was used to cut tall branches.
Because the part of the trail that runs right along the river will be eroded away in future floods, one of our main tasks is to construct a trail reroute. The first step was to build a dry-stack rock retaining wall and to fill behind it with dirt and crushed rock to create a stable trail up the hillside. The crew had to dig a tremendous amount of dirt out of the hillside in order to accomplish the minimum two feet of tread. After the wall, a winding trail was cut into the hillside until it reached a flat area that used to be a road. Another rock wall is in progress farther along the trail to help stabilize it and keep it from eroding away in the near future. More trail was cut after this second rock wall.
Between the second rock wall and the new tread, there are several giant boulders buried in the way. Rock bars and brute strength were used to try to remove these; it was not enough. Now the crew has the task of deciding how to deal with these boulders in the way of the trail. The answer will most likely come about during the next and final hitch.
The flat road continues after the boulders and is now clear of most vegetation. There is more tread to cut, but the end of the trail reroute is in sight. After one more long restoration, the trail should be complete and the crew hopes to accomplish this by the end of the summer.
This hitch was definitely exciting. It started off with a soaking rain and continued rain more than the previous hitches combined; a nice skylight was added to the tarp during a dinner-time fire; close games of Catan continued to stir up the camp atmosphere; and tooth pain and bee stings caused some anxiety. As this hitch comes to a close, the crew can definitely be proud of their work thus far.