Our first hitch had us working on the West Walker Trail in the brand new addition to the Hoover Wilderness. We camped behind a rock bluff near Lane Lake, three miles into the wilderness from the trail head. We maintained the three miles South from Lane to the crossing that stock users take across the West Walker river. We brushed the trail for that length, removed several blowdowns, restored several social trails to a natural state, placed three water bars and installed 16 check steps, concentrated in two sections. The pictures included are of those two sections. All in all we had fantastic weather and a lot of fun on our very productive first hitch!
We were invited to take a historical canal boat ride in Great Falls (near Georgetown) and come enjoy the park we are working in. We stated the day off with a leisurely hike through gorgeous scenery, tall trees, abundant wildlife, and....lots of invasives! The boat ride in the afternoon was very quaint and laid back. Our interpreter was very informative with a great sence of humor. The boat went through a lock and we were raised appx. 8 feet in elevation and continued downstream for 1/2 mile, all the while being pulled my mules. It was exciting feeling the history of the park. After our boat ride we hiked to see the Great Falls of the canal which is the Potomac River George. It was energizing seeing the beauty of the park today. We are all very happy to be here!
Dam #5 is located just a short distance from the historical Weber house where we reside. The Dam includes the dam structure, a lockhouse, and many masonry walls. Ailanthus trees (Tree of Heaven) and English Ivy seemed to have taken over the area, but we will fix that!
We will be working on this project on and off for the next few weeks.
To start our second hitch, we spent the first 3 days finishing up the 70 foot turnpike on Buck Creek trail that we began building on the previous hitch. Now it's complete and looking fantastic. Check out the photos below to see the finished product. The amount of rocks, crushed rocks, and dirt involved in this project was massive and necessitated a significant restoration effort when everything was completed. In addition, we added a layer of permeable felt between rock layers to allow water to drain while keeping the top layer of dirt in place. The turnpike will serve the trail well for decades to come and it's definitely a point of pride on our crew!
After finishing the turnpike, we soldiered on to the trail ahead, finding many areas that could use improvement. Principal among these needs was repairing the trail tread, and this was what we spent most of our time doing. In addition, we spent a good chuck of time brushing out the corridor and did a few hours worth of crosscut saw work. On our last day, a pair of hikers passed by and couldn't believe the difference from the overgrown and unmaintained upper section of the trail to the prim and open lower section that we were working on; "You're making this too easy for us!" they joked. We're just trying to make it pleasant and sustainable. Mission Accomplished.