Week Two In the Wild


Hello again, Dear Readers,­­­ 

This week we continued our project on the Bison Way Trail, working our way up the mountain towards the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. Our project presented a lot of new challenges and learning opportunities, as the trail requires many drainage improvements due to copious amounts of rainfall and heavy usage. We began the week building check dams on a hill leading into a crick. These rock structures will serve to slow runoff and reduce erosion and sedimentation in the crick. We successfully installed five check dams and rehabilitated the crick (since things were a bit muddy by the week’s end). While we were digging in this area, we unearthed an old crosscut saw and handle, which will be documented and examined by the resident Forest Service archaeologist. How fun to be involved in discovering a relic of a bygone era! 

Reconstructing the entrance of the trail was a high priority project which we successfully completed this week. Time and weather had damaged the staircase at the trailhead and there were serious drainage issues with a small stream leading across the trail. To address these issues, we placed two 20-foot culverts in the ground, covered them with gravel, then rebuilt the staircase from the ground up. We also repaired and moved trailhead signage to make the entrance more aesthetically pleasing. 

Other work on the trail included installing check steps up a steep incline, root removal, and felling a robust oak tree in order to build a timber staircase next week. A heavy rainstorm on Friday put all of our hard work to the test. It was gratifying to see the results, as all of our structures performed as planned. 

During our adventures in the Gorge, we have encountered abundant wildlife including a rare red salamander, an eastern newt, crayfish, black widow spiders, and many white-tailed deer. This weekend, we plan to attend the Nada Tunnel Festival, a gathering to celebrate the community that has formed around the famous tunnel leading into the Red River Gorge (which we pass through on our daily commute to our work site!) We can’t wait to share all of our upcoming adventures with you next week… stay tuned! No more magic!