Saturday, July 9, 2011

SummitCorps - Thursday July 14, 2011


It was very foggy this morning, with temperatures lower than any other day of the week. I put on a long sleeve T shirt, but packed a short sleeve for the afternoon. Breakfast was once again various packaged foods, including cereal bars, granola and trail mix. Nothing spectacular, but there was hot coffee and plenty of drinking water.

We returned to the same spot as before, and since we had connected our trail to the crew working near us, we went over trail sections we had cut before for finish work. One of the challenges of the day was removing a number of logs that were on the side of the trail, stuck together in a way that was likely to cause water to back up, or more logs to cover the trail. There was also continued work on a section that was very rocky; we pulled out the largest rocks, then rearranged some of the to make a passable trail. Once that was done, we took buckets and buckets of top soil to the low spot.

Much of the day was spent fine tuning sections of trail work by viewing the grade by eye, measuring the slope with a MacLeod, and digging out the high spots that would cause future rain to collect on the trail instead of running off. The work was demanding, and much less rewarding than blazing trail, seeing how far one can get ahead.

One of my tasks on Wednesday and Thursday was working on a slope that seemed to have about 4 inches of top soil, embedded with many rocks. Once I found the clay underneath, that meant a lot more soil and rock removal to keep the track usable. A side effect was using that material for fill dirt in other low spots. We needed to keep going back over different sections to pull the duff aside, again making sure the trail would drain.


- photo bucket
- blogspot


SummitCorps - Wednesday July 13, 2011


Yesterday I tried to blog using the iPad, and though I can type mainly correctly into the little floating, moving windows, editing pictures and grafting them onto the blog is painful. I spent $30 for an Apple brand dongle, that merely connects the pad to the SD card, because, well it doesn't matter why. It just is that way. The pictures look nice when moved from the camera to the pad, but I've not found a way to crop or shrink them (don't need the entire 1MB JPEG to be uploaded or downloaded, really), and of course, once uploaded to most sites I can't find the URL of the image with any built-in tools that I have found. It's rather silly to have to go find an "app" to view the source code of a web page.

So I'm back to the PC.

Today I felt better physically, though mentally it is still a challenge to be out here far from home.

We kept hearing dogs howling for the past few days, and learned that the National Park seems to have wild dogs. I guess there aren't enough bears to keep the canine population down. The park rangers said they'd like to get rid of the dogs.

Today's trail work was more physical than before, as we needed to move a lot of rocks out of the tread, along with more top soil mixed with the rocks than in prior days.

We saw a bit more wildlife, though I'm not sure why, including chipmunks, various insects, and a few birds and butterflies.

Our trail connected to the next group's, but we need to do a bit of finish work on the tread and on the drainage before we decide it's good. Digging through the rock, top soil, roots, and then grading it is tough on the muscles.

There was a section of serious rock work, where the first of our crews to the location pulled out several large rocks, and by large I mean 2 to 3 feet across. But once those were pulled out, more rocks were found below them. So we'll need to level it out somehow, anchoring and leveling the rocks so the trail is passable on a mountain bike. We're doing "blue trail" meaning the tread is 24 inches wide, or as Bryce calls it "Sweet Single Track."

Picture from day one - The Summit, slightly visible as a mound of dirt on the hill across the highway from the National Guard Armory

The Summit

SummitCorps - Tuesday July 12, 2011

The second morning of onsite Summit Corps trail work started similarly to Monday - reveille at 5:45 am, meeting for breakfast at 6:30, bus ride starting before 7, and at the site by around 8 am. The food was similar to yesteryday, Philmont trail breakfast and lunch, with oranges and apple juice for breakfast along with various bars, cookies and dehydrated fruit, and crackers, cheese and other packaged goods for lunch.

When we started down the trail, it looked like we would be making progress at the same rate as Monday, but we soon hit a section of rocky soil that slowed us down. Not too many tools could be used in that section, and it became a debate how deep to dig, not to mention what to do with the rocks pulled out. We typically would be putting them on the uphill side of the trail. The rocks could be used later for fill areas, such as from pulling out a stump or fallen log.

Our crew works with different tools, though as the days pass many seem to have a favorite task or area to work on, such as blazing the trail (corridor clearing), cutting small stumps with a pick mattock or cutter mattock, or breaking trail tread with the "Rouge hoe", etc,

There were also more difficult sections of trail to build today, with obstacles such as tree trunks, stumps, and insect attacks including bees and mosquitoes.

Picture links (stupid iPad)



SummitCorps - Monday July 11, 2011


Monday started early at SummitCorps, with real bugle reveille at 5:45, assembly at 6:30, and bus departure before 7AM. The food was a "Philmont breakfast", as was the lunch, but fortunately coffee was available. I drank little, just in case the bus ride was longer or bumpier than predicted. The "20 minute" ride was more like 30, making it seem like our work site is in another county, if not state, from the Bechtel Family Summit.

We had a tool talk, short work assignments, and then we got to work. Water breaks were hourly, and for the people from western stated (like Colorado), the humidity was painful. As I'm used to yard and trail work in this climate, there was not a huge inconvenience for me, and I kept drinking water at a good clip.

Lunch on the trail was around noon, consisting of bagged food like chips, fruit bars, granola, etc., along with a can of ham loaf. It was tasty enough, and filling, but we looked forward to the country fried steak for dinner.

We worked almost 200 yards of finished trail, with another 100-plus of rough cut into a dense thicket of green briers and other growth. We stopped when we got to Point CB5B, which you may or may not be able to find on the site updates.

The drop point was near "Rocky Top Retreat", a low key collection of tents and outbuildings that looks like a way station for the whitewater rafting and other local activities. I think they will benefit from the trail work we're doing.

The Lodge Chief and I started on a plywood sign that will represent the Nentico Lodge flap. We had fun trying to eyeball the design and use the paints available to create a reasonable facsimile.

Pictures, if I'm lucky.

SummitCorps - Sunday July 10, 2011


I was hoping to be able to post updates from SummitCorps on a daily basis, expecting that even if I could not get connectivity on the trail, I'd have it at the base camp. I was hoping Glen Jean, West Virginia was going to have a cell tower nearby. There may be, but my phone, when it show service, is on extended or roaming staus, and I have yet to get a data packet up or down from here. So I'm writing this as if it will be posted soon, and hope that somehow I can. If you read this before Saturday, then I get through the matrix. My car is parked several miles away, where there is coverage, but getting there before the end of the week is problematic.

The drive to West Virginia was only a bit longer than my estimates, and there was only a short period near the end that I grew weary of driving. To alleviate the fatigue, we pulled into a State information center. After chatting with the two people on duty, we found out on is an Eagle Scout and Cub Scout leader. He knew about "The Summit" and expressed his appreciation that we were working on the project.

I was prepared for conversations with the Lodge Chief on the drive, knowing that I needed to chat so my mind didn't wander. We covered many topics, from the past and future OA Conclaves, to the picnic last Saturday, to the City Scouting initiatives, as well as my career and visions of his future.

Checkin was fairly smooth, though something went wrong with our deposits. We found out the Summit is not far away, but as it is under construction, we were not going to get any tours of the site. We drove the wrong way trying to find the National Guard armory, and saw the gate and guardhouse entrance. You can see a mound of dirt at the top of the hill from the armory.

The route that we came into the area by the SummitCorps base camp, we did not see the New River Gorge bridge, but it's not far and people told us to check it out Saturday. It's closed one day per year for BASE jumping. Most of the project attendees will be doing whitewater rafting on the river Friday, though I an scheduled for mountain biking.