SNP Central Trails: November 21, 2020

 A small group of four PATC hikers and one dog explored various trails in the SNP Central District on Saturday, November 21.  The hike started at the Bearfence Parking Lot on the Skyline Drive.  While Michael Seth, Dianne Anderson, and Nancy Handley explored the Bearfence Trail, hike leader Jeff Monroe and dog Gracie took the parallel Appalachian Trail since dogs are not allowed on Bearfence.  

The group met up again on the southern intersection of the two trails and continued south on the AT to the Meadows School Trail.  Following this trail to the SNP western boundary, the group inspected some recent development just outside of the park.  

After climbing back up to the Skyline Drive, the hikers lunched at the Bearfence Hut and then continued south on the AT to the Lewis Mountain Trail, which they followed to its end.  The group's return was through the now seasonally closed Lewis Mountain Campground and picnic area, and then north on the AT back to their cars.  

Total hike length was 9 miles, with a total ascent of 2325 feet.  Minimum elevation was 2271 feet at the western boundary of SNP, and maximum elevation was 3609 feet on the Bearfence Trail.  The hike took just under 6 hours to complete.


Chapter Elections for 2021-22

 A core group of dedicated Charlottesville Chapter members gathered on a dreary Sunday afternoon on the grounds of PATC's Dunlodge Cabin to elect officers for 2021-2022.  

Congratulations and thanks go to the following folks who stepped up to serve the Chapter!  

Elected this day were:

Bill Holman, President (standing, on the right end of the photo below in the blue knit hat)
David Abdallah, VP
Margaret Helber, Treasurer

The Chapter looks forward to better times ahead!


Trail Maintenance on the AT from Ivy Creek Overlook - SNP- Sunday, October 18, 2020

Nine volunteers came out to do trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park starting from Ivy Creek Overlook and going south towards Loft Mountain on Sunday, October 18.  Marit Anderson and Mark Perschel were the crew leaders and the project was formulated to help new trail overseers, Lisa and Molly Swales with their newly adopted trail.  Marit, Mark, and Lisa are hiking friends from Crozet, so the inception of a trail work day event occurred as miles were being covered together over the late summer. Lisa and her daughter, Molly, a senior at Western Albemarle High School, love to hike together and now will maintain this trail in the southern district of SNP.

The work for the day included building waterbars and cutting back vegetation.  Dave Bowen, PATC southern SNP District Trail Manager, organized a Boy Scout Troop work day along this trail earlier in the year, but there was still more to be done. The mighty volunteers for the included Rosemary Eyre-Brook, Anna Castle, Margaret Helber, Dianne Anderson, Mark Perschel Jr.,  and Molly and Lisa Swales. Our group met at Ivy Creek Overlook parking lot at 9 am with SNP Ranger/volunteer coordinator, Jessica Kusky, there to do a safety talk, sign liability forms, and hand out hardhats and eyewear.  Marit and Mark covered Covid safety protocol and tool safety, then distributed McLeods, pickaxes, loppers, and shears. Two groups were created to ensure safe distancing - a waterbar building group and a vegetation cutting group. The crew set out on the AT following Lisa and Molly to the designated work area.  It was a gorgeous autumn day with a slight breeze and leaves adorning the trees in full colorful glory.  Everyone was happy to be out helping on the trail on such a day! We worked for two hours, met for lunch at a beautiful overlook, and then worked another 2 hours, switching tasks so that all got to learn how to make waterbars and all got a chance to tackle the overgrowth.  We made our way back to the parking lot at 3 pm.  It was a very successful day with 16 waterbars created and much vegetation cut back, widening the path.  We wish Lisa and Molly best of luck on their new role as trail maintainers!

submitted by Marit Anderson. Photos by Marit Anderson, Mark Perschel, Margaret Helber.

Women's Trail Work Day - Wild East Women/ATC/PATC - October 17, 2020 at Ramsey's Draft Wilderness-West Augusta County

On Saturday, October 17, Marit Anderson and Lynn Cameron (from SSVC) led a Women's Trail Work Day in conjunction with Wild East Women, an affinity group from ATC promoting women on the trails and women to be stewards of the trail.  The focus of the day was to cut back vegetation on Jerry's Run in Ramsey's Draft Wilderness. The group of eleven met at Confederate Breastworks in West Augusta county at 9:30 am, had introductions and a safety talk including Covid protocol, then collected their loppers, hand pruners, hardhats, and eyewear.  Lynn was the leader down the Shenandoah Mountain Trail and then to the worksite on Jerry's Run with a brief stop at the former site of the PATC Sexton Cabin.  We admired the virgin forest, large pines, and hemlocks as Lynn told the story about the timbers of the cabin being moved multiple times and now resting at the Mutton Top Cabin where many of us have stayed. The group hiked along Ramseys Draft, enjoying the fall colors and gorgeous weather.  It was a perfect day to do trail maintenance - cool, but sunny.  We broke into two groups and pruned back the overgrowth, leapfrogging each other until lunch time, then resuming work until 2:15 pm.  At that point we had to hike out and were back at the parking lot around 4 pm.  We hiked almost 8 miles to get to the work site and back, so all got a good workout for the day.  It also made many in the group realize that trail work in remote areas can be quite a task for the maintainers. It was fun to work together, make some new friends and see old acquaintances since the pandemic has kept so many isolated. A very special thank you to the volunteers: Sandra Crawford, Nancy Handley, Jocelyn Prostko, Cheri Acker, Anne Colgate, Linda Beights, Nancy Kern, Barbara Martin, and Angela Cantow.  Mimi Kaylor was not able to make it at the last minute due to an injury.  The women came from as far as northern Virginia to participate.  Special appreciation to Lynn Cameron for sharing her knowledge of the area and guiding us through this beautiful wilderness. We hope her work promoting Shenandoah Mountain as a future National Scenic Area will be successful.  More Wild East Women trail work events will be planned for 2021- Marit is the co-chair for the group and will coordinate with Charlottesville PATC to encourage women to hike, backpack and help maintain the trails.😍

submitted by Marit Anderson, photos by Marit Anderson, Lynn Cameron, Barbara Martin



Shenandoah Mountain Trail maintenance - September 13, 2020

Charlottesville PATC Chapter and the Southern Shenandoah Valley PATC Chapter cooperated on a work trip on the beautiful Shenandoah Mountain Trail. Lynn Cameron's Crew started on the northern end of the trail and Barbara Martin's group, including Anne Colgate, Mark Perschel, Marit Anderson and Michael Seth worked about 4 miles north of Rt. 250. We had a wonderful day with the weather cooperating, keeping social distance but being able to chat. At the end of the work day we were happy with our progress and a little more of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail had been cleared.

submitted by Barbara Martin