Gap Run/Rocky Mount Loop - July 09, 2016

submitted by Gabriel Garretson

     Twelve hikers joined hike leader, Gabriel Garretson (Pete Fink was co-leader) on a warm July day to hike a custom version of the Gap Run/Rocky Mount loop starting from Route 628 near Gabriel & Inanna’s home. Brad Young, Mike Seth, Pete & Bev Fink, Lindsay Brown, Tora Powell, Brian Muszynski, James McAdams, David Crowe, John Brant, Dave Borszkh, and Suzanna Williams all enjoyed the hike.  The overall hike was 7.5 miles long with 21oo feet of ascent. The hike was strenuous, 2 miles of steep up and 2 miles of steep down, but everyone was up to the challenge.  We had a great opportunity to review nature’s quick recovery process after the recent Rocky Mount fire.


Appalachian Trail clearing - July 2, 2016

submitted by John Shannon

     A last minute decision to cut some summer growth was a reason no-one else was available to cut vegetation on the AT north of Rockfish Gap. Relearning how to operate a string trimmer, and working out how to carry extra fuel delayed actual clearing. Where the trail leaves the side of Skyline Drive and enters the woods had tall plants, and what seemed like more poison ivy that in the past. After that, the growth was noticeable, but did not block the trail. However hikers probably feel happier with poison ivy cut back from the trail. I brake for bittersweet, stopping to pull a few plants, which were not deterred by the sight of other bittersweet plants pulled out of the ground and left to dry on logs previously. A ridge runner report some blowdowns. None seemed major obstacles, although a nuisance to step over. They will be part of a future work trip. In the mile and  quarter cleared, a surprising number of people walked by, grateful for the work.