On June 1st, “National Trails Day,” the PATC Charlottesville Chapter teamed up with a Charlottesville based hiking Meetup site, “GetHiking! Charlottesville” to sponsor trail work on a section of the Great Eastern Trail in Bath County, Virginia. Although turnout was somewhat disappointing (9 total trail workers, including 8 PATC members plus the GetHiking! Trail Lead), the results were encouraging.
The section of trail was once known as the Walnut Tree Hollow Trail (also described as the “Walnut Hollow Trail” and the “old Piney Mountain Trail” in the PATC’s Trail Guide to Great Eastern Trail, 2018 First Edition). Due to its remoteness, it may be the most poorly maintained section of GET in all of Virginia. (It is over an hour-and-a-half drive each way from Charlottesville to the trailhead.) Chapter President Jeff Monroe had hiked portions of this trail segment twice in 2018, attempting to complete the trail from both ends, but found the trail impassible. (Description here: Link.)
The nine hikers changed the trail’s status to “passable” with their work on June 1, but additional work trips will be needed to get the trail section into any kind of quality condition, and several very large downed trees were beyond the certifications of any participant on this trip. The trail remains overgrown over much of its lower elevation, but sections were trimmed back extensively. Downed trees were eliminated as much as time and the group's expertise permitted - we did not have any USFS certified chain sawyers with us, so all sawing was done by hand.
On the return trip, the group stopped at the recently opened Skipping Rock Brewery outside of Staunton to discuss their day over beer and food. CJ was not successful at Jenga, much to the group's entertainment!
Thanks to all the hikers who helped transform this formerly impassible trail!