Trail Love for Camp Holiday Trails - May 22, 2022

Charlottesville PATC members helped Camp Holiday Trails renovate some much used trails and also prepare the rest of the trail system for the upcoming camper season on Sunday, May 22. CHT is a year-round non-profit camp for children with medical needs aged 7-17 years old at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Charlottesville.  PATC trail maintenance leaders Bill Holman, Mark Perschel, and Marit Anderson had been contacted by the camp director, Tina LaRoche, for assistance in trail maintenance and advice for future upgrade of the most traveled sections. Mark and Marit inspected the camp trails in early May and with Bill's help set a plan in place.  Bill scheduled the Meet Up and on May 22 the leaders were joined by the following volunteers: Angela Daniel, Loran Zumbrunn, Jodi Frederiksen, Dave Abdallah, Anna Castle, Marie Moss, Karen Wilson, John Shannon, and a CHT Property Committee member (Jody).

Two groups were created to tackle the tasks.  Marit led Karen, Marie, and Angela doing vegetation cutback, sawing, and blowdown removal on the entire trail system, except Lucy's Landing.  Mark and Bill coordinated the team that did grading and mulching on the much-traveled waterfront trail. Temperatures had soared into the 90's over the weekend, so the event schedule had been revised to meet from 9am-noon.  Fortunately all of the work was completed in the three hours.  By then all were hot and sweaty!

Cold beverages and chocolate chip cookies were the rewards for the hard work.  After refreshments Marit offered a camp tour for those that had been working on the waterfront.  Anna and Loren took her up on the offer and got to see all of the features of this amazing place. Tina, Bill, Mark, and Marit plan to organize a fall event to do more projects on the CHT trails. Hope many can join us!

submitted by Marit Anderson


Mutton Hollow Spring Cleaning – April 30, 2022

 Anyone who thinks that working on trails is no fun should have joined sixteen humans and Remi the hiking dog on the last day of April at Mutton Hollow. Charlottesville Chapter President Bill Holman arranged for the effort to keep the trails in this lovely area in good shape.

We divided into two groups, one led by Mark and the other by Jodi and Dave. The two groups met up for lunch later in the day. Trees blocking trails were not a problem today, so we focused on removing a couple of invasive plants: wineberries and garlic mustard.  Mark also demonstrated how to improve trail drainage by using a McLeod, a two-sided tool.

In addition to enjoying the company of other outdoor enthusiasts today, we were treated to spring wildflowers, including trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Mayapple, and showy orchids. Dogwood trees were in bloom as well.

Afterwards, half the group extended the fun by stopping by Maybelle’s Market in Dyke for ice cream—a fine end to a fine day.

submitted by Marian Styles



Shenandoah National Park Service Day - April 23, 2022

April 23, 2022 was the "Show Your Love for Shenandoah" event and Charlottesville PATC had a group of nine volunteers to lend a hand on this service day for Shenandoah National Park. This was the inaugural year for the event and the hope is that it will become an annual celebration for SNP during National Park Week and National Volunteer Week. Over 130 volunteers were present from a wide variety of groups including Girl Scouts, JMU Give students, Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter/PATC, Appalachian Conservation Corps, and Shenandoah National Park Trust board, just to name a few. The Charlottesville PATC team included Brenda and Paul Stephens, Megan Thomas, Doug Stiles, Anne Colgate, Jocelyn Prostko, Lisa Swales, and leaders Mark Perschel and Marit Anderson.

The event began at 9 am in the Skyland Conference Center with continental breakfast provided and t-shirts given to all, followed by welcome speeches by park personnel. The volunteers were directed to the leaders of their team where paper work was signed, safety precautions given, PPE and tools handed out. Each group had different assignments throughout the park with a variety of tasks including trash clean-up, invasive plant pull, ditch clean-up, trail maintenance, dismantling picnic tables, washing decks and weed pulling at Rapidan Camp, clearing Tanner's Ridge land, and maintenance at overlooks. The Charlottesville PATC group was assigned to clear water bars, as well as create new water bars and drainages along the Appalachian Trail from Byrd's Nest #3 to Leading Ridge Trail.  With McLeods and pick mattocks in hand, the nine volunteers hiked the two miles to Byrd's Nest #3 Shelter. Mark gave everyone a tutorial on how to correctly make water bars and drainages. The members were paired up and then got to work! From the shelter we backtracked on the AT putting in the water mitigation devices, which was much needed on this section. We stopped at 1 pm to eat our boxed lunches provided by the SNP event and then wrapped up our work at 2:30 pm, so we could hike the 2 miles back to Jewel Hollow Overlook where our cars were parked. Everyone was sufficiently tired from the manual labor (25 drainages completed) and the hiking, but pleased with the work we had accomplished. We all had showed our love for Shenandoah today for sure!

submitted by Marit Anderson  and photos by Mark Perschel and Marit Anderson


Jump Rock Loop - April 3, 2022

 A group of 13 hikers collected to ascend Jump Rock near Goshen on a cold but bright April Sunday.  This hike had been requested by a couple of Valley hikers who had tried the loop on their own, but had trouble completing the loop.  We had a good mix of folks, including 10 Club members, 3 non-members, 6 hikers from the Charlottesville area, 6 Valley hikers, and one hiker local to Goshen.  Two hikers were new to PATC hikes.

The group started at 10AM and was done around 4:30.  There are many trail options towards the end of the hike, which takes hikers into or near BSA Camp Goshen, a scout camp owned by a council in Northern Virginia.  We took the Viewing Rock Trail to its end point, and then followed a camp road back to trails that returned us to our cars.  

This was a hike unlike any other in PATC experience! After lunch at Jump’s spectacular vista and enjoying Viewing Rock, we descended into BSA Camp Goshen to the sounds of nearby gunfire and encountered armed men in military camouflage uniforms. We ended up in the middle of military exercises conducted by VMI Cadets. There were multiple camoed cadets in the woods as we walked along a road, however a van stopped and assured us that no live ammunition was used in the exercise.

A little further down the road, we encountered a small group of cadet soldiers. I asked to take their photo with many from our group. They agreed because they had “5 minutes before a scheduled ambush.” It was a pretty wild experience!

Hikers included veterans Mike Hammer, John Brandt, Anne Cogate, Heather and Brian Denny, John Burkhardt, Jim Fye and Jean Stephens, along with hike leader Jeff Monroe. The hike leader had also hiked previously with Gaby and with Lavern. New to the group were Erin and Joy. It was a great and memorable hike!

Group shot with some of our hiking group and VMI Cadets on a training exercise.

The Jump Rock hike has legendarily steep ascents!

The "bushwhack" portion of the loop was more defined than I have ever seen it.

One hiker was a woman I worked with at UVA in the past.

Viewing Rock is always good for photos; maybe not so for hair.  

Recent upgrades to the bridge made it less rickety than in the past.

The view from Viewing Rock includes Lake Merriweather and BSA Goshen Scout Camp.


AT: Sinking Creek to Johns Creek, March 20, 2022

 Hikers from both the PATC's Charlottesville Chapter and Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter who are working to complete the entire Virginia AT hiked a portion of the AT near Blacksburg on a cold Sunday in March - a stark contrast from the previous day's warm hike!  This day featured sleet over much of the summit of Johns Creek Mountain. There were two groups: a southbound group led by Margaret Helber, and a northbound group led by Jeff Monroe.  The groups met near Kelly Knob and exchanged vehicle keys for the ride home but did not stop for lunch - too cold!