Regrading the A.T. at Ivy Creek

The Flying McLeods working by Ivy CreekThe Flying McLeods working by Ivy Creek

An astonishingly large crew of nine people turned out on yet another hot day to dig in the dirt on the Appalachian Trail going north from the Ivy Creek crossing.

Liz Young, Michael Groah, Mike and Karen Waterman, and John Recknagle (whom I met while manning the Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter’s Earth Day tent) joined regulars Al and Andre Dahler, John Shannon, and me.

On the way down, I pointed out two fairly large American Chestnut trees that Betty and found while doing our Chestnut Mega-Transect a few weeks ago. The diameters of the tree trunks were in the four- to five-inch range, and the trees are maybe 25 feet high. Both were in flower when we first spotted them. Now, one of them is developing the distinctive burr that holds the nuts (that usually feed bear).

We hiked down and deposited our gear at the creek crossing, which is the largest flat area where we could have lunch. I got the group started on slough and berm, then the Dahlers and I cut out a big oak that had fallen across the trail just south of the creek.

Most of these people had never done regrading before and I’ve got to say that they turned out some of the prettiest work we’ve done yet. We completed one-tenth of a mile, by John Shannon’s GPS reckoning, and it was table-top smooth and slightly tilted to drain water off the side.

Al and I still had a cluster of blowdowns near the Doyles River Trail to remove. Overseer Connie Wright was right-on with her reporting: the blowdowns were where she said they were. They ain’t there no more.

We met a lot of day-hikers and a few through-hikers still moving through, including Just Jill, whose ten–year-old son had joined her at Loft Mountain and will hike with her to Harper’s Ferry.

Our next project will tackle waterbars on the steep climb up the south side of Loft Mountain.

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