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mountain squid

nice day for maintenance, part 2

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While the day started off rather cold (in the 20s), it warmed up quickly. The sun was out and doing its best to melt some of the snow. However, the snow that hadn't melted already, appeared to be tucked away in areas that don't receive direct sunlight. No matter, a little snow never stopped us before.

Assignments and tools were handed out. We were splitting into 2 crews at Spivey Gap. One crew was going in here after some blow downs. They took the chainsaw with them. Shucks . . . I was hoping for some chainsaw action . . . My crew was heading to another access point which was not too far away, but a little further North on the trail.

My crew finally made it to our final destination. There was a little bit of snow and ice on the ground.

Remember the chainsaw . . . Our first maintenance trip of the year unfortunately resulted in our first maintenance casualty of the year. We weren't even on the AT yet and Oh my goodness, the blood . . . would it ever stop . . . . and the agonizing screams were ear shattering . . . . I am still having nightmares of that horrifying scene . . . . Jack had inadvertently walked into some green briers. He got tangled up and cut his lip a little bit. He survived (and the chainsaw was still back with the other group).

To get to the AT we had a short hike uphill. Once on the AT we headed North towards No Business Knob Shelter. We would clear any obstructions and repair any damaged trail on the way. If we made it all the way to the shelter it would have been about a 5-6 mile roundtrip. Easy day.

Well, after about 20 minutes of hiking, someone (Ken) came up with an alternate mission. A couple of us could walk all the way to Erwin and then get picked up there. The mission would actually be pretty much the same, but now our leisurely stroll of several miles would turn into a march of almost 9 miles. Jim volunteered right away and, not wanting The Marines to show up The Navy, I quickly did too. Air Force and Army would have needed some extra means of conveyance to make it that far . . . and since we didn't have the 'Cart from Hell', it was just me and Jim. (In case you are wondering, all of the Armed Forces are represented in our club, and they could have made the hike as well.)

Off me and Jim (or should it be Jim and I?) went. We figured to get to the shelter first and then start maintaining. We passed some challenging blow downs that the other group would have to work on. They'd be busy.

We got to the shelter right at about noon, so we stopped and had some chow. The shelter was a mess. It almost looked like someone was living there. Almost. An old synthetic sleeping bag was there as well as some propane canisters, not to mention 6 quarters, a ramen noodle or two, a Frisbee and alot of trash. I hesitated to pack out the sleeping bag. I didn't want someone returning from a town run only to find their sleeping bag missing. Well, I took the bag, so hopefully that didn't happen (I reckon if you are missing a sleeping bag, you can send me a PM).

On the way into Erwin we cleared 15 blow downs, leaving 2 for another day and a bigger saw. The trail was in good condition otherwise. My feet were a little sore when we finally made it to the trailhead. Uncle Johnny's is nearby so we went there to wait for our ride. It was about 45 minutes or so.

It was a great day for maintenance (Where were you?) and afterwards several us had some great chili (Thanks Jim).

See you on the trail,
Tim aka
mt squid