On May 8th, after, transplanting wetland grasses from one restoration site to another, I hopped into the Prius and and headed west towards Sherando Lake to meet up with my fellow Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club (TATC) for the annual Spring Walk Through. The TATC has taken on the responsibility to maintain over 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail plus the Mau Har trail and the trails in the Saint Mary's Wilderness area. So we gathered together last weekend for some recon.
After camping out at Sherando Friday night, tormented by a lovesick whippoorwill, we awoke to cloudy skies threatening rain. Here we are having breakfast before the recon survey...
As we were cleaning up from breakfast, we got the low-down on the maintenance work weekend details from Ranger Kelly.
I was assigned to hike the Mau Har trail with Mark, Dottie, and Michael. We entered the Mau Har trail at the Maupin Fields Shelter.
As we walked along, Mark took notes on all the downed trees that needed to be taken down, all the water diversion structures that needed to be built, and the tools that would be needed for the work weekend coming up.
We hiked as we traded stories, and admired the beautiful surroundings. A light rain began to fall so we donned rain gear, but it was pleasant going. As we went, we admired the work that had been done by TATC volunteers that had come before us. This notch cut in a slippery rock face made the trail passable - a tribute to Bill Rogers.
I learned a new trail term on this trip - a PUD. This picture was taken on one of the few PUDs on the Mau Har trail - Pointless Up and Downs!
The rain was filling the creeks along the trail, and it was great to see all the little waterfalls along the way. The fly fisherman in me kept wishing I had brought my rod so I could see if I could coax a native brook trout from the many plunge pools we saw.
There were also lots of cool rock structures to see on the Mau Har Trail. This one had water seeping over it so it was covered with a carpet of luxurious moss.
Along the trail, there were flowers everywhere. Dottie kept a photo log of what we saw. There was mountain laurel, rhododendron, and the beautiful azaleas.
We completed somewhere between 5 and 6 miles of trail recon and then made our way back to base camp at Sherando Lake. As the other volunteers returned we heard all the stories of downed trees and, unfortunately, trash that was defiling the St. Mary's Wilderness area.
Marcus entertained us with bird calls on his e-reader. We talked story as we fired up our camp stoves, reconstituted dehydrated foods of various kinds, and ate dinner. We stayed up until the trail miles hung heavy on our eye lids and we tucked into sleeping bags for the night.
We arose the next morning with great anticipation as Mark and Scott treated all the volunteers to a celebration meal of pancakes, bacon, and sausage patties and links! In the TATC - you eat!
It was a great weekend - with friends - spent in service of TATC and our fellow backpackers.
(white) blaze on my friends!