Tag: Appalachian Trail

Keeping Folks Walking On The Appalachian Trail (vs around it)

V-Shaped Waterbar on Appalachian Trail

The picture probably doesn’t look like much. What you are looking at though is something that co-volunteer Bob Andrew saw on the AT in North Carolina. Gene, the current Ridge Runner at Annapolis Rocks has a great name for that, V-Checkdams.

I’m talking about that angled log located below the big log. To digress for just a second, we call these logs waterbars. What they do is hold back eroding soil and level the trail tread so it’s not just a rut. When you put in a big log (you take what you can get [i.e. is close by] and move in this business), many hikers find the step up difficult and cheat so walk around. This widens the trail and creates more erosion.

So Bob Andrews ingenious solution here works like magic. Immediately after installing on of the V-Waterbars, hikers magically walk right down the center of the Appalachian Trail. I call this Trail Magic. There is a little irony here in that many novice hikers see a waterbar and think it’s a step — yet this V-Waterbar actually is a step.

That’s the first one I put in. So far 6 are in place, and probably and equal number to be installed over the summer.


V-shaped Waterbar on Pine Knob - Appalachian Trail
V-shaped Waterbar on Pine Knob – Appalachian Trail

Volunteering on the Appalachian Trail at Annapolis Rock

Capture of atpineknob.com showing home page (Pine Knob Shelter in photo)
Capture of atpineknob.com showing home page (Pine Knob Shelter in photo)

Over the last year that I’ve been working here on the AT between Pine Knob and Annapolis Rock, there have been lots of folks have been inquiring about how to help out. In the past I’ve handed out cards with contact information for the South Mountaineers Trail Crew (which can be found on the PATC Website – see link below).  Yesterday though, I decided to set up a volunteer organization website to build up a group of interested folks and have a way to communicate work events and schedules. So wander over there if you want to help out and Volunteer on the Appalachian Trail at Annapolis Rock.

The site is named atpineknob.com, and I choose that because Annapolis Rock is a little ambiguous. The official name is ‘Annapolis Rock’ without an S as seen on the cropped map image below. Yet the name is written all of the time as Annapolis Rocks, so I choose Pine Knob instead since the name is pretty straight forward. Pine Knob is the name of the hill you climb as you walk from the trail head toward Annapolis Rock and is where a lot of effort is required because of the slope there.

Map Clip of PATC Map - Annapolis Rock
Map Clip of PATC Map – Annapolis Rock


So please visit our Maryland AT Volunteering Website and join us. It’s a work in progress and much more content will be there soon.

Other volunteer opportunities exist including the South Mountaineers – now in it’s 25th year. Visit the PATC Website and choose newsletters for the schedule for the South Mountainers Trail Crew.

Carrot and Stick After 1 Month

The stone has almost vanished after a month and only 1 real rain. Should be out of sight soon as it rained again yesterday and more is supposed to come in a couple days. 42 bags of gravel, 50 lbs each gone. But not really. The stone adds support to the base and should keep things from becoming a sloppy mess making people walk other pathways that are not desirable for us AT maintainers.

Update: 2017 June: This really worked well. The stone pushed in and is firm. Water from all the rain lately has run off and only a few places had standing water.

Applachian Trail Along I-70 After a Month
Applachian Trail Along I-70 After a Month Stone Mostly Pushed Into Trail Tread  (Feb 2017)

Giving back

Before trimming
Appalachian Trail in Maryland before trimming


I’m one of these folks that feel they have a duty to return the favor for what others have done. An example of this is the Appalachian Trail, a marked foot trail in the Eastern US that is about 2,000 miles long and spans uninterrupted from Maine to Georgia. The AT, as it’s called, is a local treasure and a nice place to take a leisurely walk with our dog, find a nice view and have lunch.  The AT was built by and is still maintained by a hoard of volunteers. An endless task and always more to do there there is time

Trimmed, 1st day
Appalachian Trail in Maryland after first days trimming



I try to help out as often as I can. Here’s a few pictures of some work we’ve done recently, with more to come in the future. This is a section of the Appalachian Trail that passes under a powerline with a cleared right of way and so it gets a lot of sun. Since it’s in the wild, with full sun, the wild plants grow, well, like wild, and one of the gnarliest of the all is multi-flora rose. One mean rose. The first and second picture are from June 10,  and the final clean shot is from June 25.  A nice section to walk through without the poison ivy, wild rose or ticks attacking.

Appalachian Trail in MD after trimming
Appalachian Trail Under Power Lines all done