Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kirkland Creek Trail Maintenance

The Chronicler's new boots needed a trial, plus, she was just itchin' to get out on some trail, somewhere. So, she heard about Betty getting a crew together to do some trail maintenance at Bald River. Jumping in without a thought, (something she does on occasion), the Chronicler volunteers. The crew from the Chattanooga area included Betty, John, Monty, Don, and the Chronicler. It was only after they were on the road up to Tellico, she learned they were going to Kirkland Creek.

"Rhut-ro," she thought. (Having been there before and knowing about those infamous creek crossings and knowing she did not bring her water shoes.) She looked at her cutsie black flipflops and knew right then they were goners.

After breakfast at Hardee's in Tellico, we were soon on the backside of nowhere on a short cut Betty knew to the trailhead. We traveled in and out of dips on the mountain and then around the ridgetop for a great view, at one point disturbing a hawk who perched on a limb near the road.

Finally, we arrived at the trailhead where two trucks were parked. Betty recognized them and knew the other volunteers were already hard at work on blowdowns on the trail.
With loppers in hand, plus, Donald's rope tied around his waist in case it was needed, we were crossing the first creek. Sure 'nuf, a flipflop was sucked off in the mud and gentlemen, Donald, actually stuck his hand in the black muck and dug around to find them! Talk about a sweetheart!!

Betty took off and we all began cutting dog hobble and foliage over and near the trail. Some poison ivy was spotted and the Chronicler instructed John to take care of that. After a while when she was sure they had gone at least a mile, Donald corrected that to maybe 1/2 mile. :-(  This trail maintenance work is slow going! We had lost Betty right after we got started, so we ended up stopping for a cool-down and lunch about 1:30pm without her. Afterward, we bumped in to her as she came back looking for us. This is when we were informed that the 'real' work was at mile 3. Uh ho... off, we went in search of mile 3 which was 2 or 3 creek crossings ahead. It was recommended to the Chronicler by Donald that she stop at one of the creeks before mile 3 and start back, lopping at the foliage we were leaving in our haste.

The Chronicler worked quite a bit in solitude..kinda of nice! While she was thus occupied, Betty came back down the trail, and then the other volunteers who had been working on the blowdowns, Bill, Ken, Jim, and Bobby, passed by on their way back. Eventually, we all were back at the trucks. We found out there were some other guys 'out there somewhere' working on the far end of the trail. Jim and Bobby get extra credit in the Chroniclers' eyes because she found out they are actually back country horse riders and Kirkland Creek is not designated for that!

A good, hard days work. Maybe it didn't all get done, but it helped a lot. Hopefully, lots of folks will enjoy the trail a bit more. Especially, the car campers attending Betty's planned weekend nearby in August.

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