VHTRC Work Party 2001March 10, 2001
Go to Photos | New Trail Description by Keith Knipling
On March 10, 2001, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club held its annual work party on the trails of the Lee Ranger District, George Washington National Forest. Thirty people came out for the event, a record for the club. We accomplished a great deal and had fun at the same time.
Many groups have performed countless hours of work on the trails in the Massanutten Mountains. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club volunteers are the champs and the Old Dominion Ride also does a great deal. We are late comers to this effort, but for the last four or five years we have done more and more of our share. This year, building on the work that went before, we were able to complete a dream of many people, a mountain hiking trail that encircles Fort Valley. You can now go from Elizabeth Furnace to the Chrisman Hollow Road by Waterfall Mountain and back on a trail without retracing your steps.
The final link in the circuit was "Ed's Trail" that goes from Moreland Gap to Jawbone Gap. Finishing that link was the major accomplishment of our work day. (The trail has no official name, other than the Massanutten Mountain West Trail, but we have named it the way everything else got named out there, through usage.)
The work actually started the day before when Gary and Keith Knipling removed many of the remaining trees on the path of Ed's Trail. (We had cleared part of the way in February.) Their help was invaluable to our overall success.
Saturday started early as the participants came from all over to meet either at the Vienna Metro Station parking lot or at the trail heads. After a wonderful breakfast of hard bagels, we broke into five teams.
Two of the teams blazed and cleared the Massanutten Mountain West Trail over Kerns Mountain. This new section is rough and slow with wonderful views of the Shenandoah Valley. It is now blazed and clear of all but four or five down trees that are easy to step over. Carolyn Gernand and I led these two teams.
Larry DeHof led a team down Waterfall Mountain. This toughest climb on the course had pine trees growing in the middle of the trail. It is now clear.
There was, of course, the group that finished up Ed's Trail. This involved a great deal of brush clearing and moving of earth and rock. Ed's Trail is still very young, but it's a lot better than the road section it will replace on the old course.
Finally, a group cleared the MMW trail over Short Mountain. The VHTRC adopted this trail several years ago. It the favorite section of the MMT for most runners. At least that is the section they all talk about the most! It is very long and hard.
Completing Ed's Trail and blazing the Kerns Mountain trail were substantial, tangible accomplishments. While our work will make MMT a better event, it will help all trail users. We blazed the Kerns Mountain Trail both directions even though we will only go south bound for MMT. Actually, we will put ribbons up there and didn't need the blazes at all. But hikers will be able to use them all year.
The VHTRC work party is now a traditional part of our annual calendar. It's something we can do together with the fast and slow runners working hand-in-hand. Each participant will be able to look at the rock or limb she moved or the blaze he painted and say, "I did that!" It's a good feeling.
The VHTRC thanks all of those who participated in this year's work. If anyone wants to do more work on the trails of the Massanuttens, I can get you in touch with people who would love to put you to work.
Post-Work Liquid Replacement
Description: Gap Creek Aid Station to Moreland Gap Aid Station