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Sidehilling near Tilson Gap

From front, David John, Rocky Beatty , Bill Medlin, B.D. Reese, Herb MacDonald, and a host of others rebuild trail. (Photo by Jon Firebaugh) Below, trail workers Jack Bookman, Worrill Campbell, Renee Clark, Paul Haag, Elliot Haag, David John, and Dave Steltz take a lunch break. (Photo by Tony Roberts)

Worktrip Report

October 2000

John Hartpence - Secretary
What a beautiful weekend for a worktrip. The leaves were in magnificent color and the weather was fantastic. The temperature got up into the high 60's each afternoon and the skies were a beautiful blue. At night you needed a light jacket, but the temperature only got down to the high 40's.

Once again PATH continued to have outstanding numbers of members and friends come for the weekend. In all we had 44 people present including 10 new people. We had guests all the way from Kalamazoo, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio.

The weekend began Thursday morning with breakfast at Cloverdale Kitchens in Winston. This was attended by Gordon Burgess, Ken Rose, Jeff Brown, Paul Haag, David John, Bill Boudman and John Hartpence. After a good breakfast we headed to the trail. We stopped by Forest Service to get the tools lined up for the weekend. It was then onto Stoney Fork to set up camp. Bill and Gordon took the sickle bar mower to West Jefferson for its winter checkup. While there they decided to visit the local sights-Church of the Frescoes, The Cheese Factory and Shatley Springs. They didn't even bring cheese back to camp for the rest of us (David John, Aslan and me) who had to go to Tilson Gap and scout the trail for the work weekend. Bill and Gordon Stopped by Beaver Dam #2. Everything is working fine. However, bad news to report. Bunky got hit by a train going to the pungeons and is no more. This is a great lost to our trail family. Bunky has worked so hard for us the last 2 years. Thursday night we all went in to Va. Heights for pork chops. We spent the evening with the campground hosts. The hosts over by the old campsite were leaving to go south on Friday. They said that they would return in the spring.

Friday Gordon let us sleep until the sky was light. We (David John, Bill Medlin, Gordon Burgess, Bill Boudman and John Hartpence) went to Va. Heights fro the Big Man's Breakfast. We stopped by Forest Service and pick up Pulaskies, Rakes and Hoes. We met David Hicks at Va. 610 and headed up the mountain to Tilson Gap to flag the areas we wanted to work on Saturday. Bill showed us where he believes the 3 county marker is located. We scouted the work of Konnarock on the Crawfish Valley side. Gordon painted blazes on the trees. After coming off the mountain we headed back to Stoney Fork and got ready for The Spaghetti Special at Va. Heights (Gordon's Favorite). Upon coming back to camp we got the fire ready for the members coming in. We visited around the campfire until about 11pm.

Saturday morning we were awakened by Gordon's famous car door slam. IT WASN'T EVEN LIGHT OUT YET! About 18 of us went to Va. Heights for breakfast. We then went by Forest Service and picked up the rest of the tools. We then proceeded to Va. 610 and the walk up to Tilson Gap. We had 32 people and 5 dogs to go up the mountain. We went up to the rock steps and began to work back. We worked in crews of 2 to 6. Andy Mitchell and Robbie Byrd made 8 rock steps and one rock water bar. David Hicks cut up Locust logs for waterbars. We sidehilled all the way down the mountain. We put in one rock waterbar, crushed rocks to make it easier going through rocky areas, threw limbs in areas where hikers were short cutting the trail, and put in about 5 waterbars. With all the hard working people that we had we got all the areas we marked on Friday done by 3pm. Vaughn and Doc Branham and Lin and Jan Benschops went to trail heads and picked up litter and also rolled the distance at Davis Path to the spring. They found the spring to be . 2 further than the book listed. Vaughn is in the process of rewriting the Southwest Virginia Manual. Paul Clayton, Marie, Jeff Brown, Matt Brown and Conner, a friend also worked on Litter pickup at the trail heads and visited the Beaver dam #2. The found the skeletal remains of a friend of Bunky's who also didn't make it across the railroad tracks.

Upon returning to camp we began to get ready for the evening feast. "Father Bill" Medlin made his famous chili and Parthena and Clint made their Enchiladas. We had assorted veggies, salads and other goodies. The desserts were great!! Worrill made he famous Chocolate Chip Cookies and Jack Bookman made brownies. After eating we were entertained by Jan Benshops on his guitar. He sang some original songs. Jan has opened for Peter, Paul, and Mary and John Denver in the past. We really enjoyed the music. We visited around the fire until everyone finally went to bed wore out from a good days work.

Sunday morning we all got up around 7am and cleaned up from last night. Most of us left camp around 8am. Vaughn and Doc were going to Va. 610 to wheel it to Tilson Gap. Many of us thought that it is more than 1.4 miles to the top as listed in the book. Vaughn will let us know.

The following people attended the work weekend:

Bill Boudman-3, John Hartpence-3, Gordon Burgess-3, David John-3, Bill Medlin-3, Dean Kanipe-3, Vaughn Branham-2, Doc Branham-2, Renee Clark, Paul Haag, Elliott Haag, Paul Clayton, Marie, Lin and Jan Benschops (new-Raleigh), Bob Normandy, Betsy Truscott, Worrill Campbell, Billy(Worrill's friend), Susan Unger (new-Chapel Hill),Jon Firebaugh, Tony Roberts, Sherry Roberts, David Stelts and Moose, Kevin Mar, Jack Bookman, Parthena Martin, Clint Kawanishi, Jeff Brown, Matt Brown, Conner (Matt's friend), Andy Mitchell, David Hicks-2, Robbie Byrd, Rocky Beatty(new-Charlotte), Herb MacDonald, Andrew Reese (Herb's grandson-Elkin), B.D.Reese (Herb's son-in-law-Elkin), Marcia Cope, Barry Hester, Diana Haywood (new-Pittsboro), Al Cergol (new-Bob Normandy's friend from Kalamazoo, Michigan) and Frank Skala (new-Bob's friend from Cleveland, Ohio).

From Thursday-Saturday we saw countless through hikers going south to Springer. Most left around the last weekend in May from Katadin. We met Nimblewill Nomad who is hiking from the International Trail in Newfoundland to Florida. He did this last year from South to North. This year from north to south. We met a couple from Alberta, Canada. They said they began hearing about the Partnership Shelter in Maine. Another young lady we met was a retired Navy officer. She was from Alaska. This is her second thru hike in two years. All the hikers complemented us on our trail. They have enjoyed Chestnut Knob Shelter and were looking forward to Partnership in a day or two. There is supposed to be a big party for the hikers there today (October 22) being put on by an Angel of the Trail.

This was great work trip. What a way to end the year 2000 worktrips--44 workers on the trail.

Thanks to all of you who attended the worktrip and for all the work that you did. This was a fantastic worktrip.

Happy Trails.

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