Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trees, Trails, And Tree Trunk Cribbing

The Carefree Crew and 6 volunteers worked hard on Saturday and Sunday May 30,31. Opening a new leg on the section which they began work on the previous weekend. Click here to see previous week: previous weekend

This is a nice section through a forest filled with oak, maple, locust, poplar, and hickory trees. The trail lays level and is a comfortable walk.

Though it may look simple, this section has quite a bit of survey, design, and engineering details that make it successful. The challenges of this section lay in the steep slope of the hill side and the proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway below. As shown, the parkway is very close to the precipice of the cut made in the creation of the BRP many years ago. Working under the mentoring of Professor Allen deHart, we developed the design and did the engineering as necessary utilizing a variety of trail cribbing methods for safety and for tread support.
This photo shows the use of locust tree trunks below the trail to prevent rockfalls during trail cutting as well as accidents created by future hikers.
In the photo above an example of using tree trunk cribbing to support and create a stable edge to the trail can be seen.
These precautions and design features are well indicated as necessary in the diagrammed photo above and below.

The use of cribbing and protective tree trunk rockfall safety guards is more work and requires more time to design and create. But it insures the trail will be long lasting and safe.
All trees were cut from down and dead locust found near the trail or cut and felled standing dead locust adjacent to the trail. Most trunks ranged from 6 - 12 inches in diameter. Locust of any size is very hard wood and difficult to cut.
A variety of methods for getting the long logs out was employed. The old guys used ropes and improvised rollers (other small round cuts) to drag the logs down.
This method was demonstrated by Chris and allowed Shelton, Ted, and Barry to be able to keep ahead of the trail crew. Thanks MST Volunteers!

The younger men were more likely to work as a team and pick up the huge logs and carry them down hill to the trail.
There is nothing easy about moving an 24 foot, 10 inch locust tree trunk out of the forest. But, working with muscle the youngsters could move the trunks faster than we volunteers of the elder generation.
Of course we all pitched in and helped any way we could to move the trail forward together.
This is the area we are working. From several points along the way, the view is remarkable. Especially in the winter. Looking Southeast from this point, Wilkesboro and Lenior lies below. This is the edge of the blue ridge escarpment as seen from the Stony Fork Valley overlook.

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