Sunday, August 16, 2009

08-08-09 On the trail, sweet rest, and volunteer efforts

I was happy to have my favorite trail companion with me for this walk about. Callie is my daughters dog and is the best trail dog ever! A reminder, dogs on the parkway trails are permitted only if leashed and under command at all times. This photo was taken at the top of Section 2 on the north end, east side of the parkway. At the top is the perfect resting place, try to make it to there on the walk through, as Callie shows, its the place to rest your dogs.... (see below for where to rest your tired dogs (feet) ;-)
So me and my shadow, my doggie and me, began the ascent from the north to the south on Section two. Light and shadow will always catch my eye and on this day it was a real treat to watch.
No, my head is not really that big, it is the shadow of my brimmed trail hat while I was taking a photo!
I thought this was a precise and clean cut edge. It looks so simple, but there were many stones to be dug out of this stretch.
Some of which had been left in this switchback. Finally they were removed
and this nice tight step less turnaround was accomplished in the second switchback.
The trail progress through a really huge fern forest.
Making a gentle climbing curve through ferns that are knee deep.
And above and below trail for the entire hillside.
This is an example of one of the stones that had to be dug out of the trail. Only the top portion, just above the white strike mark in the center was sticking up out of the dirt. At first it had been left as a step up. But we decided it needed to come out and first tried to break it with a sledge hammer (making the strike marks). That did not work and eventually after digging clear, a long enough lever was found and used to move this massive boulder to the trail side.
Maneuvered into position below trail with a little effort (a fulcrum and lots of leverage) I was able to create a sitting stone!
To give you scale, here Callie sits upon the sitting stone on the edge of the fern forest.
Upon reaching the top you will step out into a pine forest. The open flat top is a relief to the hiker and an invitation to enjoy the quiet of the mountain top.
I think a pine forest is one of the most peaceful places. The straw on the ground seems to damper all sound so that the quiet is noticeable different. Here Callie sniffs out an animal scent. There are obvious deer trails and night beddings on this flat top. I have often watched their white tails bounding as I stepped into their domain up there.
This locust log bench seemed to fit in this space perfectly. I chose this spot based on first photo in this posting. Perhaps I should say Callie dog chose this spot! There were several possibilities. From the bench I wanted to be able to see out in all directions, to be close to the fern patch, and to be at trail side.
Callie walked with me around the top and settled down in this spot to dog rest.
So that is how I decided where to build the bench. Hope you agree with our choice when you find this sanctuary.
Our volunteers came in on Saturday and begun to finish up the last 100 yards. This descent has a nice serpentine curve.
Helping to complete this section were Barry, Gloria, Marietta, and our newest volunteer, Steve. Thanks for coming out and helping us finish up a beautiful section of our Watauga MST. We appreciate all our volunteers!

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