Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big Push Second Day

We begun our second day of work at one of the most spectacular overlooks in the Watauga Section. We met at Thunderhill Overlook near Blowing Rock.
This was our morning view. After a day spent in the fog it was uplifting to witness such grand beauty and inspiring vision.
Duncan and Allen share a cup of tea as we organize our efforts and wait to begin our day.
Professor Allen DeHart is our FMST Trail Specialist and mentor for the Northwestern section of MST. He has served this project with dedicated enthusiasm and support since 1997. In the last two years he has helped bring our section from a few distant survey flags to the brink of approval.
Chris readies his saw for his days work focused close to the point while he stands on the edge of forever.
John Lanman, Watauga Task Force Leader and Marietta check their list and ready us for assignments. John had chosen locations and made preliminary plans for the Big Push effort and we now had our work "cut" out for us (pun intended :)

Into the forest we go. This is typical of the winter fall of limbs, branches, and trees that we encountered along our trail assignment.
Duncan stretches to remove a small fall with a bow saw.
Much can be accomplished even with hand tools.
This is an interesting photograph of Duncan balancing on an ancient oak bridge that we cross along this section.
We have decided to leave this tree where it lives. It is not a recent fall as is evidenced from the upturned branches, full and alive and growing upward while lying on its side for perhaps 50 years. The trail goes beneath it and hikers will enjoy the experience of stooping beneath this behemoth wonder of a mighty oak. Notice near the base and beneath Duncan's feet in the photo above an air fern cluster.
This is a beautiful example of life giving life, of the tenacity of survival as the air fern, mosses, and other plants have developed a symbiotic relationship with the host tree. These plants do not touch the ground and have migrated to the oak nearly 4 feet above the ground. Wonders of nature indeed.
Kate Dixon, our FMST Executive Director joined us on the trail and put in her hours as a volunteer working and serving us on our section in the high country.
As we rounded the next curve we spotted a family of orchids colonized right beside our trail!
These pink ladies slippers are one of many orchids we have in these Appalachian mountains. They are certainly one of the most eye catching and sensual beauties of the wild flowers we enjoy.
I enjoyed this previous sequence of photos, from the air fern to the chainsaw, the contrast of feminine and masculine, female and flower, debris and beauty, tender and powerful progress.
Meanwhile Duncan, Allen, Marietta, and Ann work along creek side removing debris and opening the stream flow.
Time for lunch and Allen and John confer on the afternoon assignments.
Roadside lunch is a sharing of manna and relaxation and fellowship.
Howdy Ann and Steve!
Back on the trail Shelton changes out his chain and readies for the afternoon work.
The mechanic sawyer must be able to make adjustments in the field along the trail to keep a days work underway.
Working through a downed cherry tree top Shelton gets the work done.
Steve studies the successful fall of a spring pole cut. He shaved the underside of the arch and allowed the drop to fall without barber poling back. Great work Steve!
Steve now is moving forward to the next challenge.
Our leaders in Watauga, John Lanman and Allen DeHart are pleased with our days progress. Thanks for all the planning, organization, and mentoring you two provide us on the trail.
This is why we do what we do. This fern stretch was cleared and debris removed to reveal a quiet stretch of pleasure for the hikers who pass this way.

Thanks to all the volunteers who came up to Watauga and Ashe to help with the Big Push. Also thanks to Jeff Eason who came out to gather photos and stories for a newspaper article he published in the Blowing Rocket and the Mountain Times. You can follow this link to his fine writing:  Newspaper article here. Also thanks to Jeff for taking and sharing many of these photos in the latter portion of this post.
In peace and on the trail beyond ~ Enjoy ~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big Push Recap and Appreciation

It was one of those foggy spring mornings. Wetlands and wetair in the High Country.
We met early and split into crews to go out to different locations for work.
Taking time to say "Howdy" Marietta and Kate greet each other to start the day.
Will was one of our volunteer sawyers from off the mountain. Thanks for coming up.
Chris is one of our Watauga sawyers. A retired firefighter, Chris is always excited to get out on the trail for a days work.
Chris meet Will, Will you'll be working with Chris. Ready, Set, Go!

I have many photos to share and stories to tell about the Big Push weekend work in Watauga and Ashe county. It was a good week and we made tremendous progress.

A huge, and did I say HUGE thank you goes out to our volunteers:

Allen de Hart (Louisburg) (one of the initiators of the MST and founding father of FMST, currently serving as our  MST Specialist for Black Mountain Campground to Stone Mountain)
Will Merritt (Winston Salem) ( Sawyer)
Anne Tribert (Raleigh)
John Jaskolka (New Bern) (President of FMST)
Duncan Brown (Raleigh)
Kate Dixon (Raleigh) (Executive Director of FMST)
Steve Lund (Cary) (Sawyer)
Steven Mierisch (Winston Salem)
Dwight Levi (Sawyer)
Shelton Wilder (Deep Gap) (Watauga Crew Leader) ( Sawyer) (Blog moderator)
Chris Rasmussen (Boone) ( Sawyer)
Marieta Warnstedt (Boone)
John Lanman (Boone) (Watauga Crew Leader and Task force co-ordinator)
Gerry Staninger (Boone) ( Sawyer)
Paul Stahlschmidt (Boone)
Margaret Lanman (Boone)
Sandy Sisson (Boone)

Please follow this link out to read an excellent MST FRONT PAGE newspaper article by Jeff Eason. Published in the Mountain Times and The Blowing Rocket on June 03, 2010. Thanks to Jeff Eason for doing this writing and for trudging up the uncleared trail to find us! You worked for this story and we appreciate your work.

Front page article click here!

More photos to come soon!