....musings of PATC North
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on May 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM||comments (2)|
Contributed by Gary Bruner, Overseer for Reese Hollow Trail & Shelter
Now is the time of year when PATC overseers come out of hibernation and start, well, overseeing. That means trail and shelter projects, and when I said ³Spring Work" I was being quite literal.
The Reese Hollow Trail is a feeder trail to to the Tuscarora Trail just west of Mercersburg, PA. The recently-completed Reese Hollow Shelter boasts a lovely setting among the ferns, and a reliable spring for water.
The shelter is part of the Little Cove Cabin rental property that PATC owns (I¹m the overseer for the trail and shelter).
The piped spring dumps its water into a splash pool that sometimes does not hold water. When I see that has happened, I just toss a shovelful of sand into the pool and it temporarily plugs up the holes through which the water drains out. That works for a couple months. But having a reliable splash pool under the pipe is a desirable thing, to serve as a repository for food/beverage items that hikers and users of the shelter may wish to keep cool.
So with the help of my 7 year old grandson, Tristan, a couple weeks ago we went up to the shelter to repair/create a better splash pool under the piped spring. The semi-permanent fix for the splash pool was to install a piece of rubber lining left over from my water garden. Then we rebuilt the surrounding stepping stones to make it the spring look completely natural again.
--It should be noted that Tristan absolutely did NOT get wet while working on this project (I also have a bridge in NYC I¹d like to sell you).
--No post about springs is complete without the mandatory lawyerly statement that no backcountry water sources should be presumed safe for drinking without treatment.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on May 28, 2015 at 1:50 PM||comments (1)|
Contributed by PATC Blogger
“Give me a lever long enough, and I can move the world” (Archimedes) or even more appropriate......"Better to slide it than roll it; better to roll it than carry it; and don’t carry it alone.
As a relative 'newbie' to AT trail work in Pennsylvania, I've learned a new language, which includes waterbars & check dams and it all involves very big rocks. In PA, rocks abound near the AT and for check dams & waterbars......the bigger the better.
I have learned that you need 'trail eyes' not only to find the largest boulders available, but also to assist you in 'thinking like water'. In fact, I hear the goal is to 'learn to see water flowing down the trail, even on a sunny day'. But the reward, after toting 'boulders' & tools for several miles, then building a plethora of check dams or waterbars.....is to take a nap near the trail, which one of our team has mastered. (as seen above)
Here is some of the work done in May by Yankee Clippers work crews.....
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on May 28, 2015 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
Contributed by Pete Brown, PATC North District Manager
Known as a wild corridor, the Tuscarora Trail requires significant maintenance to keep it open for hikers, including dealing with large blowdowns. Sometime you just make the trail move 'through' the downed tree.......
as shown by the skills of Patrick Willson making this bore cut step-through with his new Stihl 661. Lugging this size equipment up & down the trails is definitely for the rugged & determined....plus this work crew in May got hit by rain & thunderstorms before the day was out.
PATC teamwork was the perfect description of this crew which included the Overseers, plus members of the Blue & White crew, HQ & Yankee Clippers. The team broke into 3 subteams working multiple parts of the south two trail sections at the end of Tuscarora Mountain before it becomes road walking to the C&O Canal.trail. Speaking for this summer's hikers......THANK YOU !!!
Crew members were:
Gary Bruner & George Alderson (TT Overseers)
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on March 31, 2015 at 12:30 AM||comments (1)|
Provided by Pete Brown, PATC North District Manager & Marion Orlousky, ATC - Mid Atlantic Region
Yes, we can 'Weed 'Em & Reap' .....in fact, many invasive plants/weeds were introduced by European settlers for use as food, medicinal purposes and/or to prevent erosion. Garlic mustard is one of these.....
.....1st recorded in Long Island around 1868. It was used as a vegetable for its high Vitamin A and C content, a garlic-flavored herb in cooking, planted to prevent erosion and used for medicinal purposes, treating gangrene and ulcers.
Try one of these:
Garlic Mustard Pesto
• 1 cup garlic mustard
• 1/2 cup basil
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 oz. toasted pinenuts
• 4 oz. olive oil
• juice of 1 lemon
In food processor combine all ingredients except olive oil. Puree and then add olive oil with processor running.
Warm Potato Salad with Wilted Garlic Mustard Greens
• 2 Red bliss potatoes (quartered)
• 1/2 cup Caramelized onions
• 1/4 cup rendered bacon
• 1/2 cup garlic mustard greens
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Quarter potatoes, and toss in canola oil. Roast for about 30 minutes. In a saute pan, heat bacon. Add onions and potatoes, and add salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze with vinegar, and toss in garlic mustard. Serve warm. (serves about 6)
Garlic Mustard Couscous Salad
1/2 tbsp sweet basil leaves
1/2 tbsp garlic and herb
1/2 tbsp parsley flakes
1/4 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tbsp thyme
4 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp garlic juice
2 cups garlic mustard
1 package of roasted garlic and oil couscous
3/4 can tomatoes and juice
1 cup parmesan cheese
Chop garlic mustard, cook couscous, and add all ingredients together in a bowl. (serves about 6)
Creamy Garlic Mustard Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine
1 T fresh garlic mustard, chopped fine
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T prepared mustard
1 tsp. Creole mustard (can use Spicy dark mustard)
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. Jane's crazy mixed-up salt (or any seasoned salt)
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Cheesy Garlic Mustard Quiche
1 cup chopped, steamed garlic mustard leaves
1 pie crust
1 diced onion
1/2 cup diced sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced muenster cheese
1/2 cup diced Monterey cheese
5 large eggs
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dry parsley
1/4 tsp ancho chili pepper
salt and pepper (to taste)
Hungarian sweet paprika
Preheat oven to 350. Grease pie pan with extra virgin olive oil. Place pie crust in greased pie pan. Mix eggs, cheeses, milk, onion, chili powder, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper together in bowl. Pour mixture into the pie crust. Top with paprika. Cook for 1 hour at 350 or until firm.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on February 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Contributed by Ken May, PATC North AT Overseer
ISSUE: Do you have to relocate the trail when human traffic is the source of consistent, significant water damage ?? ANSWER: Build A Turnpike !!!
In May 2009, the PA Work Trip was a major undertaking.....building a turnpike on a section of the AT between Old Forge Rd and the Tumbling Run Shelters.....and it is still in place & working well in 2015.
This is a very heavily traveled section and the tread was worn so bad there was nowhere for water to drain away. According to the Forest Service Trail Construction Handbook, turnpikes are used to elevate the trail above wet ground using natural resources as fill material. Our work crew used a downed tree, which they split as well as a plethora of local rocks to 'turnpike' this section, allowing a fabulous causeway beside a natural water drain. Be sure to view the full set of photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/125062623@N03/sets/72157650349622260/ AND a great last photo showing how we all feel at the end of a typical workday.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on February 27, 2015 at 2:20 PM||comments (13)|
Contributed by Daniel Smith, PATC North Overseer
A snowy day hike at Mont AltoState Park can be a challenge & also a fabulous experience of the pure beauty of the forest in winter.
Jane Axman & Daniel Smith didn't let the cancelled February worktrip for the Yankee Clippers stop them.....not just because of a little snow & ice. They did a dayhike from Mont Alto State Park up through Tarburner Springs on the west side of Snowy Mountain, near where the AT crosses the east side of Snowy Mountain. And.....since my hiking has been mostly the armchair version this month......thank you for the fabulous photos !!!
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on February 27, 2015 at 11:50 AM||comments (0)|
Contributed by Rick Canter, MD District Manager
On Valentine’s Day, the South Mountaineers cleared their biggest tree in the 22-year history of the crew's history.
Overseer Mike Trettel first reported a monster oak tree across the Cat Rock Trail near the junction with the Old Misery Trail in Cunningham Falls State Park on February 8. The South Mountaineers mobilized, with 4 volunteers and 3 chainsaws ready to tackle the challenge on Valentine’s Day morning.
One cut would not break through, so it was necessary to cut a wedge just to accommodate the head of the chainsaw. Eventually, one log broke free and rolled downhill, then another. Some minor cuts were made for aesthetics and now the obstacle is clear of the Trail.
Mike Allen, Rob Lauchner, Bill Van Tassell and Rick Canter collaborated to clear the oak. Once cut, the “Valentine’s Day” tree was measured as 34-42” in diameter, depending on where it was measured.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on October 29, 2014 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
Contributed by Dave Trone, PATC North Chapter Treasurer - from PATC Newsletter, September 2003, by Chris Fee
Archimedes is said to have claimed that, given a lever long enough and a place to stand, he could move the world. Members of the PATC North Chapter took him at his word two years ago when we....
....used a mighty timber to jack up one of the old Birch Run Shelters; we then replaced the bottom-few courses of logs due to rot and insect infestation. At the time of the repair it became evident that the old shelters were well past their prime, offered no ventilation for drying, and thus were destined to rot quickly and forced hikers to eat and sleep in a very confined, dank, smelly area during heavy rain. “Give me a rock bar long enough and a place to drive, and I will replace these shelters,” claimed Shelter Overseer Dave Trone to his loyal henchman and Co-Overseer, and the quest began. read rest of article at http://www.patcnorth.net/Rebuilding%20Birch%20Run%20Shelter%202003.pdf
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on October 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM||comments (1)|
Contributed by Gary Bruner, Reese Hollow Shelter and Trail
As the overseer for the Reese Hollow Shelter and Trail (a feeder to the Tuscarora Trail in southern PA, just east of Mercersburg), whenever I head to the trail I’m all business. I load up my tools the night before, lay out my work clothes, and hit the ground running when I get on site.
It’s usually a nonstop work trip, cramming in the various tasks that need doing along the trails and at the shelter. At the end of the day, I’m typically up against the clock, running behind with work left undone yet not wanting to alarm my loved ones by being late. Finish quickly and rush home.
It finally dawned on me that I really don’t enjoy my trails and shelter, at least in the sense of spending any non-working, quality time there. So a few weeks back, during the week of Labor Day, my wife was away on a trip with her girlfriends, and I decided that I would head up to the Reese Hollow Shelter to camp. Not backpack, but do a base camp at “my” shelter for 3 days and 2 nights. While there I’d work--if I felt like it--on a couple minor, low key tasks, but the overarching purpose of the trip was to simply relax and enjoy the fruits of our PATC labor.
I took my Kindle, a comfy lawn chair, plenty of hearty but simple food, and the necessary amenities to be easy in the shelter. The weather was perfect, and during my stay there, I did not see a single other human being. It was exactly the kind of decompressing stay that I needed.
So, PATC Overseers: when was the last time that YOU enjoyed your trail or shelter?
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on September 29, 2014 at 8:05 AM||comments (1)|
Contributed by Andy Wolfe, a PATC North Chapter Overseer (and amateur photographer)
This juvenile Broad-Winged Hawk was photographed in early September near Pine Grove Furnace. It's wing was broken probably chasing prey in close quarters or hit by a car in a dive across the road at night. It was too tired and hungry not to allow me close with my lens.
Also known as 'kettles', these birds migrate to South America.....learn more at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Broad-winged_Hawk/lifehistory.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on September 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM||comments (1)|
Photos contributed by Dewey Clark, PATC North Board Member & Trail Overseer
You will so enjoy perusing this collection of photos of the volunteers who form the PATC North Construction Crews....fondly called the Yankee Clippers. Obviously it covers a period of years !!!
There are photos of building bridges....for cars & for people, building shelters, renovating cabins, removing blowdowns, installing trail signage and working with rocks....and more rocks. And as always after a day of hard work volunteering....sharing a meal !!!
See the entire slideshow by clicking here.....https://www.flickr.com/photos/125062623@N03/sets/72157647602929131/show
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on September 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
Post contributed by Bob Wise, Pete Brown & Kathy Seiler
What is the premier event for Trail & Shelter/Cabin work ?? Cake.....and sitting on the porch of a cabin built by the members !!!
And to prove that, over 60 members of PATC North Chapter met to dedicate the newly renovated Little Cove Cabin & participate in the Annual Corn Roast.
In addition to local corn and cake, there was a potluck buffet, a presentation by Rachel Wagoner, Resource Management, PA Bureau of Parks AND much socializing between members who maintain the trails, cabins & shelters of the AT & Tuscarora Trails in Central PA. (more photos below)
PATC purchased the Little Cove property in order to build a shelter on this part of the Tuscarora Trail, the Reese Hollow Shelter, completed in 2012.(see photos below) The cabin on the property when purchased was considered incidental and or no value by the sellers since it was in poor shape. The North Chapter crew did a great deal of work to make Little Cove cabin a valuable, premier cabin in PATC's rental system. This included a new roof, repair of water damaged bedrooms, a new covered porch around 3 sides of the cabin, new siding, new windows, a new bathroom and a new kitchen. Lumber for much of the porch was cut on a portable sawmill from standing dead timber on the cabin tract. Gene Leese's nephew, brother & father helped with the timber operation. Gene's nephew, who supplied the sawmill, made a porch swing from some of the lumber that was cut. Al Black directed the construction and made Adirondack chairs for the porch and a picnic table from Red Oak that was cut on the property. He also made the new kitchen cabinets and a new dining room table for the cabin. The cabinets and furniture Al made are amazing.
Photos of Corn Roast & Dedication https://www.flickr.com/photos/125062623@N03/sets/72157646781846218/
Photos of Reese Hollow Shelter https//flic.kr/s/aHsk2kpKKS
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on August 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
Post courtesy of Gary Brunner, overseer of Reese Hollow Shelter for PATC North Chapter
The springs at the shelters along the AT (and in this case, the Tuscarora) shelters are magical places !!
Since the first day I set eyes on the spring at the Reese Hollow Shelter, after volunteering to be the overseer of the shelter and Reese Hollow Trail back in Dec 2012, I've been smitten with it. I mean, there's just something arresting and compelling about a source of pure, natural water, coming to the surface and being "tamed" via a pipe for human use. Maybe it's a species memory of the vital requirement for water from humankind's earliest beginnings, maybe it's my geekiness and interest in hydrology and geology and physics and tools....
Who knows? But I am irresistibly drawn to springs, and adopting the spring at the Reese Hollow Shelter is a dream come true. I've only been associated with this spring for less than two years, and have not seen how it performs during a serious, prolonged drought, but I kinda think it's reliable and permanent, even in extreme dry conditions. The water is cold, sweet, and refreshing. And somehow, well, comforting is the word that comes to mind.
Soon after I fell in love with the spring, I knew that it needed a dipper. Not only to obviate the need to bend way down to drink from the pipe, but just because a spring just needs a dipper. And not just any dipper; it had to be vintage and used and even a little banged up from its former life, ready to assume thirst-quenching duties for hikers at Reese Hollow Shelter and Trail.
I perused local flea markets and antique shops, but I wound up buying the dipper on eBay. It wasn't expensive--only $12--but when I saw the photo online, I just knew it was the right dipper for Reese Hollow:
You really must come up to Reese Hollow and take a drink. And use the dipper, of course. It's waiting, hanging on a small post beside the spring.
NOTE: Reese Hollow is a newer shelter west of Mercersburg, PA, and supports the Tuscarora Trail; Little Cove Cabin in the PATC members rental program is adjacent.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Post courtesy of Andy Wolfe, a PATC North Chapter overseer
If you have never climbed the escarpment on the 'blue trail' above Dead Woman's Hollow, you are missing out on a real cardiac carb burner.
Today with the temps in the 60s, the morning climb was comfortable yet raised the blood pressure and made our hearts remember our age. The Anna Michener cabin has a new porch & it looks great. Thanks to all involved. There are bears in Dead Woman's Hollow feeding on the huckleberries.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 21, 2014 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
Courtesy of Andy Wolfe, Rocky Knob Overseer from PATC North
Right now the woods in Michaux State forest are offering a great meal along the AT. "Chicken Mushrooms" boiled and served with Ramen or Cream of Mushroom Soup are fantastic fare. And....no fear...there are no dangerous inedible fungus that look like Chicken of the Woods. They taste "just like chicken".
After your trail side supper of fungus and noodles treat yourself to fresh "huckleberries" (wild low bush blueberries). This year has produced a bumper crop. Never seen them more profuse than this year...and the excess rainfall has helped them grow big and plump. The are smaller than commercially grown blueberries but they packed 3 times the flavor and right now are very easy to collect. The handful in the photo took 2 minutes to collect. Very sweet, pungent, and good for you and your tired muscles.
Bon Apetite' !
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 18, 2014 at 4:25 PM||comments (2)|
Post courtesy of Jim Tabor, a PATC North Chapter Overseer from Monto Alto, PA
Rocky Mountain Shelter is celebrating its 25th year, built in 1989. Of the shelters on the 32-mile Pennsylvania AT section maintained by PATC North Chapter, it is the only shelter that is not right on the trail. It is downhill 3/10ths of a mile & the spring is 5/10ths of a mile below the shelter. The spring runs good all year long even in the driest part of the summer. Hikers wish it was closer but there is no other nearby source in this trail section. It is also the only shelter where you can order pizza and they will deliver it to the spring, so perhaps that makes up for the ‘walk to the spring’. As you can see in the photo, thru-hikers regularly check out this shelter specifically to look for the hand carved spoons left for them by a local Samaritan.
The AT was relocated from the east side of route 233 to the west side of route 233 on the ridge of Rocky Mountain in the 1980s. The old AT location had the Raccoon Run shelter at roughly the same distance between the Quarry Gap and Tumbling Run shelters as the current Rocky Mountain shelters. The Raccoon Run shelter was about fifty feet off of a road and, being too accessible, was abused by party goers. It was torn down when the trail was relocated. As a historical point of trivia, Charlie Irvin and Steve Koeppen tore down the old Racoon Run shelter one cold fall Saturday morning. They had to rouse two campers still asleep in the shelter that morning. They had to chuckle when they saw the hikers had a propane heater with them to keep warm during the night and had erected a plastic sheet across the shelter opening.
The Rocky Mountain, Deer Lick, Tumbling Run, and Tom's Run shelters were all built with the dual shelter design from logs donated by a Pennsylvania log home builder (Mountain Springs Log Homes owned by Howard Seaton, the current North Chapter cabin overseer of Anna Michener Cabin).
Currently plans for improvement include new fire rings and a bear box this fall, with a covered eating area between the shelters suggested. For more photos of Rocky Mountain Shelter, click here.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM||comments (1)|
Post courtesy of Andy Wolfe, a PATC North Chapter Overseer from Shippensburg, PA
When you think of Heads or Tails.....do Timber Rattlers come to mind ?? These are female Timber Rattlers hanging out at a den site in the South Mountain section of Michaux Forest, waiting to bear their young next month.
These are referred to as "gravid" (pregnant) females that mated last summer. Timber Rattlers usually don't mate till 7 years old and then infrequently as every 3 years or so.
These amazing creatures are frequently misunderstood and feared. The truth is that they just want to be left in peace, are a beneficial part of the ecosystem and without them some of the wild character of our forests would be lost. And in Pennsylvania, they are a protected species in this area.
Here is a female with her newly born young.
Part of their protection means throwing away stereotypes. Their distinct rattle doesn't mean the snakes are going to attack, just a fright response to warn visitors that they are there. Rattlesnake bites are very rare.....likely due to that warning rattle.
So, give them some room and perhaps some overdue respect. Remember.....it is their home we are visiting. .
Want more information on the Timber Rattlers of Pennsylvania.....CLICK HERE.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 15, 2014 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
Post courtesy of Gary Bruner, Overseer of Reese Hollow Trail & Shelter
Imagine waist-high ferns...indeed, the entire area is a veritable sea of ferns...and the trail running smack dab through the middle. To keep the trail open I must destroy a ton of ferns. Here's a shot I took.......
I was up at Reese Hollow Trail and Shelter today, where I am the volunteer overseer for PATC, to do some routine maintenance. It was not super hot--about 80F--but the humidity was killer. Within half an hour I was as soaked from sweat as if I had jumped into a swimming pool. See, the whole long pants, long sleeves, and gloves outfit kinda runs counter to the whole coolness thing. The shelter was fine, no issues there, the spring running well (of course I enjoyed several dippersful of the sweet water!), so I turned my attention to weedwhacking the mile-long Reese Hollow Trail. It connects the ridge-top Tuscarora Trail with the shelter down off the ridge where hikers can camp overnight and have good water access.
Sure, there are many tons of ferns there, but somehow it just doesn't feel right to wipe out even a single fern.
Another one of life's trade-offs, I guess.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on July 1, 2014 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
You can no longer hear the bridge rattle when a vehicle
crosses it. Not like the time a dump truck hauling gravel to the cabin road had one of its wheels
break through the deck. Every time a
vehicle crossed, the timbers in the deck would shift, groan & allow one more crossing. But after several months of work, on June 28th, a large group of volunteers did the final assembly.
The early stage of the repair effort began when Henry Horn made trips to Blue Ridge Lumber in Fishersville, VA, in both March & April to haul four tons of timbers to the Silberman Trail Center. These 70 timbers were the generous gift of Tommy Sheets, the owner of Blue Ridge Lumber.
There were several work trips from April thru June....1st to spray timbers with preservative, then coat with stain & finally.....the assembly work on June 28th. A large group of volunteers showed up to remove rotted timbers, replace with new, spread a new bed of gravel, screw in running boards & replace the curbs. Yup they are good.....most of the bridge deck was replaced before breaking for lunch !!!!
All were well-fed & the new bridge should last a long time. Check out the Silberman Bridge Slideshow !!
Many thanks to Al Black for his expert construction guidance & Tom Rostek for cabin availability during the bridge work.
|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on June 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
The Charlie Irvin Shelter at Waggoner's Gap on the Tuscarora Trail has been a work-in-progress for Pennsylvania volunteers. The shelter sits overlooking the valley, so on Saturday, June 21, they had to build a temporary scaffold to complete the roofing boards, underlayment & install the roofing metal. That was after they hauled in materials. The also finished all the deck railings.
Next they will finish the metal for the back of the shelter roof, build a fire pit, stain the shelter & build a privy.
Thanks to the many volunteers, including Al Black, Peter Muschamp, Dave Trone, Gene & Rachel Leese, Bob Wise and Pete Brown.
Photo courtesy of Bob Wise.