The End In Sight!

Yes, the end is in sight! After 20 years and on-the-ground work trips in March, April, May, & June—including the construction of a significant crib wall along the way—we are only 50 yards from the summit of Little Calf mountain.

Every Project has its Problems

Some of the problems we have encountered include:

  • Keeping the new trail section above the Skyline Drive easement owned by Shenandoah National Park
  • Working with the terrain caused by avoiding the Skyline Drive easement
  • Building a crib wall & backfilling the treadway to mitigate a rock shelf across the trail route
  • Avoiding, as much as possible, areas that are heavily overgrown with wineberry, corralberry, and black locust saplings

Unfortunately, the last major issue resulted from my earlier decision to avoid a section choked with prickly berry and black locust saplings. The only alternative I could find involved working with a narrow area that has a short but very steep approach over much loose stone to a shelf just below the summit of the mountain.

By Sunday, June 17, I finally recognized that I had to reset the route for this final leg.

The Summit

Mark Gatewood and I joined Andy Wilgruber and Don Davis on Sunday, June 24 to re-work the final approach to the summit. Andy and Don worked to clear the summit (Andy is the Corridor Monitor for the area) while Mark and I attacked the heavily overgrown, but “diggable,” formerly open area just below the summit. Neither of us could see the other.

Calf vistaLittle Calf vista

Mark saved the day—he “accidentally” found the best continuous route to cover the last 50 yards!

I found, instead, a beautiful 6-foot long, hungry, timber rattler. (Both of us remain in fine shape. The rattler’s intended prey…that’s another matter.)

Now for the Pitch

All that remains is for us to muster enough people to finish the project. This involves:

  • Dig and finish full-bench side-hill treadway
  • Blaze the route (2" x 6" A.T. white blazes)
  • Install posts marking the route in the open areas