Trailway News, November / December 1999
on a season of crew
1999 Konnarock Crew Camp Coordinator
Day One of the 1999
Konnarock crew season dawned as usual. The early risers began to pile into the kitchen at
6 a.m., wearing flannel shirts and work pants. The air was still chilly on the dark May
morning, so everyone shuffled in and quickly closed the kitchen doors behind them. Midway
between groggy and excited, they asked the eternal question: "Coffee ready yet?"
Huddled over their steaming mugs, volunteers shared their experiences of the past year and
their expectations for the upcoming crew season. As the sun rose and the smell of pancakes
and bacon permeated the air, the base camp started to stir.
Andrew Moores and Josh
Adams, the crew leaders, roused all the late sleepers while assistant crew leaders Casey
Bicanich and Susan Guida loaded tools into the van. After the 7 a.m. breakfast, the base
camp really came to life: Volunteers piled back into the kitchen to do the dishes, water
jugs were filled, and backpacks were packed in the back of the vans. When 8 a.m. rolled
around, everyone piled into the vans and drove out of base camp with horns a-honking and
dust a-flying on the way to the day's work site. Five days later/ they would return,
trail- hardened and grinning from ear to ear.
And so it went for 16
weeks. The morning routines were the same, but every week was as different as the
individuals on the crew. Diversity abounded. For example, one week's crew included a
student, a retired military officer, a carpenter, and an underwater archaeologist. After a
week of moving rocks and digging, the volunteers returned dirty and tired and ready for a
shower. But, they also returned with new friendships and a sense of unparalleled
accomplishment for the work they had done. Each individual crew left its signature in one
way or another: some in rock, some in soil, and all in the memories of their fellow crew
As any seasoned volunteer
knows, when you spend a week of your time constructing a section of the Trail, it's
impossible not to become tremendously attached to it. It's impossible to forget that big
rock (that weighed a least a million pounds) or that section of sidehill that seemed more
roots than dirt. But, remarkably, at the end of a week of digging and moving and scraping,
a footpath is born, and, oh the pride! Bill Clemens, a volunteer who worked on a Firescald
Ridge project, knows that feeling well. Bill took time out of a long trip to return to the
work site to show his wife the work he had done a few weeks earlier.
Trail-crew situations also
have a way of breaking down barriers. Three volunteers on the special 1999
"over-50" crew were so ecstatic to have to do dishes that they took pictures of
themselves to prove to their wives that they could really do it! No one else had to do
dishes all week.
And, last but certainly
not least, fun is a necessary component of crew life. Assistant crew leader Casey lost a
bet to crew leader Andrew on who could last the longest without a shower. (It lasted about
a week.) The bet resulted in Casey's serving Wednesday-night dinner in a dress. And, the
women-only crew was observed painting dirt mustaches on each other! So, a good time was
had by all, while much important work was done on the Appalachian Trail.
Jenny Golding was a
Trail maintainer with the Outing Club at Virginia Tech and the Konnarock camp coordinator
in 1995 and 1996. She also helped lead the Konnarock women-only crew this past year.