GET Section 5c Trail Report

July 5, 2015


Shenandoah Mountain Trail for FDR 95 to Ramseys Draft Trail, 3.3 miles

        Dave Frye and I cleared this up for our yearly trip.  Trail now in good shape. 


July 6, 2014


Shenandoah Mountain Trail for FDR 95 to Ramseys Draft Trail, 3.3 miles

        This section is clear after the yearly vegetation clearing trip, with David Frye helping.  This includes several blackberry patches and a stinging nettle patch. 


(other changes happened, but were not recorded in 2013 & 2014)


July 28, 2012

 

US 250 to FDR 95, measured at 10.6 miles. 

         A massive storm, known as a Derecho, caused considerable blowdown on June 30.  In response, two chapters of the PATC, Charlottesville and Southern Shenandoah Valley, worked this section by hiking through, clearing as they went, passing in the middle.  The first two miles or so weren't bad, but the middle needed a lot of work to clear.  I understand they did substantially cleared the whole section. 

 

June 23, 2012

 

Shenandoah Mountain Trail for FDR 95 to Ramseys Draft Trail, 3.3 miles

        This was another vegetation clearing trip, with David Frye and Nancy Ruggles helping.  The blackberry patches still needed cutting back, although the corridor gets better each year. 

 

September 17, 2011


Note - FDR 96 (Braley Pond Road) is closed until November for culvert construction.  To shuttle this section: (S to N) Continue on US 250, turn left on VA 728, turn left on VA 730, follow to Stokesville, and after bridge go straight on VA 718 which becomes FDR 95.  Follow FDR 95 toward WV line.  (N to S) Follow FDR 95 out, it becomes VA 718, at Stokesville go straight on VA 730, follow to VA 728, go right, turn right on US 250. 

Shenandoah Mountain Trail from FDR 95 to Ramseys Draft Trail, 3.3 miles
        This is part of GET section 5c.  This was a vegetation clearing trip, to clear anything grown back since covering this section on July 16.  I was most concerned about Blackberry plants growing back into the trail, which had happened the year before.  It was a cool (<60°) and cloudy day, but not raining, so very good for trail work.  With me was my dog Sid. 
        The blackberry plants did need cutting back more, but the canes we had cut in July had not grown back--it was the neighboring plants that we missed or left alone.  But I cleared these out, especially in the thick areas. 
        I also cut out in-growing branches on the newly re-graded part (in the first 1.4 miles) and overhead branches on the whole section.  This section of trail is now in very good condition as far as clearing goes. 
        There are some tread issues on sideslopes, and a few step-over blowdowns. 


July 16, 2011


Shenandoah Mountain Trail from FDR 95 to Ramseys Draft Trail, 3.3 miles
      This is part of GET section 5c.  This was a vegetation clearing trip, and helping me were David Frye, Brandon Harter, and Nancy Ruggles.  Dogs Sid and Aslan accompanied us.  The tread had been rebuilt and needed little trimming from FDR 95 at Little River up 1.4 miles to the top of the first climb.  From there, we cleared out a lot of blackberry and other growth, which is thick for almost a mile.  After that, woody growth had to be cut out, especially in the last 0.3 mile. 
      This trail, formerly grown in, is now cleared out.  A few overhanging branches remain, but the situation is better.  Blackberry plants may grow back before summer is out. 


March 26, 2011


US 250 to FDR 95 (North River Road)
       This is a 10.2 mile segment of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, part of the Great Eastern Trail, section 5c.  This was a PATC hike led by GETA President Tom Johnson, with a total of 12 human hikers and two dogs, Sid and Sam.  Included was David Kanagy, who is the volunteer who oversees most of this section of the trail.  It was a cool cloudy day, mostly in the 40s.  It was not wet. 
       I had done this whole segment in the opposite direction on July 5, 2009, plus some work trips in July 2010.  One thing I wanted to check out how the trail remained clear since July. 

  • The southern 4 or 5 miles are in excellent shape.  Beyond that it was a little narrower.  For the first 7 or so miles the trail is open, and not many blowdowns.  Between the Ramseys Draft Trail and where I had cleared last July, the trail is rather ingrown with woody plants.  
    The northern 1.4 miles, the steep descent to Little River, have been completely regraded with a trail bulldozer, work by the bike club.  The tread is 4-5 feet wide.  It was a bit muddy, but it showed no sign of bike wear.  
    Just before then was the mile-long blackberry patch which I had cleared (with David Frye's help) last July.  It was still mostly open, but many blackberry canes has regrown into the Trail. 
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    July 17, 2010

                I returned up the part I had cleared on July 5, and with a friend, cleared another 0.9 mile.  We got through the worst part.  Beyond this, it is still grown in with annual plants like White Snakeweed, but that's not so bad compared to Blackberry.

    July 5, 2010

                Considering how overgrown parts of this trail were in 2009, I returned to clear some of the growth.  I weed-whacked the first 0.1 mile, so the trail is easier to find along FR 95.  I got only as far as 1.7 miles.  The big climb, the first 1.4 miles is cleared well, but the next 0.3 miles is through blackberry patches, and though greatly improved, it took me three hours to do those 0.3 miles.  Beyond that, it is very badly grown in.  I hope to get back to it this summer. 

                The big climb portion of the trail is somewhat eroded, and the bike club has plans to redo the tread of the trail in many places in this section this summer. 


    July 6, 2009

    Forest Road 95 to US 250 at Confederate Breastworks on GET, 10.5 miles.

                This hike was taken on a rather cool and sunny day, but just after rain the day before.  The first few miles were on a northwest slope, and everything was wet, including the many plants reaching into the trail.  My feet felt wet until I got home, although there were 8 miles to hike after we got away from the wet plants.  Fortunately I got no blisters. 

                Some observations:

     

    • There was very little Gypsy Moth damage, although we saw some on the drive and car shuttle. 
    • The topographic maps, although old (late 1960s) were fully accurate as to where the Shenandoah Mountain Trail goes. 
    • The grade of the Trail is gradual, and the tread is mostly in good condition.  In just a few places was the tread leaning with the side of the ridge. 
    • Although we had to brush by many plants on the trail, we did not get any ticks.  There was also no poison ivy in the entire hike. 
    • The part between FR 95 and Ramseys Draft Trail is very grown in, often with blackberry plants.  I tried to clear them out, but there were too many.  Stinging nettles are also present, and there is one patch not quite 3.0 miles into the hike, about where the "L" in "HIGHLAND" is on the Palo Alto Quadrangle, 1 inch from the bottom, about the center of the map.  Black Locusts are thorny, and I cut as many of them away as I could. 
    • As we went on, the trail became clearer, with obvious work done after Sinclair Hollow Trail with additional clearing needed, and quite open after Jerrys Run Trail.  The last few miles needed only some grass trimming, beside some fast growing branches like Striped Maple. 
    • There were no blazes between Ramseys Draft Trail and Road Hollow Trail. 
    • It's a challenge to find the trail on FR 95.  Look for a yellow blaze on a tree by the road. 
    • The intersection of the Tearjacket Knob Trail, Ramseys Draft Trail, and Shenandoah Mountain Trail is not where the maps (Topographic and National Geographic) show it to be, rather it is at a point between 0.1 and 0.2 mile south on the Shenandoah Mountain Trail of the point indicated on the map. 

     

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