Friday, July 29, 2011

LAST DAY OF WORK- Team Swamp Dog!

As sad as it is, today was our last day of work before the rec trip! We began our day with stretch circle and then went to Point Mountain to go hiking. It was pretty awesome to see some work that was done by alumni SCA members, and even some members on our crew from previous years! I personally know I was very impressed by the rock staircases with HUGE rocks! As Lauren always says.. Go big or go home! It was very foggy on the hike though and humid from the rain yesterday night. After reaching the top, we all sat up on the big rock and had tunnel vision when looking out. Everything looked like it was spiraling in after hiking for about an hour and a half with minimal breaks. It was pretty cool though! Then after the hike we had a quick snack by the river and then went in to do a stream study! Working in small groups we used nets to catch things off the bottom of the river that indicate the health of the river. After lots of catching we determined the river seemed pretty healthy based on the organisms in the river such as dragonfly larva, snails etc. We all seemed pretty sad though that no one caught a cray-fish :( Then to end our day we stopped by the Clinton Library to pick up some music Cd's for the car ride up to Watkins Glen tomorrow(such as the Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack and Disney Princess Soundtrack..) and the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. A very awesome last day overall!
Cant wait for tomorrow morning when we begin our rec trip!!!! See all of you a tad later than normal tomorrow at 8, which is nice:)
-Jelly Jane

KELLIE'S BLOG!!!!!!!!!!‏

Today was our last day of work on our trail, and we thought it would be just like any other day of work until Doug whipped out his guitar in the parking lot/stretch circle area and started serenading the crew before stretch circle. Surprise #1. After Doug's interesting rendition of a Bright Eyes song, which only Casey may have fully enjoyed, complete with guitar AND vocals, we did our stretch circle. A game on ninja followed that, along with Rex suddenly blasting the Pina Colada song from Rose's van and some interesting old man dancing from Bryan and Doug. Being sufficiently woken up by all the surprise music and dancing, we headed to our trail. Once there, Doug shared Surprise #2 with us during snack time. It was his old decrepit book of 101 elephant jokes. I'd say about 99% of them didn't even make sense, but they provided some nice entertainment for the crew. (Such as: How do you carve an elephant? You get a rock and you chisel away all the pieces that don't look like an elephant.) We got right to work after snack debarking, putting in checksteps, and working on drainage dips. Amazingly, Casey finished debarking her "baby" (a log she'd been working on debarking for almost a day) and Bryan and I had the honor of setting it after Casey had a nice photoshoot with it. Pretty soon, all the checksteps were set; 17 in total, which is 17 more than were originally there. The checksteps look awesome and make walking on the trail so much easier. The drainage dips we did also look great. Before the day ended, we hiked through our first trail and got to survey our old work. Near the end we tag team polaskied a fallen tree/step that was an obstacle in the trail and got through it in record time. It was awesome. When we got to the bottom of our hike, Rose had to shuttle half of us to the parking lot and then come back because we didn't have both vans, so when she left with half the kids, the other half of us hid in the grasses and had Doug convince her that we were all missing when she came back. It would have been great, except then Doug also convinced her that she should just drive off without us, so we had to come out of hiding once we saw the van pulling away. All in all, it was an exceptional last day of work, and now we can look forward to our ice cream treat tomorrow!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NJ Greenteam in 36 hours

I'll start by saying that I'm not much of a morning person and it's a rare thing for me to get up before 6 unless i'm getting on a flight for an exotic vacation. On Tuesday morning I woke up at 4:30 to drive the 4 hours to NJ so I could work with the crews before the end of the program and it was well worth it.

By 7am I had gotten a panicky text asking me to come to Musconetcong to see the damage that the storm the night before had done to the trail. I arrived just before 10 and found the crew working on putting in checksteps to try to slow down the massive surge of water that runs off of the parking lot. When I say massive, I mean the pictures looked like what may be confused for a cascading waterfall or a small kayakable creek. The good news is that Patrick arrived at the same time to take photos for the county to try to get them to fix the road. Despite the crazy amount of water the structures put in by the crew were doing their job and the trail was looking great. We added some drainage aprons and an additional check step and I think it'll hold up nicely. After working all morning and stopping at the river for lunch we hiked the entire loop and I was blown away but the amount of quality work the crew had accomplished in 5 weeks. Of course the stepping stones were well set, and the crew did a great job at cutting benched tread, a first for a NJ crew, and building 2 switchbacks. I was also shocked to hear that instead of pulling out the crosscut saw the crew had cut timber for 20 check steps using a pulaski, all that crushing rock in past years has created some solid tool swinging skills with this crew.

The next day I met both crews at Hoffman Park (which I'll add to my list of places that make NJ a beautiful state and would surprise those people that hear NJ and think NJ Turnpike) and after some hasty picnic planning with the leaders headed out to Cushetunk. Wow do these crews do a lot of hiking. It was nice hiking over the project that the crew did in 2009 to the current site. Again, I was impressed by how these crew members that usually move large rocks have embraced timber and have set some perfect check steps. I hiked the chainsaw out which proved to be more of an ego builder then a help with the project. I was nicknamed "lumberjack" but only made 2 small cuts so not sure I can take credit for that. My plan to fell a tree was foiled by a finicky saw and a lack of time. Instead I got to dig one drainage dip and lay out the placement for about 5 more (more fun then sawing believe it or not). The only bummer was having to leave early and not getting to see the ridge trail and all of the great work I've heard about there. Hey, the way I see it is it's an excuse to come back and hike without a saw.

It was great working with everyone and I sure wish I could do it more often (but don't think that getting up at 4 on a daily basis would be good for me). I'm excited to hear about your rec trips and look forward to seeing you all again next week for the picnic. You should all be proud of your trail skills, you accomplished a lot and the county trails are proof that will last for years! Nicely done. (pics of musconetcong crew here: cushetunk are coming...)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I think I'm supposed to post tonight...

Well this will be a short post 'cause I'm uber tired and I don't even know if it's my turn but TODAY ON TEAM SWAMP DOG...
  •  Awesome alumni AJR aka Little Bear came to work with us today! except he's not so little anymore and he's taller than me and now I feel old and short
  • Played Bear, Fish, Mosquito and both crews ended the game with in with absolutely no planning one team said UNICORN! and the other said WIZARD! Game ended in a draw because I can't be sure Wizards are oh so much more powerful than unicorns
  • Dug more drainage dips and finished a section of tread that yellow jacket attacks prevented earlier
  • Discovered that Taylmeleon/Tay looks like a tricerotops aka a TAY-cerotops!
  • Did some major bench cutting on the ridge trail because it was so narrow and dangerous originally. Some hikers came through and expressed their gratitude for the work we did on the switchbacks, the parking lot trail, and the swamp so that was really nice to hear!
  • I got to see Little Bear's/puppy I wish was mine at the end of the day! and Ali is FREAKING HUGE NOW! I used to be able to hold her in my arms =(
Signing off...
Voldemort, Voldemort, oooh Voldy Voldy Voldy... VOLDEMORT!

26th (yesterday) - Team Swamp Dog

I have one word for the three of you who read this: Dunkin Donuts. Thats two words but I'm a triceratops derp so... Anyway, this is actually relevant because yesterday morning Ben Wheat and I went dumpster diving and brought the crew a very large amount of free doughnuts (for those of you who don't know, dumpster diving is a national activity in which you wait for a dunkin donuts to close and throw out their fresh donuts that didn't sell. You then take and eat said doughnuts. It is completely sanitary, the donuts have their own fresh bag and they are actually wrapped in the pink paper they sit on in the shop). Moving on Rachel came and visited us today! She helped so much because our trail had major water damage we had to solve. Overall good day, we did a ton of drainage work.

July 28

we got a good number of check steps set and they're looking pretty good. the debarking is a pain so i'm glad we have so many barkless logs. i did other general trail maintenance with with doug, like lopping and moving blowdowns, but on our way back, he was stung by some kind of wasp. he stung again on our hike down but kelly is still master of the bee stings with a total of three.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Rain, rain, rain...

So I'm in charge of blogging for Monday, July 25. I'll keep it short considering I'm about to fall asleep. I'm pretty sure the entire crew had a bad case of "The Mondays", myself included. However, there was work to be done. So after stretching and playing a quick game of lumberjack ninja (which I won after making the best "suspicious squash"), we made our way to our trail. We were greeted by Mason and Bobby (two of the SCA interns we met on our EE Trip to Sandy Hook). They took a brief hike of our trail to see the work we had accomplished up to the swamp. After our guests departed, it was time to super tread the bottom loop of our trail, as it was too thin and needed benching. After completing the tread on the entire initial loop, we broke for lunch. We then discussed our food plans for the rec trip and began a game of Mafia, which was brought to an abrupt halt by the incoming thunderstorms. We proceeded to make a dash for the vans to beat the rain and continued to Lauren's house. There we finished our game of Mafia (in which there happened to be no Mafia!!!) and proceeded to do some EE curriculum games. The first activity was to split into groups of three and design a park with a certain theme and to use natural resources and energy efficiency as often as possible. Themes were penguins, unicorns/pegasus', and pandas. We all had a lot of time thinking of silly and creative ways to design our park. After presenting our park proposals, we discussed renewable and non-renewable resources. By the time we finished all of that, it was time to head back to Mountain Farm. Well, that's about it. So much for keeping this one short...

Trey Songz out