08 April 2014

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Not if it happens to be at the Mt Collins shelter on the AT in the GSMNP... Because I spent this past weekend with some other pretty awesome volunteers from the Smoky Mtn Hiking Club building a brand new privy!

Me in the finished privy!
But again back to the beginning: This project has been in the works for a while & Brian & I even got a chance to help with the pre-assembly back in March at the AT House. We pre-cut & drilled all the lumber, built & disassembled the lower bin & then left it all to be bundled up & flown to the site by helicopter.

The plan was to meet early Saturday morning at the parking area along 
Clingmans Dome Road & backpack in with tools & assorted hardware, with the intent of staying overnite at the shelter to finish up on Sunday. This was not too hard as it is only 3/4 of a mile in to the shelter, but the recent thunderstorms had made the trail a muddy mess! It was also quite a bit colder at the start - a mere 28 degrees according to the temp gauge on the 'E. We hiked in rather quickly due to the brisk temps. The shelter was nice, but no fire ring outside - I guess due to asshole hikers cutting the green trees for firewood. I mean, really? Nothing better than a smoky smoldering fire, right? We also made a rookie mistake by leaving our packs sitting at the shelter while we scouted around: this shelter has a healthy population of squirrels, mice & possibly chipmunks as they quickly helped themselves to the butter & almonds I had packed in. Luckily they did not have enough time or patience to get to the rest of our food so we were not completely out of luck. 

We checked out the privy site & it was nice were glad to find that the "pit" for the composting bins below the privy had been already excavated by the Ridgerunners & other volunteers. But remember the  previously mentioned thunderstorms & mud? Oh yea. It was a mud wallow any hog would have envied. Regardless of all our slippin' & sliding, the work went rather quickly & the structure came together nicely. By the end of the day we had the bins built, wire enclosed & the floors in place.

Coming together very well!
The next day we started building the walls & roof, only to find that we were missing the 2x4 & 2x6 components for one side wall! Luckily, when the Mt Collins shelter was being renovated they had included a few extra 2x4's on the front for a situation just like this. We were easily able to demo enough for our purposes!

The walls went up with no issues & the metal roof & trim looked sharp! After the door was hung,  Ed (the most amazing volunteer I have ever met!) put the finishing touch by attaching the half moon:

The finished project -  not too shabby!

All in all I had a great time - feel like I am really banking some good karma for when it it is my turn to hit the trail!

1 comment:

  1. I love the half moon!! Ha!!! You guys are awesome...thanks for all you do! Sorry about the pack invasion, but you sure made some rodent(s) day!