Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, Oct 15 2004 - Trail Maintenance & Camping Weekend (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen
Participants:Jesse Allen, Kate Copanic, Rob, Shelley Sanner, Jeff Schneider, KC Yi, Dorlisa Minnick, Kathleen Hinman, Maren Smith, Allison Ehrman, Larakay Anderson, Leo Seung, Lucas Fisher, Anders Lofstrand

Write Up:
Our weekend at the Blackburn Center got off to an interesting start at the carpool location where everyone was there on time and no one seemed able to spot the car with a 17- foot-long canoe on top, but this was rapidly solved. Jeff sped off first with the lasagna dinner in hand to get it in the oven and to bake for a while before the rest of us arrived, but either we had lead foots on the gas pedal or Jeff was enjoying the leisurely nighttime scenery as we arrived at the cabin to find the oven just turned on. Larakay, Shelley, Anders, Dorlisa, Allison, and KC all had arrived already on their own, so we all did informal introductions, unloaded the cars, and got the lasagna in the oven and garlic bread buttered up, then got seriously stuck into the wine while one of the caretakers, Bill, introduced us to the cabin, its history, the Appalachian Trail (AT) it serves, and a little bit about how things would work on our weekend.

The Blackburn Center and the AT both have interesting histories, neither of which I will bore you fair readers with here. At its core, the center is an old cabin built from American Chestnut (a tree which is sadly no longer present as a timber tree as it has fallen victim to an invasive blight; American chestnuts do still exist, but they tend to grow only for ten to twelve years, then the blight kills them and the massive trees that once covered the hillsides of the Appalachians are long since gone), but it has been refurbished and expanded over the years by volunteer crews. It now consists of a much larger cabin (though you can see the original American Chestnut walls around which the kitchen, wrap-around screened-in wide porch, loft, and attic bunks have been added) complete with a well-equipped large kitchen (can you tell this author likes to cook?) and a nearly completed refurbished carriage house, the upper story of which is currently unfinished wood walls and which will in the future become the caretaker quarters. In the meantime it provided extra bunk space (albeit currently unheated to prevent soot getting on the yet-to-be varnished wood). During warmer weather, it is equipped with an outdoor solar shower (shut down in the winter to prevent the water freezing in the solar coils) and primitive facilities, but it does have running hot water and electricity and gas for the kitchen as well as wood stove heating in the main cabin. There is also a hiker hostel with a wood stove for long- distances hikers, and campground facilities for large groups such as the Boy Scout troop that came through on Saturday night while we were there.

After some introductions, wine, chatter, and getting ourselves settled in for the night, we got into our rather late dinner of lasagna, garlic bread, and cake for dessert. Maren and Kathy arrived a little later than the rest of us, but just in time for dinner. Several members got into an improvised game of Loaded Questions (why does Shelley love this game so much?), while others of us at the far end of the table tried to play Loaded Jeapordy (listen to the answers and try to work out what the questions we never heard in all the noise were). After being terrorized for a short while by KC and his camera, we all settled in for a good night of sleep. Given how cold it was, no one opted to sleep outside on the porch to greet the rising sun in the morning.

Early in the morning, Kai got up and in typical two- year-old fashion, was not necessarily all that quiet. The people sleeping in the loft right above the caretaker's quarters couldn't miss it. But it was a good excuse to get moving and get the coffee on, and eventually we all were gathered around the breakfast table for sausages, bagels, and cream cheese to fortify us befor

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