The wind storm that blew through western Virginia almost two weeks ago caused widespread damage in many neighborhoods. It also left its mark on the Appalachian Trail.
"This section went this way and blocked the whole trail." Maurice Turner is a Trail Monitor for the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. The debris he showed us Wednesday afternoon is just a small part of the storm damage trail crews have been attacking over the last ten days.
"And we had four chain saws going at one time, just buzzing away," Turner told us, "and other people were removing limbs from the trail. We were there for an hour or more, just going full blast."
In one 5.9 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Roanoke County, crews found 50 trees that had blown over and were blocking the path. And they've been working hard to clear the way.
Timo Grueneberg is the Assistant Trail Supervisor for the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. "We're maintaining 120 miles, and pretty much the northern half is cleared," he told WDBJ7. "Thanks to all of our overseers and volunteers that's done. We still have work to do in the south, but hopefully by the end of the month we're back in business."
Wednesday afternoon, we also met a group of volunteers who call themselves "the Mid-Week Crew," retirees who usually work on local greenways. On this day, they had just finished clearing trees from a stretch of the Appalachian Trail near Catawba.
Bill Gordge is the group's leader. "Most of the guys and ladies have been doing this with me for years now, maybe twelve years, fifteen years," he said. "And we just love building trails, and being in the outdoors and we have a lot of fun together too."
The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club says the trail crews have been making progress, and the region's most popular day hikes should be clear, but members of the group are also warning hikers to be careful, because the remaining debris could still conceal some hidden dangers.