JourneyAsheville: Appalachian Trail S.W.E.A.T. Crew

Calie Sanchez, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., gives a two thumbs up after helping to remove a tree that had fallen across the trail.

The Appalachian Trail is marked by 2-by-inch white blazes to keep hikers from getting lost.

Deer, bear and wild boar are just some of the wildlife seen on the AT.

Meagan from Tampa, Fla., enjoys a stroll in the woods in the evening after a hard day on the AT.

… and more deer.

It takes awhile for the morning haze to burn off on top of the Smokies as is evident from this photo of Derek’s Knob Shelter.

Chainsaws are not allowed on the trail due to noise and air pollution. All the trees are felled with crosscut saws.

A good book, a fire in the fireplace makes for a semi-comfortable day in the shelter. The Smokies receive an average annual rainfall of 82”.

“Pulaski’s” are the workhorse of the tools used.  Every member of the S.W.E.A.T. Crew carries in one or two tools in addition to what’s in their backpacks bringing the total weight carried by each crew member into the 60- to 80-pound range.

After being shuttled to the top of Clingman’s Dome, the S.W.E.A.T. Crew double checks the gear before hiking 12 miles to what will be “basecamp” for the week.

The reason they’re called The Smokies.

Food is stored 30-40 feet in the air so that bear and other critters won’t be attracted into camp by the smell of a free meal.

Most shelters on the AT are tucked into a widespot on the trail.

Lightweight “stoves” are used to make sure everyone has a hot meal after a day of chopping trees on the AT

Foot care is very important on the AT. Here Mateo (Asst. Trail Crew Leader) from Atlanta, helps take care of Treavor’s feet.

Asst. Trail Crew Leader Mateo with the Trail Crew Leader Jamie from Virginia

S.W.E.A.T. stands for “Smokies Wildnerness Elite Appalachian Trail” Crew.  The “Delta Force” of trail maintenance.

The tools are hung and stored each evening before everyone relaxes over dinner.

In many places the AT is 12 – 18 inches wide and follows along a “knife edge ridge”. Fall to one side and you’re in Tennessee. Fall to the other and you’re in Virginia.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “JourneyAsheville: Appalachian Trail S.W.E.A.T. Crew

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.