In celebration of National Public Lands Day I spent last Saturday September 29th with 191 other people working on some local trails. I can still feel the effects today. Ouch! That manual labor is a shock to my normal desk job physique. While I do bike and hike a lot, I don't often swing a McCloud for 4 hours!
The turnout, 192 people, was amazing. Even more so as the tempurature at our local ski area, where the trails are, dropped into the 20's and the ground was covered in fresh snow. There was a stready breeze enhancing the chill. The projects included building a couple of miles of new mountain bike/hiking trails, trimming brush on the nordic ski trails, and expanding the solar lighting project for the nordic ski trails. A great thanks goes out to REI who provided much of the organization, provided grants for the equipment, tee-shirts and raffle prizes for the volunteers, etc. There were a number of other important sponsors as well including Cobby's Sandwiches and Blue Sky Bagels.
In the morning I was assigned to the mountain bike trail crew. About 90 volunteers completed the finishing touches on a new trail. The trail had been cut in with a trail making machine, but it needed maintenace on the whole length. We finished the trail in about 4 hours. I can't wait to ride it. In teh afternoon I was assigned to hanging the solar powered LED light fixtures on the poles. This included preparing the fittings, gluing the PVC, attaching the fixtures to the posts, and some wiring. I sure hope they work come ski time! In all we added a kilometer and a half of new lighted ski trail to the 4.5 kilometers we had before. It was a full day of work before I hitched a ride back home.
It feels great to volunteer on great projects that enhance our area, but I was most at awe by all of the other people who turned out. I would have been impressed with half that many. It provides hope for our future as a society.