Trail Building Is Hard Work

August 13 – 20

No joke. Building trail is hard work. It’s an adventure in finding those oft unused muscles. It took 9 people a full 5 days to build .78 miles of trail. The project was the Noble Canyon Realignment where we took trail perpendicular to contours and made it nice. The Noble Canyon Trail follows the Silver Creek drainage just south of Ebbetts Pass where it intersects the Pacific Crest Trail at mile 1045.

It was not always happy times. Hard hat and long sleeves made the work nearly unbearable, even above 8000 ft. My body’s inability to handle such heat slowed my work pace. None the less, I became the master of corridor clearing which means I cleared all tree matter from the to-be-built trail. Trees living and dead surrendered their will to me as I took their lives, accelerated their decay. A large swath was cut; large enough for equestrian riders. I tippy toed up to branches to cut them from the corridor. I laid in the dirt and sawed at tree bases. I inhaled pounds of dirt as the trail took form.

As I’m sure you know, a well fed volunteer is a happy volunteer. And despite my trail-building trials, I was very happy. I ate and ate and ate. I probably gained weight despite all the work. Breakfast and dinner were cooked by project leader Dave. Who by the way is 73 years old and cut down the big trees that I whimped out on. Project leader Jeremy bailed me out too. We carried lunches down the trail complete with jelly bellies and string cheese.

A heroic few worked on their day off (while I went skipping down the PCT) so we were able to finish the project ahead of schedule. We spent 5 days building new trail and only a 1/2 day decommissioning the old trail. .78 miles of trail may seem trivial but I am proud. The sense of accomplishment is strong and it feels good to give back. Not enough hikers take the time to participate in such a worthwhile project. After swinging a McCleod for a few days, you’ll never look at trail the same way. I dare you!

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