I am a big believer in giving back however a person can to their community.
Donations, work in kind, presentations or administrative work…all important for keeping an organization going.
But perhaps it is a legacy of my upbringing, I tend to think of any work that puts in some sweat equity as the most direct and apparent way of giving back.
Helping to pack boxes, serving the less fortunate in a soup kitchen or, in my case, moving logs, clearing brush and digging new tread. It feels good. Honest. And feels like I am truly giving back in the most direct way possible.
Somehow it feels more honest and real than my day job. I earn a good salary for what, to me, seems like something of no long-lasting importance. If I was to leave tomorrow, I’d be that short, bald and talkative guy who camps a lot. And that’s about it. The beige box will be filled by another person. The machine will move on. The quarterly meetings will be just the same. And I doubt the software I help maintain will be remembered ten years from now.
I’ve mentioned the Newport Bridge before. Now here’s a legacy my grandfather helped to build. Beautiful, functional, majestic and iconic. It is featured on the Rhode Island quarter and is truly a wonderful blend of artistry, craftsmanship and utility. It is beautiful.
I guess that is why I, in part, gravitate to trying to get a weekend or two (at least) of trail work a year.
I am helping to build a legacy. Outdoor recreation users won’t know I helped build the trail. But the trail will be there, used, enjoyed and appreciated for many years. People will walk or ride on it. Picnics will be enjoyed, relationships will be formed and the outdoors will be savored. Perhaps a twelve-year-old will even walk on it. Maybe get inspired the in same way I was thirty years ago on a different trail.
This past weekend, I participated in some trail work with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition working in conjunction with the USFS, Rocky Mountain Conservancy Conservation Corps and the Headwaters Trail Alliance.
The East Shore trail by Grand Lake was re-habbed a bit with some needed work. It is the part of the CDNST that goes into Grand Lake.
We had our work cut out for us this day. A stretch of trail was in need or re-habbing, closure and improvement.
We moved logs, planted aspen, closed down the old trail and finished up the tread on a new stretch of trail.
But there was beauty among the hard work.
We enjoyed working by Shadow Lake all day and looking over to Grand Lake.
We broke for lunch. Backpackers Pantry was helping with the trail work and also provided various lunches for us. The Cuban beans and rice was my personal favorite.
After lunch, we worked our way up the trail again. There was work to be finished. After it was all done, the trail was re-vegged, parts were closed and some nice new tread was constructed.
After the work was done, a reward for the day was in sight: BEER!
There was still some markers to put it up though by the trailhead. Becky of Deuter Packs (another sponsor who not only donated some packs, but also did some trail work.) put up the last CDT marker for the day.
We finished and posed for the traditional group shot.
A very productive day. And a rewarding one.