Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mobile Skills Crew - Lapham Peak

Pulaski. Buckthorn. Grub. Tread. Duff. Macleod.

Twelve hours ago, I didn't know these words very well. Now, I don't think I will ever forget them.

Though being involved with the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance for about two years, I have mostly used my time to learn about hiking and lead hikes with kids. Maintenance and trailbuilding was something daunting. Something foreign. While it is still pretty foreign, it is no longer daunting.

Today, I volunteered at my first Mobile Skills Crew event and was assigned to Section 14 on the new and improved Lapham Peak Segment reroute.

Luckily for me, I was put in a crew of experienced and skilled trailbuilders who taught me with patience and humor. That being said, the one that taught me most was actually just nine years old. The grandson of my crew leader inspired me with his enthusiasm, his knowledge, and his energy.

Besides being introduced to new tools and new invasive species, I was able to remove stumps, pop up rock after rock, and help create a rock wall. Though sometimes it felt like I was making one hole just to fill another, I now know and understand good dirt as opposed to bad fill.

But what I understand even more now is the dedication and desire that so many good-hearted people have to create and maintain natural experiences for generations to come. I am continually impressed at the passion people I am surrounded by exhibit for the trail.

While I certainly worked hard based on the fact that I am sore in places I didn't know I even had, so many others worked even harder. It is impressive and inspiring and I am excited for more opportunities to help maintain the trail I so thoroughly enjoy.

But above that, I look forward to meeting and learning about the people that make the Ice Age Trail the special place it is.
View from new trail
Another view from new trail

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