Trails Volunteer of the Month - September 2009

Jeff Longcor

I live for adventure. Nothing is more thrilling to me than experiencing the challenges and rewards offered by the wilderness. I developed a deep love for the outdoors at a young age during family vacations and boy scout trips. I cherish vivid memories of stormy sails, vertical climbs, night hikes, cave explorations, and white water roller coasters. With support from my family and friends, I've managed to embark on a number of unforgettable expeditions to places like the Northern Cascades (NOLS) and the summit of Aconcagua in Argentina. I believe that any wild adventure with good friends should always generate more plans for the future. While celebrating new years eve on Aconcagua, I sipped a fine Argentinean wine from a plastic nalgene (soon to be used for pee) and resolved to complete the 48 4,000fters in NH. My resolution quickly grew into an obsession that compelled me to hike every weekend. The natural beauty and solitude of the mountains gave me a desperately needed escape from the crowded city.

Throughout my pursuit of the 4,000fters, I shamefully took the AMC trails for granted. I never considered the hard work and dedicated effort required to maintain these wooded paths until I attended the basic skills session at Camp Dodge.

I originally volunteered to serve as a trail adopter on behalf of Tufts Wilderness Orientation (TWO). Every summer, TWO leaders bring 200 freshmen into the wilderness of ME, NH, and VT for a five day backpacking trip. TWO offers a trail crew trip for leaders and students interested in giving back to the outdoor community. In the past, the trail crew experience often suffered from logistical and legal issues that developed from working on a different trail each year. When a highly respected TWO leader named Dandan suggested that we adopt our own trail, I jumped at the chance to oversee this new approach. The unprecedented success of the 2008 and 2009 trail crew trips motivated me to volunteer for the Carrigain Region Leader position. I am proud to say that many of my friends at Tufts have shown their support this summer by hiking adopted trails, performing trail work, and attending AMC events. I would especially like to thank Vertical Ice Climbing Enthusiasts (VICE) members Phil Mallon, Austin Siadak, Jed Palmer, and Talya Peltzman for joining me on so many hikes and dirty work trips. I also greatly appreciate August Longino's efforts in fostering a trail maintance program within the Tufts Mountain Club (TMC).

I plan to continue serving as a Trail Adopter and Region Leader with the ultimate goal of facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship between Tufts University and the AMC.

Thank you,