Maine Teen Trail Crew #3: Snapshots from the Maine Woods

“Having lived in New England my whole life, this is surprisingly the first time I have been to any of Maine’s remote areas. I was amazed at the ruggedness of the land and I certainly want to explore the area more. One of the most interesting areas was the Gulf Hagas. It looked like nothing you would expect in New England.” –Henry

“”When I first pulled into Camp Dodge, I didn’t know what to think. My crew was much smaller than I’d expected and I felt uncomfortable at first. But if the ice didn’t break immediately, it slowly melted. And when we arrived at our base camp, I happily fell into the “cush” (by camp standards) life of the frontcountry. Work wasn’t easy though. Hours hacking away at wood grew tedious, painful at worst. But through the sweat and grime, I gained a sense of accomplishment and came to really understand the complex issue of preservation and conservation. I also came to know people from all over New England. I picked up everything from their local slang to their favorite rappers. My time with the AMC was a real experience, one that I’m glad I had.” –Andrew

“As someone who had never done trail work, I didn’t know what to expect from this trip. I knew I would be helping hikers and protecting the environment, but I didn’t really know how or the amount of effort it would take. What surprised me the most was how rewarding working from 9 to 5 every day would be. On the second day working on the bog bridge, things began to come together. I had found which jobs I like the best and how I fit in as a part of our team. There was something about setting a log in the ground you had just freshly dug with a pickmattock or the relief at finding the board you had just laid down doesn’t wobble. The final push with the rock bar that creates a path for a drainage. I had never thought of how much effort and time it takes to build a rock stair case or trim back branches on a trail, but now I can’t help it. So even in 10 or 15 years when my work has started to rot and grow back, I will still hold on to what I learned here. “ –Grace

“For me, the highlight of each day is swimming in Long Pond. Upon arriving back at camp, I’m sore, exhausted and my thick cotton workpants are making me sweat like a pig. But then I can take them off, along with my socks (also disgusting) and swim out into the cool, refreshing water. Speed is imperative when entering. Those who wade in slowly are left at the mercy of the leeches, whom I suspect inhabit a small metropolis beneath the jagged boards of our dock. Once past the blood suckers, the swimming is mostly carefree. Usually, the water is still as a bathtub, but occasionally some chop will make an appearance. Any semi-competent swimmer like me can handle it with ease, but those with good imaginations may struggle with thoughts of the Long Pond Monster, who is rumored to feast on stinky trail workers. Once I’m out of the water, I can dry out on the sun-drenched dock. Then it’s off to a delicious meal and roaring campfire. Another good afternoon completed.” –Jeremy