am Abraham Steinberger and I
volunteer in the Maine Woods volunteer trail crew for ten days in late July. I
had no experience with trail work before my stint as a volunteer but that did
not matter at all. Everything that my fellow crew volunteers or my team
leaders expected me to do I had been taught previously. So I never had to guess
at my task and I felt confident in everything I did. Amazingly rewarding, trail work has caught me by
surprise. I thought that one would just kind of work on the trail then feel
good about it. In reality I have rarely felt as accomplished as I did after
setting all of the stones in the water bar, or brushing out a stretch of trail.
For me, all of the frustrations of working with heavy stones or hobble bush are
the inconveniences when compared with the successful glow one experiences when
they have finished a job on the trail. As a side note, trail crew got to
swim everyday except during thunderstorms, which was great.
first day that I walked to Camp Dodge and saw who I assumed to be my tent mate,
I was fairly shy but after saying a few words we found out we were fairly
similar. He was musical, athletic and his fro was out of the roof, quite
literally. We walked for a while
and then moved outside to start talking to our other prospective trail crew
mates. We found a small field to play Frisbee on with two other people. Whilst we were tossing around
the disc we talked about everything from sports to previous outdoors
experience. We ended up migrating from the field to the main building and
started to get to know each other better. We left the next day for Camp Hodge
in Maine; after a 6 hour car ride we arrived at the beautiful camp site.
Walking down you could see mountains surrounding the clearest glacial pond
imaginable, pines all around; everything was beautiful. We started our trail
work the next day and it was some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
After you finish you can just turn around and view everything you just did.
These 10 days have shown me that trail work is equal parts
exhausting and uplifting. There’s no doubt that it is, in fact work and
therefore tiring, but the trail part of the job- the woods, the weather, the
sky, combines with the thrill of teamwork to make it all worth your while and
then some. I had never done trail work before so I was a bit nervous that I
wouldn’t be strong enough, or that would hold the team back, but there is
absolutely a job for anyone who wants to help. Even better there’s room to
expand your skills, I never would have thought I could have any part in moving
giant rocks but with help and encouragement I did and that’s a really good
feeling. I was lucky to have an amazing group of fun, hardworking people, which
made the experience even better. The demands of trail work make your feel
stronger in body and sound in spirit which is a reward for the work your give.