Week two of the three week training session for the Camp
Dodge Volunteer Trail Crew Leaders began with rain, a deep chill and mud up to
our ears. Well, not actually up to our ears but pretty close. Rock work
presents a number of challenges. Quarrying decent rocks. Moving these rocks to
the worksite and setting them in the proper place so that they shed water,
retain soil, direct hikers and remain in place for generations to name a few. Each
of these steps become exponentially more difficult when hands, feet, tools and
really just everything around you is soaking wet. Despite these adverse conditions the Crew
Leaders managed to roll rocks with ease and keep their morale high.
was no wallowing in the knee deep mud and pools of opaque water. There was
laughing at corny jokes, quizzical looks while pondering brain teasers and
riddles, inspirational speeches taken word for word from The Lord of The Rings
Trilogy as well as story-telling and vocabulary tests all while tirelessly positioning
and repositioning rocks weighing several hundred pounds. They were learning
more than just the fundamentals of setting rocks. The Leaders were learning the
intangible lessons of perseverance and how to work as a team to trouble shoot
used slings and pick mattock handles to lift and lower large rocks exactly
where they wanted them. They laid rock bars parallel to each other on the
ground to slide massive rocks across depressions that would have otherwise
swallowed them up. They taught each other how to manipulate our simple hand
tools to get optimum mechanical advantage and lever a rock nearly the size of a
mini cooper into a spot where before there had just been a muddy embankment and
rapidly eroding use-paths. Most importantly they learned and proved that if
they never give up they will succeed.
leaders were spread out over four sites along the lower portion of the Imp
Trail. Their projects varied between turnpikes, staircase installation, water
bar installation and general tread hardening. The structures weren’t the only
focus of this week though. Each project site was examined for signs of water
erosion, foot traffic, and soil loss. Leaders learned to interpret and educate
others on the many different factors that go into trail design and identify the
elements of a sustainable trail. Before long everyone was talking about the corridor,
anchors, outflows and sustainable grades. As their skill levels increased the
rain stopped and the clouds parted. As if a sign of the great season to come,
our gear had a chance to dry off a little and we really started setting rocks.
In four days the leaders set 30 rocks combined in our turnpike, staircase, and
two water bars.
week of training has got us all so excited for this season. Come join us in
making a difference in some of the most beautiful places in the country.
Contact Alison Violette (email@example.com
to inquire about our many teen and adult volunteer crews throughout the White
Mountains and Maine. From all of us here at Camp Dodge, see you on the trail!