5 trail workers, 4 weeks, 1 Leadership Team

The Leadership Team and leaders on Bear Mountain, Salisbury CT, during their Leave No Trace Weekend

Last Friday, the Berkshires Leadership crew finished four weeks packed with tough work, mud, sweat, swimming, laughter, sun, rain, long hikes and beautiful views. The crew began their four weeks of trail work back in June on the Hopper trail in Mt. Greylock State Reservation. They started out with a rock waterbar project. Learning to set rocks is a difficult and often slow process, yet the crew still succeeded in installing two waterbars. And after a few initial quiet days they also succeeded in getting to know each other, becoming a giggly, conversational, enthusiastic group.
That weekend the crew traveled by van up to New Hampshire to become Wilderness First Aid certified alongside the White Mountains four week Leadership crew. During their second week, after a five hour ride back down to the Berkshires, they were back at work on a tricky section of new trail construction of a section of the Appalachian Trail on Mt. Prospect. The crew worked on this section for two weeks, moving loose rocks out of the tread, and setting them as cribbing on the downhill side of the trail to stabilize the tread and prevent erosion. In between these two weeks of work the Leadership crew went on a two day Leave No Trace Trainer course, during which they learned, and taught one another, the principles of LNT. The crew’s final week was spent at Upper Goose Pond on the Appalachian Trail. They worked long hard days to create two beautiful timber turnpikes in a muddy area, and were still able to enjoy dessert while watching the sun set over the pond. 

"Workshop Wednesday": Learning to use a Crosscut
For their last three weeks, in addition to completing trail work projects, the Leadership crew also learned a new and advanced trail skill; these sessions were aptly named “Workshop Wednesdays” (regardless of the day they fell on!). On their second week they learned about axes and spent an afternoon practicing chopping. On their third week they discovered the magic of the griphoist and used it to pull a huge rock uphill for their cribbing project. And on the fourth week, they learned about crosscut saws, and used crosscuts for the rest of the week to process the wood for their turnpikes. 

While I knew it would be hard for them to sum up it up briefly, on their last day I asked each member of the crew to write a few sentences about their experience:

Sarah-Rose & Siobhan use the Crosscut with great form!
Over these 4 weeks I’ve learned an incredible 
amount about trail work, the Berkshires and the people I met along the way. I’ve realized how important trail workers are to both through hikers and section hikers. I’ve also learned how full 10 hour work days can really be. This trip has been an incredible way to experience the A. T. from a new perspective.
-          Siobhan O.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was when we were working and hikers would come by and thank us for our work because it reminded me that even though we are only here for four weeks, we are making a big impact that will last for years and is really appreciated by many hikers.”
-          Alex K.

I learned two things on this trip: That I could push myself harder than I ever thought, and that I truly love the outdoors.”
-          Damir P.

“It made me realize how connected I truly am to the natural environment around. It was such an incredible experience with great people. Trail work is hard work, but it’s also so rewarding!
-          Sarah-Rose B.

All my life the outdoors has been a place of safety and refuge for me. Watching the first hikers to cross our newly-finished turnpikes and testing the rock waterbar we set on Mt. Greylock made me feel like I had done something important and lasting, to give back to nature and preserve that place of refuge for others.
-          Bird L.

The Leadership Team was well-acquainted with mud from week one. Thanks for all your hard work!!