A Heartfelt Thank You to Trail Crews Everywhere

Vague Appreciation

I have gained a greater appreciation for every one whose job it is to maintain the trails we all enjoy. On many previous hikes I have walked between two pieces of a large tree trunk on either side of the trail and know someone lugged a chainsaw in and cut it out of the way when it fell. I have crossed rushing streams on bridges and wondered how they had been built. I hiked on trails where groups of workers came in for a whole season and did major upgrades to overused steep trails to stop erosion or to repair it after a major wildfire. 

Nothing will make you appreciate something so much as its absence. We have all come across a tree fallen across a trail before and had to scramble over or under it. I mean, let’s be real, no one can keep up with every fallen tree everywhere. Then add to that a spring full of rain and wind, lots of standing dead trees due to the woolly adelgid, and crews off the trails for months due to social distancing. Now you have the setting for my first backpacking trip since putting off my AT thru-hike till next year.

Reality Check

It was great weather warm but not the usual hot and humid for this time of year. The first downed tree was less than a quarter of a mile in and was followed by seven more in the next four miles. All but two required taking off my pack and climbing over and through branches. A couple of times it would be under this part then over and through the next. It took me four hours to go four miles on what was otherwise a well-maintained trail. Every time I had to pick my pack up off the ground and put it back on I had a more personal appreciation for all the hardworking trail maintenance crews.

Real Appreciation

I want to take this opportunity to say a heart felt thank you to all the people who work so hard to keep our trails well maintained for our use. I have a new understanding for just how much all of your hard work changes my hiking experience. Thank you.

Featured photo courtesy Maggie Slepian.

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