Our 1999 Walden Trail crew has arrived!
Our 5-person crew is now assembled for a full summer of work on Walden Trail. Please see the spring trails report for full background information.
As of Friday, June 11th, our entire crew had arrived, and were happily settled in the McVicar's "Crew House" right across from the Ferncroft trailhead. Pictured (left to right) are crew leader Eric Flood and SCA volunteers Jonathan Segev, Oliva Lester, Daesha Ramachandran, and Zachary Hasse. Please see the crew article for a profile of the crew members.
The crew's first week consisted of intensive orientation and training including a welcoming dinner, a 10 mile hike, hand tools use and safety, advanced rigging and hoist workshop, map and compass techniques, wilderness first aid, and an initial overnight on Walden Trail. (See the trail calendar for details.)
Please hover over any image for a description. You can read about the crew's first impressions in the articles below.
Hoist and rigging workshop
By Olivia Lester, June, 1999
Before I came to New Hampshire and the WODC I was one who took pathways and trails for granted. I am now starting to see to world differently. I notice the little things that make a trail unique.
I am sitting on Wren Bridge, I so named for the small bird singing while I write. I believe that a wren is a beautiful thing - deceiving to the eye this small brown bird holds within itself an enchanting song, a dichotomy of nature. So often we become deceived by first impressions. For most of you this will be your first impression of me, for some, my first impression of you. My legs are folded, Indian style against my chest and the brook babbles and sings beneath me, traversing through the front yard. Although my front yard is undoubtedly spectacular, my back yard cannot be rivaled with, because of course, it is the White Mountain National Forest. I've come to an incredible place, so whole and healing, a sanctuary where body and soul combine to coexist delightfully.
There is a spirit here full of passion and adventure, youth and vision. I can feel it coursing through the floorboards of Green Shutters, my new home. Green Shutters, also known as "The Crew House", is charming and always busy with one of us running here, or biking there. Being a member of "a crew", any crew, is an incredible thing. I must admit, it is a trepidatious event to hop on a Greyhound in Utah and ride for four days across the country. Thank goodness I had a gut feeling I was traveling to an incredible place - far outdoing the seemingly endless expanse of the Midwest. (My God - how can a place be so flat?) I soon found there was nothing to worry about. The WODC whisked me up and has given the whole crew royal treatment. (I'm still trying to burn off calories gained at the great potluck!) The trails here are fabulous, the people even better! I'm so excited to learn as much as I can about the mountains and the area this summer and I hope to live up to everyone's expectations - We will be the best trail crew ever!
I am totally absorbed and happy to be here. The spirit of the woods is strong and I hope to add to that spirit by giving myself to this glorious area. Thanks WODC for your hospitality. I hope to meet as many of you as possible this summer during my stay in Wonalancet!
By Daesha Ramachandran, June, 1999
As graduation crept closer and closer this year, my fellow classmates spoke eagerly of their coming adventure at their chosen colleges - who they would room with, the teachers they would have, and, of course, how much partying they would do... All I could think about was how to get out of all that. During my college visit, the campus seemed to ooze with the coming expectations of excellence and intensity. "Stress" and "deadlines" seemed to echo in every building and "burn out" hid behind every corner. I was definitely not ready to begin college.
Concurrently, I began to acknowledge the passions I had neglected either due to lack of time or lack of energy. To make a long story short, I found myself in front of the SCA web page. My love for volunteering, appreciation of the outdoors, and dedication to my personal well-being, mind, body, and sprit, directed my energy to attaining a trail crew position. While my initial reasons for serving as a WODC volunteer were quite personal, I began to discover and appreciate the secondary and tertiary benefits of my decision.
First of all, there's Fred. Had I let the opportunity to volunteer with he WODC pass me by, I doubt I would ever have met such a character. Clad in a "crusha", a simple button-down shirt, light-weight pants, and a well-worn smile, Fred blazed the path up the mountain on our first hike - Always the first to offer some factoid, or point out some unusual natural formation, Fred was dubbed the "Official Sage of the Sandwich Range" immediately.
Among he are others, who without, Wonalancet would not be nearly as inviting. Evelyn, Peter, Judy, Chris, David, CC, and Dick have all extended their homes and energy so that the crew feels at home. From offering an extra pair of liner socks to cooking popcorn after a hike, the WODC members have allowed me and the others on the trail crew to share a bit of their lives. Needless to say, the people I've met so far have become one of the foremost benefits in volunteering for the WODC.
Finally, I've discovered that its not only the people I've met that have added to my trail crew experience thus far, but what their presence offers me on a daily basis. Living with the four other volunteers provides me with the opportunity to discover a slew of distinct backgrounds and philosophies, while at the same time allows me to share with them a dedication to a common cause. Moreover, the personal challenge of living with others and adjusting to everyone's living habits provides me with a daily exercise in compromise and patience. In all, my choice to volunteer this summer has proven to be a good one. While the work ahead will be challenging, the benefits I have already discovered while being here assure me that my time will be well-spent and rewarding.
By Zach Hasse, June 1999
One by one the cars and trucks pulled into the grassy parking lot in front of my new summer home. The passengers hopped out and followed the same sequential pattern of stretching, lacing up their boots, and slinging on their day packs, as they prepared for a full day of hiking. These overly chipper adults were members of the WODC, and they were arriving bright-eyed this morning to take myself and the rest of the summer trail crew on our orientation hike.
I imagine that the intended purpose of the trip was for the WODC members to show the trail crew examples of trail work. But for myself, the most evident result was that I realized how important the trails were to the WODC members. It was not just that they enjoy a water-free, clear path. Instead, the trails represent a vital vein leading into the heart of the wilderness. A vein which needs to be maintained to preserve the balance between the desires of the hiker and the serenity of the forest.
The blood was pumping as the orientation hike took to the first incline on the Dicey's Mill Trail. Peter Smart, the trails committee chairman, was leading the way with his Siberian Husky, Pemi. The rest of us clambered up the trail behind him, After about every third stop, it seemed, Peter would turn around, tighten his grip on Pemi's leash, brush his floppy, red hair over his head, and begin to explain why a bare log or pile of rocks was lying in the middle of the trail. He would mention something about drainage and waterbars. Then the other members of the trails committee would chime-in with their comments. This pattern of stopping, examining, and explaining continued for the next thirty water bars. Then someone remarked that there were over 200 water bars on this trail alone. By this point, my first thought was that this was going to be a long day. My second thought was that the WODC was a die-hard group of fanatical trail workers.
After thoroughly discussing trail drainage, the group picked up the pace until we arrived at the next topic - rock staircases. After scanning the size of the individual rock steps, and the steep angle of the slopes, my suspicions were confirmed - the WODC was definitely a bunch of trail loving lunatics.
The orientation hike continued through lunch and finally to an examination of the work that we, the trail crew, would be expected to complete. As we surveyed the areas of the trail that needed serious maintenance, I was apprehensive. Actually, I was plain scared. I had never done any trail work before, and I was afraid that I would not be able to do high quality work. I wanted to learn the tricks of the trade and I wanted to do good work, but I did not know of I was capable. Then I realized that if I was interested in learning how to do trail work and how to do it correctly, I was fortunate to be working for the WODC.
Just think, who could better teach me about trail work that the trail loving lunatics themselves. The passion, dedication, and motivation of the WODC members proved to me that I had come to the upper echelons of trail workers. The WODC members, seemed to me, to be experts at building and maintaining trails with the dual purpose of providing hikers with a path to the wilderness, and protecting the wilderness from the intrinsically destructive nature of hikers. In short, I thought maybe I would be transformed into a trail loving lunatic before the end of the summer - someone worthy of calling themselves a WODC trail worker.
By Jonathan Segev, July 1999
About a month before summer , signs that the vacation was coming started to show. First the weather was getting hot, the days were getting longer, and my friends started to talk about their plans for the summer. While they were talking about summer jobs, road trips, and so on, I was still crossing my fingers to get the unknown internship from SCA in new Hampshire. About ten days before summer I could not wait any longer and called. I talked to Judy and found out what I was doing this summer: Moving Rocks!
From the bus station Eric, Judy, and Peter picked us up. After dinner we found out we'll have a house, which is much, much better that the room I thought all five of us would have to share.
Another great thing I discovered very quickly was how involved the members of the WODC are. A group of people who actually take their free time to maintain the trails they hike on. There seemed to be so much involvement in our work, I still can't get over it. Our first work day was an "operation" of about fifteen people. Our campsite was so carefully planned. Every day in our training it seemed as there is a required minimum number of club members who must be present, not to mention the enthusiastic reaction of the club members when they met us at the pot-luck supper.
After the great hospitality it was time to get to work. Like I said before, during our first work day we were not alone. There were about ten club members who joined us. We piled many rocks. After that day I thought we might have left-overs. Little did I know.
By the time we were closing out first week there were only two or three rocks left. It was amazing to see how our pace was picking up during this week. In the first day we had a hard time getting one single rock in place, compared to our last work day when we placed a number of rock steps and scree.
The more time we spend together the better the chemistry is, and because our chemistry is better, we work better. As time goes on we'll get better, to make your trails more enjoyable for you, so that way our summer would be more pleasant for us.
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