by Reghan Gillman
CMC Stewardship Team
Whenever people ask me what my job is, they usually respond with something along the lines of, “Wow! That is so cool that you get to spend so much time in the outdoors! I’m so jealous!”
While it is true that being outside for a majority of the time is a definite plus, my position as a member of the CMC Stewardship Team is much more than that. It includes being outside for 10 hours a day in the hot sun with little shade, working with tools that make you sweat and your muscles sore, and trying to push past the thoughts of “What did I get myself into?!”
So one may say, “Wow that sounds like a lot of hard work. Why do you do it?” My answer would be because it is so worth it.
The Stewardship Team was working on a trail a few weeks back that was particularly difficult. We were breaking boulders, moving rocks, and transporting heavy soil in order to connect a new mountain biking route to an existing trail to create a loop.
There was no shade.
As the heat increased throughout the day, so did my frustrations. However, half way through the day we were approach by an older man who had driven out of his way to check in on the trail and the crew working on it. He expressed his gratitude to us for taking on such a challenging section of the trail and how much it would mean to the small town just down the road. He told us how the town had struggled to grow economically and communally, but had recently come together to create a series of trails for mountain bikes and trail runners with the hopes of attracting adventurers from around the state. So far, the results have been tremendous. The area is now a recreation hotspot for all kinds of people, and the town has begun to grow and build its community. As the day continued on, we met with several mountain bikers who were so excited that the trail would be connected and thanked us for our hard work.
After understanding the impact that my work would have on the local community\, I finished up my work with a pep in my step and a smile on my face, despite the sweltering heat. Trails not only connect people with nature, but they also connect people with each other. That is why the hard work we do is always worth it. That is why we do what we do.