Funny how fast your mind can change.
Many months ago when I read the requirements for the Cascade Crest 100 I was bummed to find out that trail maintenance is required to enter. Who has time for trail maintenance? I need to train!
Well then I got injured. And then I got injured again. And then my doctor told me to shut 'er down. After four weeks of nothing I am finally walking around a little so with the help of an ankle brace and a dry day I hit Tiger Mountain with the Washington Trails Association (WTA).
ASIDE - I signed up for this day way in advance... as in before I hurt myself. Was it smart to go out on slippery, muddy trails with a bum ankle? Maybe not but nothing happened so I dodged that bullet.
It was super fun!
These guys have volunteering down to a science and a majority of the participants are not only regulars but have been doing this for YEARS. To wit, they give you your own hardhat after five times and your own fleece vest after 15 times. I saw several vests.
These guys help facilitate carpooling, they give you a temporary Discover Pass so you can park at the trailhead, they share snacks and when you get back to the car they have more drinks and snacks. They pretty much remove all the obstacles to showing up.
I carpooled with these two women who were both named Erin and who both had red hair. When I first asked if they wanted to carpool - at the time I had no idea about these similarities - I was told, "Haha! You are asking for trouble if you are daring enough to ride with the two ginger Erins! :-)"
Look out I guess.
Turns out both Erins were really cool, the one driving has a f'ing lead foot (which was also really cool) and one is a web developer and the other a preservationist so every conversation was really interesting.
We parked at the Preston exit and had to walk two miles to the bridges we were going to build, Let me just say that on the north side of Tiger it was COLD. Add in the fact that this was day three of the juice cleanse Shelley and I were finishing up and I had no fuel to keep myself warm. Did I mention there was snow up by the bridges?
Trail work is positively medieval. You carry the tools you need to the site, sometimes you carry lumber (and rebar and nails and webbing and rope), you cut down trees that you will use, you skin the trees, you prune off the branches, you dig the holes, you chop the slots in the logs, you nail on the planks, you re-route the trails and then you carry the tools back down. And then you have drinks and brownies and cookies (if you don't happen to be on a juice cleanse...). It was really cool.
I learned that you need to dress appropriately! As in you need real boots and not some pretty-boy trail running shoes and Carhartt and fleece you got from Value Village because guaranteed everything you wear will come back caked with mud.
As we were heading up I waited at an intersection for the rest of the group and who should I see but Bryan Estes out on a run. It was fun to see him but as he danced away up the trail I looked down at my ankle brace and got bummed out again. Sigh.
Giving back is so good for the soul and I can't think of an organization that does it better than WTA. We take so much of what we use for granted be it local trails or excellent commercial-free radio. Why not contribute/donate? I can't think of a reason not to. I will be back.
|Workout Food||BluePrint Juice Cleanse (bottles 2-4), tea|
|Time of Day||9:00 AM|
|Workout Type||manual labor|
|Equipment||Brooks Cascadia 7|