November wasn’t such a great month for the trail crew. The ground froze early in the month, and we got a lot of rain and snow. The seasonals were laid off after the first week. I took some time off. The rest of the month has been spent lurking around the office doing paperwork and getting organized for winter. Crunching numbers and going to meetings are not activities at which most forestry technicians excel. We get restless or exceedingly lethargic. This leads to overeating, complaining, swearing viciously at computers, as well as fits of giggles when we break out the desk toys and start throwing paper airplanes over cubicle partitions.
Sometimes we escape, by having actual constructive things to do outside. Remember the great big world? Remember the National Forest? Oh, yes! When we finally pile into the crew rig and hit the road, we can all breathe a little more freely. Life gets a little more real. The mountains are different than the last time we saw them, a little snowier and further away. We dig in our packs for hats and gloves, because it’s cold in the shade. We are setting up Sno-Parks, the jumping-off places for winter recreation. You don’t need to be bright to do this, but you do need to pay attention to details and remember to bring the right tools.
Looking up the Gold Creek valley on a sunny crisp day is a reminder that the office is a very small place indeed, and certainly not the center of the universe.