Let’s see…so this is 1993, my third season at Cle Elum (season 12 or 13 total). Trail work agreed with me, and I was eager to learn more. Because of this interest, and ability to observe and pay attention to details I found myself doing trail surveys. Jon had more experience, so he showed me how to follow the trail with the measuring wheel and take notes, which we later typed up. Having these detailed logs of the trail is invaluable information when you’re in the office. It’s also documentation of all the backlog work needed to bring the trail up to specification. (Work that never seems to get done, but never mind that.)
In this photo, I’m at Navaho Pass, ready to strike out in search of a section of the elusive County Line Trail. Gazing at the Stuart Range first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. Later I was hot and tired and frustrated from following bits of trail that ended, and having to backtrack and try again. Jon calls that dog-hiking, for the way dogs run back and forth, putting on 3 miles for every mile that a human hikes. Jon was off doing a different section of the trail, negotiating his own frustrations.
It’s easy to look back and say those were the golden years. Funding wasn’t such an issue, so we had the luxury of doing trail surveys. Those were the days when we could just go out and do what needed to be done, and it seemed like there was rhyme and reason to our work. It doesn’t feel like that any more. Maybe because 18 years have gone by and the world has changed. My perspective has changed.
I’m glad I got to go out there and find an obscure old trail. Glad I got to explore the high country on a beautiful summer day. I think I’ll do some more of that this coming summer.