The Task at Hand

Today I went on another recon mission, this time to the Pacific Crest Trail north of Snoqualmie Pass. This photo does not begin to do justice to what I found. Forty logs in two miles. That’s a lot. The residue of last winter’s storms lies scattered on the forest floor. It would not be a problem if people didn’t want to walk there.

I see those people in the parking lot. They have just driven the forty or so miles from the city, and get out wearing their clean high-tech gear from REI. Maybe they are surprised to see snow on the trail still, and I have noticed the distaste on their faces when they have to step in mud. Wait till they see all the big logs. Maybe they expected that it would be an easy jaunt up to the scenic part, the part where you are above the forest and can’t hear the interstate any more. I actually don’t know what people expect or think about, but I know not that many of them are paying attention to the trail because I hear them telling each other about their lives and wherever they are from.

What if there were trail elves who came out at night and magically cleaned all this up? Wouldn’t that be nice? Instead, I’ve got my notebook out and am estimating what it’s going to take to get this passable to foot and hoof traffic. It’s going to take days and some serious head-scratching to figure out how to get tons of wood off the trail with what we can carry on our backs. It’s going to take a lot of trail crew sweat, and hopefully not much blood or too many tears. There will be trial and error. Once the logs are moved, we will have to rebuild the tread where the roots tipped over and took the trail with them. There are craters left behind. A pretty puzzle to solve.

And that’s only two easy miles. The trail continues north for forty-eight more miles before it hits the Skykomish Ranger District and becomes the responsibility of a different trail crew. Heading south, there are thirty miles before Marissa and her crew at the Naches Ranger District take over.

Well, I guess I ain’t whinin’. It’s good to have a purpose and a paycheck. Could be worse. Could be living in the city doing a job I’m not suited for. Could be in a place where I didn’t have to step in mud or scratch my head.

One thought on “The Task at Hand

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