The Man, the Myth, the, seriously The Man, the Myth, the, seriously

7 Sparrows in a National Park

  • January 21, 2016
  • Posted by Cruisin' Susan

Fall encroached, slowly at first, then all at once. The air grew crisper, the smoke from this summer’s fires almost completely gone. We spent a week in West Glacier, staying at the Apgar Campground, just a few miles in from Glacier’s west entrance. This hitch, I got the chance to be my crew’s assistant crew leader, leading the week’s work with Megan. It turned out to be an amazing hitch to lead. As the season is winding down, there has been less opportunity for trailwork, as most of the Forest Service and Glacier’s trail crews’ seasons are coming to a close. However, this means there is even more opportunity for new experiences, and a chance for us to take a breather from digging tread and working on structures. This week, we had the pleasure of working with Jack, leader of a crew in the Carpentry Office for West Glacier. Working with Jack was amazing! He knew just about everything there was to know about the history of the park, and he never failed to have a new story to tell about the cabins we were working on.

Our main tasks included helping with clean up at some historic cabins restoration sites, and assisting in the restoration of a cabin just a mile into the backcountry. The 20 minute hike to the work site was beautiful. Fall had turned the aspens’ leaves yellow, and since the area was a burn site, we were able to see clear views of Glacier’s beautiful mountain landscapes. Most of us had never had the chance to work in carpentry, and it was fascinating to see the handiwork. We helped to dig down the floor in the cabin, making the dirt floor even and level enough for wood to go over it. We also helped restore the cabin’s original window from the door that had been installed in the 1950’s. While I was helping to knock out some of the mortar holding the logs in place, I noticed what looked to be newspaper held in between the cracks. I pulled it out, and realized I had found the cover of the Missoulian, an issue from 1951! I felt like an archaeologist of sorts. On the last two days of work, we helped brush the trail that lead up to the cabin we had been working on. Brushing can be a bit monotonous and mind numbing, but at this point in the season, the Sparrows know just how to cheer each other up, and keep our minds active!

Having members be assistant leaders for a hitch is a new activity MCC has offered this year. It turned out to be an awesome opportunity. I’m hoping to return as a leader next year, so I was eager for the extra responsibility and for a chance to show that I was capable. It was also really great to work alongside Megan, and to have a better understanding of just how much work being a leader really is! We spoke with our sponsor together on a daily basis, worked together to come up with a gameplan to tackle projects, and filled out the hitch reports and paperwork.

As the MCC’s season is starting to wrap up, waves of preemptive nostalgia have begun to wash over me. As a crew, we’re pushing through a bit of a hump. Some of us have had a harder time staying productive and on top of our game. However, through some careful communication, we’ve been able to stay on track, and remind each other that we’re almost there! The seven sparrows have come to be my family out here in Montana. Although it makes me sad to think that in a year, each of us could be anywhere, I know that no matter what, I’ll never forget the summer we spent in the Northern Rockies.

Bye for now,


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