- June 21, 2016
- Posted by Sabrina Hardy
Deep breaths are taken moments before hitting the trail air. Anxious worries are calmed shortly after we start weaving through the trees. A 1,400-foot elevation gain and three miles of trekking into the backcountry liberates us from any societal stressors. Breaking the chains from the world of clocks is one of the steps of learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Standing in a sea of trees in the backcountry can tend to leave us feeling so small and vulnerable. These are the moments we breathe in and allow nature’s nurturing roots to grasp onto our vulnerability and let it shine in our strengths and weaknesses. During this time, we have the ability to create stronger connections and bonds with our
work, environment, and the ones sharing these moments.
Everyone in the crew was extremely excited when we found out we would be heading backcountry, in the Bridger Mountains, for our second hitch. Along with the excitement came apprehensions and anxiousness, however, everyone’s worries seemed to alleviate after we started hiking in at the Truman Gulch Trailhead. Our final destination for camp was in a meadow at the Bridger Foothills. We had the pleasure of working with the Gallatin Nation Forest Service who had a horse and mule team to pack in our food and tools. The project they assigned us was a trail reroute from the Bridger Foothills to the Middle Cottonwood. The top of the trail reroute started at the top of a meadow and worked its way through a tree line to meet up with other trails. Our first couple of days we put in light tread for the basis of the trail. After establishing the route for the new trail we went back to fine tune the back slope, downslope, and tread. Throughout our hitch, we all had to learn to start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable: our muscles were sore, we worked long days, we slept on an incline, and we were living without showers. Many of our creature comforts were no longer available to us. Even more importantly, we were living and working in close quarters with individuals we barely know. The first couple of weeks together we proved to each other that we can work cohesively as an effective and efficient crew, but would our relations turn into a closer bond.
Then the power of nature came into play. The natural environment awakened our senses and allowed us to be more vulnerable where in other situations we would not be. Perhaps it is because nature evokes our knowledge to understand how connected we are with our environment and the people in it. As the week progressed, we began to have meaningful conversations with one another. An understanding of one another developed, despite our diverse backgrounds. We realized we share a common thread of pursuing and obtaining our goals. By sharing the physical demands of the job in a powerful setting, we started to get more comfortable with the uncomfortable by taking down our shield and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable around one another.
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