Full Circle in Red Lodge

  • November 22, 2016
  • Posted by Aaron Cotner

Red Lodge, Montana. Also Known as “Billing’s Playground” and “The Gateway to the Beartooth Mountains”.

This charming little mountain town is bursting with a strong sense of community. Through serving with the MCC I was afforded the opportunity to tap into their communal atmosphere. To walk the streets and be greeted with a friendly smile and conversation. To meet community members who were grateful for our being there, and showed it by sharing a meal. Also, a chance to work side-by-side with community volunteers.

Our first hitch of trail work was in Red Lodge, MT this season. I can remember the heat. High temps compounded the hard work and forced a cohesion amongst crew members who were still unsure of each other. Four months later we were back for our last hitch of trail work.

The temps were cooler. Awkward excitement at spending time with the crew was replaced with comfortable familiarity. The lush green now held hints of autumn yellow and orange. The precipitous conditions clung to the mountains, enveloping us in a fine mist as we worked. We worked alongside community volunteers for a trails day, and had some wildlife run-ins to close out the season (I was ten feet from a black bear that snacked on a crew mate’s lunch!).

Yes, Red Lodge, MT will forever have significance to me because of my MCC term. It will remind me of a season I spent serving Montana’s various communities. How service can bring people together, once strangers are now friends. And how amazing it is to be involved and open to new people and places.


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