- March 30, 2015
- Posted by Beryl Kelley
After nearly two months of training, planning, and fantasizing about getting our hands on some tools in the field, Field Crew Leaders from the Northern Rockies region finally set out to Missoula to do just that at trails training week. Some of us were anxious to get back to the dirty work we have come to love, others were excited to jump head first into a brand new kind of work. While our backgrounds and experience are all varied, we have all been brought together by one unifying factor: To work in great outdoors of northern Montana, and work hard.
Of course, a side effect of bringing together a group of young people who choose (on purpose) to work in the rain, snow, extreme heat or frigid cold, is that that group quickly becomes bound together by the shared experience.
On the first day of work, snow transformed the trail into a slippery winter wonderland. Cold fingers dug brand new tread for a reroute on the Fenceline Trail, and in spite of less-than-ideal weather, laughter could be heard up and down the trail as leaders exchanged knowledge and worked harder to keep warm.
As the short week progressed an entire fictional kingdom was formed, leftovers were taken care of in the spirit of Leave No Trace Principals, and jokes were shared that will be enjoyed and remembered for many months to come. A glimpse into this element of our week can be viewed in the accompanying photo as we felt compelled NOT to leave any tomato sauce uneaten…a challenge was levied and two competitors were chosen. Jedd emerged the victor.
In the end, over 2,000 feet of new tread was established for mountain bikers in Sawmill Gulch, which in and of itself was an accomplishment. Beyond that, friendships were strengthened and physical limits were pushed. Some of the best memories will have been from our hardest days when bad weather prevails, or when two cans of tomato juice need to be finished…
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