- August 14, 2017
- Posted by Shira Hereld
When we showed up for our first day of work at Dad Peak (take a right turn after the middle of nowhere, you’ll find it), we were greeted by two people: a ranger from the Cabinet Mountain Ranger District, and Bob Cheshire, private citizen. Bob, a dapper and cheerful man in his 70s, was the real reason we’d hike an average of five miles a day up fire-line-steep grade for two weeks. We were about to brush and clear his very favorite trail - the Devil’s Club Trail - which he himself had worked on building in the 1970s. Day One, and we already knew Bob was a force to be reckoned with when he set our pace up the first mile of trail. Easing along with his hiking pole, he hiked without breaking a sweat or pausing for water, each step so certain I truly believe he could have hiked the trail with his eyes closed. It was his pet project, his baby, and he was going to make darn sure we took care of it properly. But lest we get too intimidated by his critical eye (which worked with us or hiked past us 7 out of 10 days), Bob invited us to his house for dinner the first week. His large log house on 65 acres, a slice of paradise, was welcoming and too clean for our grubby crew. Bob serenaded us on the guitar, told us the history of the cabin, and talked about adventures hiking, skiing, and exploring with his wife during their 40 year marriage. At the end of the evening, during our project partner interview, we asked him for one piece of advice to take away. Response? “Love the outdoors. And invest in the stock market.” Back at camp, before bed, my co- and I asked the youth how the night had gone. One said, “Before, I didn’t know if anyone would ever use this trail. It didn’t seem that important. But now I want it to be perfect - for Bob.” Which of us could have phrased it better? We all wanted to do our absolute best for the Keeper of the Dad Peak/Devil’s Club Trail, the original trail worker and our inspiration - Bob.
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