- May 19, 2016
- Posted by Celia Schwenter
Snow falling, cold feet, grey and white skies. I hadn’t been expecting snow. Not that it upset me, I was actually quite excited because it added an extra challenge to our camping and saw training, not to mention an extra element of badass-ness. “What did you do last week?” “Oh, the usual with MCC, cut down some trees with a chain saw in the snow.”
Apart from learning to fell my first trees (an empowering experience to drop a thirty-foot snag to the ground), my favorite part of the week was when I got to go and clear some trail of fallen fire-killed lodgepole pines. After a few days of formal saw training, and a few weeks of primarily indoor, theoretical learning, this was a nice taste of what our summer would look like, and an opportunity to be let loose to do the work that we had all come here for. My group headed to the Indian Meadows trailhead, partnered up, grabbed our saws, and started hiking up the trail. Throughout that day we worked in alternating snow showers and sunshine, walked trails where a foot would periodically posthole through the snow up to the knee, and had to go through the frustration of hiking back a half mile to the rig to get a different saw because the one we had was refusing to run. In moments like this it could be easy to become pessimistic and question why on earth I wanted to do this job, but I am happy to say I was able to choose a different outlook. I paused at one point when my foot had again sunken into the snow, and looked around me. What would I rather be doing at this moment? I could be in a warm house or back at camp, but that wouldn’t be particularly interesting. Hiking through the beautiful wilderness is why I wanted this job. And struggling up the trail with a chainsaw was an amusing addition, and a great way to be spending my time. I thought about how things in my life change often, and that all too soon I would be thinking back on these months with fond memory, and realized that I should enjoy this moment for all it is. Take in the small moments of fun and beauty and embrace the challenges it offers. After all, I think this is what we all are looking for when we come to work for MCC, and chainsaw training in the snow is a great time to remember that.
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