Trails Training!

  • April 04, 2018
  • Posted by Nate Hess

The Crew Leaders were split into two groups the week of April 2, 2018; 8 stayed in Bozeman for trails training and the rest went to Yellowstone to work on the boardwalk by Old Faithful. Montana played us a hilarious April Fool’s prank and dumped 6 inches of snow overnight! I guess the old saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” isn’t always true. Since the weather was too bad to work on any sort of trail, we got to go home early, only after changing a flat tire on one of the rigs in a blizzard. It was a struggle changing the tire with cold hands, but Avalon and Devin did a great job, and I think we all built a little more character that day. The crew leader of the week lost her co-lead to the flu, so she had to deal with all of us solo.

Thankfully on Tuesday we got to get out and do some real work at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. The park manager Rhea Armstrong educated us on the history of the park and on the bats who call the park their home. There was still too much snow for trail work, but there were some signs for us to put up and a lot of wood to cut. The park was beautiful with a fresh layer of snow.

On Wednesday we got the OK to work on the La Duke trail outside of Gardiner. On the drive to the trailhead, there was a bison herd milling by the side of the road and a young bison went crazy and almost ran in front of the rig. It was very exciting! We had some great views of the Gallatin range from the worksite. The trail we were working on was too narrow in a couple spots so we got to practice our re-tread skills and widened the trail to 2.5 feet. As we worked, we had a game of contact going. We were stuck on “highwayman” for a while. Three of us found ticks on ourselves when we got home, and thus the tick paranoia began. I don’t know about everybody else, but I’ve been frantically checking myself for ticks every day since.

Thursday was a cold and windy day. We got to drive through some snow on our way through Livingston. One member was lost to the sickness passing through the crew, but we gained the previously flu-ridden co-lead back. We started work on the Joe Brown trail located several miles before La Duke. There were lots of opportunities to learn about drains on this trail. We cleaned out a couple waterbars, fixed a rock waterbar, and dug several grade dips. As we moved farther up the trail and higher elevation, it started to rain. The morning break was cold and wet, but everyone warmed up once we started digging more retread. Work ended a little early so the FCs could teach a lesson about rock work and drains. We set up some whisperlites and boiled water for hot chocolate. The wind still hadn’t died down so we were all huddling between the two rigs trying to keep warm during the lesson. It was a long day and everybody besides the driver and navigator fell asleep on the drive home.

It was a great week and I think we were all excited to get outside and dig some trails!


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