[image credit Gary]
A couple days ago I fulfilled a lifetime fantasy--I painted blazes on "my" Reese Hollow Trail, where I recently began volunteering as overseer with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).
I've done other work this spring at the trail and shelter (where I am also overseer), but when I actually wielded the paintbrush and carefully refreshed that very first old and faded yellow blaze mark on that young oak, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. It was now bona fide and official--I was a real trail volunteer, part of a largely invisible army of other such volunteers, not only here in PA with the PATC, but across the whole length and breadth of these United States.
I've been a trail runner for years and always knew that the trails did not mysteriously appear and then maintain themselves; of course there was a behind-the-scenes organization and individuals who actually did the real work. It was always my dream to volunteer "sometime," when life and circumstances permitted. With retirement I finally felt I had the time to give back and be a producer of sorts rather than simply a consumer.
[image credit Gary: toad at the base of the recently-installed bear pole at Reese Hollow Shelter--looks like she/he approves.]