Friday, June 7, 2013

A Trail Dream Come True

[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.

The Reese Hollow Trail is a short feeder trail to the major north-south Tuscarora Trail that runs some 250 miles from Carlisle, PA to Shenandoah National Park in VA.  Since the Tuscarora is largely a ridge top route, water and shelter are a problem.  So the Reese Hollow Trail was developed to serve as an access point to the Tuscarora and to bring hikers down off the ridge to the new shelter and a reliable spring.

[image credit Gary: toad at the base of the recently-installed bear pole at Reese Hollow Shelter--looks like she/he approves.]

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