Today was a much different day than yesterday. Michelle and I slept in until after 8, and we were able to sit, hang out and have breakfast. No yard work, no dump trucks delivering, just a relax day, aside from a few errands.
So this evening, I am reading, Michelle is watching Anthony Bourdain, and the Manchild is surfing the web in the background. I was going to skip the blog tonight, but then, when I was on Facebook, I stumbled on the photo of another ibuprofen induced day, and thought I would share the story.
Mountainstroh got his name from hiking anything that gained elevation as often as possible. This was the training for the attempts on the big mountains. Gyms just don’t cut it when you want to climb.
Over the years, I came to appreciate good trails. Because, trust me, there are some that are NOT good. Steep, muddy, non-existent, washed out, or full of water holes, are only some of the things that I had to deal with. I was thankful for gortex boots, waterproof gaiters, and trekking poles!
We are lucky here in Washington State. We have a nonprofit organization called the Washington Trails Association. They do many things in support of hiking and preservation of nature around here. More importantly though, they organize trail maintenance work parties to repair and maintain our trails.
Sometimes, the day is filled with simply clearing brush and filling holes with gravel. On days like that, miles of trail can be worked in one day. But then there are the work parties I signed up for.
I’ve done this twice now, figuring that if I used the trails, I should give them back. Both times, instead of work as mentioned in the paragraph above, I ended up building a damn trail. That means you will work in the same spot all day long!
On this day, I took the Mathmajor with me. We were working on the Gold Creek trail, off Snoqaulmie Pass. An avalanche came down, wiped out the trail, and then across the creek and up the other side, taking out all these trees!
It was a great day, we hiked two miles to the worksite, but luckily all we had to carry was our food and water, all the tools were already there. It was in the 60s and perfect for hiking.
The head guy stopped us at one point, and told us to keep an eye out. We were going through an area that they’d had trouble with bees off and on over the last couple of months. There was no telling if today would be a bad day or not until we went in.
I suggested that we could send the Mathmajor in first. “He’s young, and expendable, and if he gets stung, we’d know not to go. Plus he is fast he might be able to outrun them!” (Yes he was right next to me when I suggested this.)
He looked at me, shook his head, and said “Do I LOOK like a coal mine canary to you??” Poor guy, guess what his nickname was for the rest of the trip, Yep “HEY CANARY can you give me hand with this… ”
All these logs, and trees needed to be moved so the trail bed could be laid down. WTA has some rules when you come out. Only do what you can, when you need a break take it, and have fun. There are people from under Mathmajors age to retirees out there. All doing what they can do.
Well, a 17-year-old goes all out when given the chance to swing axes, and move heavy things. Mine was no different. He went all in.
More than once I had the WTA leader and some of the regulars come over to compliment me on how hard he worked. They told me frequently teens get bored, or whine, or really don’t get much out of the day. Mathmajor was doing the work of two of us.
Now I will go on record to say I worked hard, but he did much more, I was very proud of the guy! At the end of the day, though, even his energy gave out and he was ready to head out.
Once we got back to the car and into civilization, I got him to Taco Time for as much as he could eat, and drink. He polished it all off, and then he was asleep in the passenger seat before I could get us on the freeway home! I was
Earning mountain Karma and giving back to the trails that have done so much for me was my deal, and very important to me. I didn’t know if he would go for it when I threw the idea out there to come with. He jumped at it, and we both had a blast. More importantly, it was one of the last times we had before his senior year started and he got very busy.
Its been 4 years since I’ve done this. I think I may need to do so again soon. But I am thinking I will look for an easier day this time! Maybe I could run the coffee stand, and avoid the ibuprofen! And it might be time to drag Manchild up there if he wants to go!