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Out on trail, the right thing to do.

Posted by bwindrope at May 11, 2010 01:58 PM |

As we all know from starting new positions, the demands on your time are light at first and then skyrocket. The honeymoon ends, and you begin to grasp the scope and magnitude of duties you have assumed. Well, for me, the honeymoon lasted about a week and it's been full speed ahead since then. No more time to hang pictures on the wall. Shoot, I've gone without a workable chair at my desk for a month now because replacing the current one simply takes too long.

Snoquera Falls Work Party
Volunteers hike to the work site to do trail maintenance on the Snoquera Falls trail.

Folks might think that being Executive Director here at WTA would mean I can get out on trail all the time. After all, isn't that the job? Well, yes and no. In truth, I believe it is essential to get away from the desk and into the field with our crews and volunteers as much as possible, but aye, there's the rub. Reality is that the administrative demands of this amazing and complex organization are enough to keep anyone glued to the desk. It is the easy, and in some ways, expected, thing to do.

But easy and expected are not always right.

Last week I scheduled time to join my first trail work party and with more than 20 other volunteers worked on the Snoquera Falls trail. I put off a mountain of other pressing projects for the day, because I believe there is nothing more important for me than to meet the people, and do the work, that is our mission. I signed up like any other volunteer, purposely relying on nothing more than the same information everyone else receives.

Let me say right here and now, it was FANTASTIC! What an amazing and eclectic group of volunteers, both new and veteran. Our chief crew leader, Mike Owens, does a masterful job of preparation and organization. His wit and humor, combined with over 1,500 days of trail work experience, make him truly an exceptional person to work with. We headed up to a rocky section of the trail that needed some love, and we hammered out a big pile of improvements that day.

The sun came out, and as we ate lunch, I gathered the stories from people about their history with WTA. Bob started in 2001, and does 50 days a year. Jim retired in 2004 and finds trail work the perfect way to stay active and see friends. Joanne started last year and fits in a few days each year to give back to the trails she's walked since she was a kid. 

What a day! I've been playing catch up ever since, but nothing I do this week will be as important as seeing the faces, hearing the stories, and building the rock wall on Thursday, May 6th, on the Snoquera Falls trail. I can't wait to meet more of you out on trail this year...