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Fun in the Rain Forest With WTA

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Apr 03, 2009 09:51 AM |

WTA's first Volunteer Vacation of the season finished up last week on the Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park. Twelve volunteers, ranging in age from 22 to 81, had a great week in the rain forest. They successfully built 800 feet of trail re-route, 400 feet of new turnpike, and cleared 1.5 miles of trail. Thanks to all who made it a great trip!

Crew leader Janice O'Connor reports:

"The rain forest lived up to its name.Water was constantly rising or falling in this most magnificent of cathedrals. Volunteers were awed by the shapes of beauty. Gnarly maple arms draped with a myriad of tumbling mosses. Mosses that we tried to name with the help of our Pojar guidebooks, but so many look so alike..."

"We were moved on many occasions to stretch our arms around mammoth trunks and marveled at the distinctive feeling of being so small. The trail for the first 2 miles is clear, with 800 feet of new trail rerouted by the volunteers. Lots of muddy areas to slog through this early in the season. But in the slog is a treasure of many tracks of the critters that live in this forest. We all challenged ourselves to identify bobcat, coyote, deer, cougar and of course elk. We were blessed to see elk on a daily basis. We looked for martens, murrelets and listened for spotted owls. We were serenaded on two occasions by a couple of barred owls."

The volunteers on the trip were filled with energy, enthusiasm and a healthy dose of humor, Janice reports. Trail trivia was a favorite pastime.

"Even though we may have walked in as green horns," Janice wrote in her email report, "each one of us walked out as a true "Trail Dog!""

Interested in meeting some great people and helping give back to trails? There are still twelve weeklong WTA Volunteer Vacations with openings for volunteers. No experience is required. It will be a week you won't forget.