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Having Fun on Trail: Work Party Selfies!

Posted by tiffanyc at Sep 23, 2022 04:30 PM |

Trail work can be hard and tiring, but WTA trail crews also know how to have fun. Just check out all the smiles, silliness and selfies from our work parties!

WTA trail crews know how to have fun. It's right there in our motto: Safety, Fun and Get Work Done.

And in our experience, as long as crews abide by the first two concepts, the work will definitely get done. That's evident in the numerous selfies we get from the field. Check out the smiles under those hard hats (and the projects behind them) from our recent months of work.

Naches Peak Loop

Region: Mount Rainier Area > SE - Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon
Work party type: Day

Taking a selfie at a day work party on trail at Naches Peak Loop. Photo by Elizabeth Storm.
Check out those check steps! Photo by Elizabeth Storm.

Maintenance is critical work to keep trails safe and accessible, even for well-trafficked trails like the Naches Peak Loop, and this crew headed out there to do just that. They installed check steps and cleared drains, both important projects to prevent erosion. It's technical work, but when you're surrounded by beautiful views and everyone in the crew is having fun, the time goes by quickly.

Lone fir

Region: North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Highway 20
Work party type: Youth volunteer vacation

Youth Volunteer Vacation trail crew taking a selfie on a bridge at Lone Fir. Photo by Charlie Lavides.
Big smiles on a WTA-installed bridge at Lone Fir. Photo by Charlie Lavides.

Youth volunteer vacations are like mini summer camps. Participants spend a week on trail doing trail maintenance while bonding over campfires and shared meals. In addition to learning trail maintenance skills, this group got to meet two Forest Service employees who they worked with removing old structures that were no longer functional.

Dog Mountain

Region: Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA
Work party type: Day

Selfie of a day work party at Dog Mountain. Photo by Jessica Mossman.
Jessica Mossman and the mighty Dog Mountain crew taking a break for a selfie during a hot day of trail work. Photo by Jessica Mossman.

Earth Day 2022 was exhausting but fulfilling for this tough trail crew. They maintained two whole miles of the Dog Mountain trail, cleaning existing drainages and building new ones, brushing and clearing debris off the trail and decommissioning a shortcut through a switchback. They even found some time to clear out a few fallen trees and pose for a photo!

Chiwaukum Creek

Region: Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - East
Work party type: Backcountry response team

Selfie at a Chuwaukum Creek trail sign on a BCRT. Photo by Matthew Hancock.
Happy volunteers on the Chiwaukum Creek BCRT -- all smiles! Photo by Matthew Hancock.

Backcountry response teams combine backpacking and trail work, taking crews to remote locations for several days where they can work on a variety of projects. This often includes log removal, which usually elicits tired but happy smiles (see above).

This crew of four spent almost a week on on the Chiwaukum Creek trail, removing logs and improving the tread. In total, they took out 28 logs, including some over three feet in diameter!

Hidden Lakes

Region: North Cascades > Pasayten
Work party type: Lost Trails Found - professional crew

Selfie of a Lost Trails Found pro-crew at Hidden Lakes during a break. Photo by Iman Chatila.
One of WTA's LTF crews pose for a group selfie after one of many big days of trail work. Photo by Iman Chatila.

WTA's two Lost Trails Found (LTF) crews are made up of trail professionals tasked with saving backcountry trails, many of which are at risk of vanishing completely due to a lack of maintenance. They've maintained miles of trail this summer, but these smiles are from a logout on the Hidden Lakes trail, which has trees down from the 2017 Diamond Creek fire. This crew logged out an incredible 1,615 logs over two miles of trail. Plus, they scouted the rest of the trail for future projects!

Lena Lake

Region: Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
Work party type: Day - shared-identity

LGBTQ+ crew selfie during Pride month at Lena Lake. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.
Big smiles from volunteers in the shade at Lena Lake. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.

WTA offers shared-identity work parties, including all-womens, all-girls and LGBTQ+ work parties to provide opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the outdoor space to learn trail maintenance skills in a supportive environment.

This crew of five celebrated Pride month with trail work.

They spent a hot day on the Lena Lake trail, but they were happy in the shade, getting muddy while creating a new drainage channel to divert water from the trail and installing a new check step over a large tree root, making the trail safer for hikers and more sustainable.

CHelan Lakeshore - Prince Creek

Region: Central Cascades > Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan
Work party type: Volunteer vacation

Volunteer Vacation crew taking a selfie next to a log. Photo by Karin Plagens.
A happy crew of volunteers and a Forest Service employee stand with a freshly-cut log early in 2022. Photo by Karen Plagins.

On this springtime volunteer vacation, the crew took to Lake Chelan. WTA works here annually because it's a very popular route for early-season backpackers but needs to be cleared of trees after every winter before you can hike it. These happy volunteers (with support from the Forest Service) cleared the trail of foliage, fixed up the trail, and removed logs, including the one they're posing with here.

Deception Pass

Region: Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham Area
Work party type: Emerging Leaders Program

Selfie during a break on an ELP work party at Deception Pass. Photo by MJ Sampang.
Members of the Emerging Leaders Program take a break at Deception Pass state park. Photo by MJ Sampang.

WTA's Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a seasonal paid program designed to provide outdoor leadership skill development and opportunities to those who haven't historically had access to the outdoors. Part of the program involves trail work, like this trip from January at Deception Pass.

For some, this trip was the first time they did trail work. And it was a fun project! The crew decommissioned a social trail, took out four downed trees (including one that was 15 inches in diameter) and brushed 150 feet of the trail.

Bear Creek MOuntain

Region: South Cascades > Goat Rocks
Work party type: Backcountry response team - shared-identity

Group selfie posing at a Bear Creek Mountain trail sign. Photo by Suzanne Hartman.
The crew members of this all-women BCRT overhauled the Bear Creek Mountain trail in 2022. Photo by Suzanne Hartman.

Six volunteers on this all-womens BCRT spent three days doing a major overhaul of the the gorgeous Bear Creek Mountain trail in the Goat Rocks. They cleared the way for future hikers, removing any plants in the trail corridor, clearing six fallen trees, and removing loose and large rocks. They also installed several steps and fixed up the tread, removing failing structures and clearing more than 20 drains. That's satisfying work. No wonder they're smiling!

Melakwa Lake

Region: Snoqualmie Region > Snoqualmie Pass
Work party type: Backcountry response team

Selfie on trail on a BCRT at Melakwa Lake. Photo by Zachary Toliver.
Small crew, big job. Photo by Zachary Toliver.

This small but might crew of three got a lot done over five days on the Melakwa Lake trail. They built two retaining walls in a crucial 50-foot section of trail and removed vegetation from the trail corridor. They also moved a ton of material to improve the slope of the trail, making it a nicer hike for visitors. It wasn't easy, but they left the trip with a lot to be proud of.

Soaring Eagle Regional Park

Region: Issaquah Alps
Work party type: Day

Muddy day selfie at Soaring Eagle. Photo by Emily Snyder.
Crew lead Emily Snyder in her element - mud. Photo by Emily Snyder.

Trail work is a great excuse to play in the dirt and mud — and that's just what this day work crew did this January. They had two tricky projects: reshaping the tread (harder than it sounds since the tread was really tightly packed) and building drainages in a flat section of trail. But they got the work done, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Frog Mountain

Region: Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - West
Work party type: Weekend 

Trail crew selfie on Frog Mountain. Photo by Tara Kocur.
The Frog Mountain crew had a long hike into the worksite both days but they still had time for a smile and a photo. Photo by Tara Kocur.

WTA's weekend work parties are overnight trips where you'll have the opportunity to spend a weekend doing trail work with the option to stay overnight at or near the trailhead on Saturday. Camping at the trailhead gets a thumbs up when you've got a challenging hike to the worksite like this crew did at Frog Mountain. They even managed to finish the switchbacks and completed a realignment of the trail. 

The Brothers

Region: Olympic Peninsula > Hood River
Work party type: Backcountry response team

Trail crew taking a selfie on The Brothers trail. Photo by Doris the Explorist.
Doris and her partners in trail maintenance had a blast fixing up the Lena Lake trail this summer. Photo by Doris the Explorist.

Hiking with a bunch of tools and full backpacks can be tiring, but the hike goes by faster when you’ve got a fun group to hike with. On this backcountry response team work party near Lena Lake, the crew removed vegetation from 1.5 miles of trail and cut logs that were obstructing the trail. One log had forced hikers to go off trail; once the crew removed it, the reroute was covered up and the trail was returned to its original route.

Cinnamon Trail

Region: South Cascades > Goat Rocks
Work party type: Day

Group selfie on the Cinnamon Trail. Photo by James Alexander.
A big crew of can get a lot of work done in just a few days. Photo by James Alexander.

Some of our work parties are close collaborations with other outdoor organizations, like this one. WTA teamed up with the Back Country Horsemen and Mount St. Helens Institute for four consecutive day work parties this June to work on the Cinnamon Trail, which was in serious need of work. Over the course of all the work parties, 18 check steps 10 waterbars and 14 new drains were installed. A handful of volunteers even showed up for multiple days!

Salmo Basin

Region: Eastern Washington > Selkirk Range
Work party type: Backcountry response team

BCRT trail crew posing for a group selfie at Salmo Basin. Photo by Todd Dunfield.
Crew leader Todd had a great crew to work on the remote Salmo Basin Trail. Photo by Todd Dunfield.

This backcountry crew spent a week on the Salmo Basin trail last year, surrounded by beautiful expansive views of nearby peaks and clearing 86 logs between the trailhead and Washington-Idaho border! Although it was hot and exhausting, their spirits stayed high throughout the trip, giving each other trail names and joking around. 

Upper Big Quilcene

Region: Olympic Peninsula > Hood Canal
Work party type: Day

Day work party crew takes a selfie at Upper Big Quilcene. Photo by Patrick Sullivan.
Six volunteers feeling accomplished after a day of work on the Upper Big Quilcene trail. Photo by Patrick Sullivan.

These happy volunteers spent a July day on the Upper Big Quilcene trail doing annual maintenance. The crew of six, including three brand-new volunteers, cleared the trail of overgrown foliage and fixed drainage and tread issues. Overall, they cleared about a quarter-mile of trail — impressive for a single day of trail work. 

Interested in joining a work party? Check out our trail work party schedule, and sign up today!