October 19, 2018 | And just like that we are one hitch away from the end of our season. The saying, "time flies when you're having fun" is so cliche yet very relatable. It seems like just yesterday everyone was pulling into the little office parking lot in New Market and timidly walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces to start a new adventure. Several weeks later, those unfamiliar faces have turned into friends and memories of hardwork and laughter. We have really grown to know one another and form connections that will continue even when our season is over. The hours we spent on the trail, car rides, card games, and conversations shared over a warm meal will not be forgotten.
The crew hiking out to the project site.
This hitch was special because of the opportunity we had to connect with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. The PATC is made up of seasoned trail workers who are 50+ in age. We co-lead the volunteer day and spent the evening having dinner and talking with them. Working with the PATC was such a unique event because they shared their experiences and different methods of trail work with us. Comparatively, most of our crew members have been doing trail work for roughly 6 weeks while some of the PATC have been doing trail work for over 20 years. After the volunteer event, we went back to the Pinnacle Research Center where some of the PATC members had cooked everyone a fantastic meal with appetizers, 3 different entre options, and many desserts. This was a great opportunity for everyone to come together, relax, and share more stories and lessons after a hard day of work. One of the most meaningful moments of the day was a reflection we did before departing for the evening.
Community volunteers and PATC installing rock water bar to divert water off the trail.
Community volunteer cleaning out a drain.
PATC member de-rocking a local trail.
During this reflection, a PATC member said how the collaboration of groups was very special to her because we represented a younger generation who would continue this work when they no longer could. The caring for of the trails and the wilderness is a common value we all share and hold close to the heart. For us, the volunteer event was not just about the physical care of the trails, but the connection with people.
Group shot! GAVCC, NPS, and PATC