We are not under any obligation to finish a task by a set deadline. Instead, I prefer our focus to be getting a job done well, completely and with a positive sense of pride and ownership. We are not in the business of doing less than 100%, even on the days we are tired and slowing with fatigue. The fact remains that everything we do begins with safety first and fun second. A project can always be finished later. But … wow … is there a sense of pride and chest puffing when a task chosen is finished with satisfaction.
Five of us set out from the trailhead, 2,000-feet below our destination elevation camp. A floor of wildflowers, two snow fields, one steep pebbled descent and an incoming spit of rainy weather may have slowed our progression but not the enthusiasm for something new. Our camp perfectly situated on a high bench with small surrounding spruce ample enough to hide our privy and protect our cook tent. Otherwise, wide views and exposure for long, long miles.
We walked the line before dinner. A review of tasks on our list but no real expectation of getting it all done. Choices … allowances for everyone to choose a project that they would feel empowered and invested with mentoring and support. Initially each member of the crew looked worried and apprehensive. There was a lot on the list!! My assurances that we would not get to everything did not ease the tension.
Daily storms impacted start times and finish times and everything in between. Temperatures fluctuating from needing hot drinks to stave off the chill to walking in tank tops to ward off the sweat. When we worked our efforts were diligent, learning curves minimized and efficiency soared. We grappled in the mud to grab belligerent rocks and then threw rocks in contrary boot sucking mud. We cut willow and sod to annoyance. Filled bucket after bucket of dirt, rocks and sod puffs. We carried tools not like the seven dwarfs, but with greater pride of safety, talked with running shoe clod hikers (seriously folks walk the trail bed or wear boots if you don’t want wet feet) and admittedly strategically placed buckets when necessary to define the TRAIL.
We laughed until tears rolled down our faces and developed friendships from new or more established. When we left our home at 12,000-feet five mornings later we did so happy with our success and a commitment to do it again.
2017 Little Blanco Trail Project Accomplishments
* Constructed four cairns and removed unnecessary “ducks” near lake (total ducks removed were 36). Cairns equaled 4-ft wide x 4.5-ft tall; 3-ft wide x 2.5-ft tall; 3.5-ft wide x 2.5-ft tall (this cairn was promptly blood christened); and 4-ft wide x 4-ft tall.
* Constructed five dirt water bars, four rock water bars and rebuilt sections of a 12-ft rock bar that had been damaged.
* Shaped one long knick in a continuous seeping marsh.
* Closed 259-ft of double braid trail, 160-feet of triple braid trail and 120-ft of quad braid trail.
* Widened and enhanced footing for 408-ft of trail.
* Brushed 55-ft of willow to standard width.
* Closed a secondary social trail across wet area above the constructed trail tread.
* Got muddy in 60-ft of saturated dirt – two braids reduced to one. Additional construction of one rock water bar and lower 15-ft of trail filled with crush and rock.