Saturday, February 13, 2010

WTA Work Party

It’s been a long week, and not a great running week. That’s sort of ok, coming off Orcas, but I would’ve liked a few more miles. I had a professional conference in Seattle, and I was the moderator of a panel of DHS officers, presenting in front of a bunch of attorneys. That’s a tough crowd and a tough panel, and it had my focus. It went fine, but I just had no extra time, without pushing myself sick, which I don’t do. Sometimes that's the way it goes. It sure was fun to visit Seattle.

Today I participated in a Washington Trails Association work party at Fragrance Lake. Some of the races out there require that runners perform eight hours of trail work. It's a good thing. I went ahead and fulfilled my requirement today, because the timing was right and I liked the idea of working on a trail I run regularly.

Every time I do a work party I come away feeling so good about it. This was probably the best work party I’ve done. The local trip leader for WTA is Arlen Bogaards, and he’s awesome. Some of my favorite comments by him: “I don’t want to lose another volunteer, so be safe.” “WTA: We Take Anyone.” We had eight folks on our crew, and as it turned out, four of us were Huxley students or grads. The others were older, and wiley with knots and stuff. Great group.

I got to drive up to Fragrance Lake, on the Fragrance Lake Road. That’s kind of cool—the second time I’ve done that. We made a “crib ladder.” A crib ladder is an elevated turnpike, whatever that means, which amounts to two longer logs framing the trail, with shorter logs under and over the logs, providing support, with rock and dirt fill.

So, the first half of the day we spent moving three big cedar logs halfway around the Lake. This was really Amish, as we had straps and ropes, and all eight of us muscling the 500 pound logs down the trail. I mentioned the wheel, and also a float the log plan, but nobody bought in.  At the site, we set up a zip line to ferry buckets of dirt and rocks from uphill to the crib. We also skinned and notched the logs, dug trenches, and lopped roots. It wasn't finished when we left, but it looked good, and another crew will finish it up tomorrow. We had barely any rain, barely any wind. Afterwards, I ran, finally.

Cue the Olympics. Just watched a short track speedskating heat. The winner went 1500 meters in 2:15. That seems fast. I might try to get up to the Olympics, just to catch the vibe. I heard yesterday that there’s a race over a hundred miles on a river in the Netherlands, but it’s with ice skates. It’s supposed to be a big deal. That might be worth looking into.


For the journal....Crew Leader Arlen's gracious summary, emailed to the crew afterwards:

A bold plan, a willing crew and a few straps, ropes and various tools is all it took to carry a half a ton of wood and move a small mountain of soil. At the end of the day, 12 feet of turnpike was taking shape, a beautiful piece of trail rising up out of the former muddy, rooty and slippery mess that once was. Thanks for your determination and GREAT attitudes, never really openly questioning my sanity (at least in front of me) concerning the daunting task proposed. Everyone quietly (although a few grunts and groans were audible) shouldered the load as we moved some really big and heavy logs. After getting the bones for our structure in place, Joe and Ally made quick work of peeling bark and along with Scott moved into the groundwork and precision notching of the logs. Meanwhile, Marty supervised the raising of the line and with his crack crew of Hugh, Paul and Brad, had rocks and dirt whizzing down to the worksite in record time. At the end of the day, the logs were in place and pinned and a great start to the approach and fill was accomplished. Thanks again to all of you for your help and the communication and safetymindedness (is that a word?) you all exhibited. Once again a testament to what a few willing folks can accomplish... and a bunch of fun to boot!!! Thanks again and I hope to see you out on trail sometime soon...

You rock!!!!!...really... Arlen..

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