The forest

The past week has been the most enjoyable for quite some time. I’ve got bruises and scratches, I ache almost everywhere, and I’m writing this at the second attempt, having dozed off previously. Hmm. I’m awake now, drool wiped from chin, so let’s share a little of the last few days.

A group of youth and young adults have been learning from two trail-building teachers. They were so good, teaching us that how a trail is built is its own story, then trails are used to retell old stories and create new ones. Walking in places where the spirit of ancestors reside, and where predecessors walked in times past, certainly fired up the youth. They’re excited about creating community paths to allow easier access to the local lake. Improving and replacing sections of an old boardwalk, as well as building a couple of new trails is what they’ll be doing over the course of the summer.

A shovel didn’t go into the ground for the first day and a half. The time was spent bushwhacking, searching for likely routes and places to see, using the terrain and marking out possibilities. This was fun stuff, and somewhat harder for one or two of the older folks accompanying the young crew. Yup, me.

Old boardwalk, new tools

It turns out I’m not as nimble as I thought when it comes to jumping up on to (or off) a log. And gaps in dense thickets get smaller when I’m in them. At one point I got stuck pushing up and over an old log, completely caught in the tangle of smaller branches. Couldn’t go forward, couldn’t go back, and couldn’t lose (any more) face. I ended up using my COVID kilos, and simply let myself “fall” forward, counting on gravity and a heavy backpack (or those COVID kilos) to pull me through. It sort of worked. Probably not in any training manual…

Digging it

Anyway, older folks were recovered, plausible routes were marked out, and we’ve spent three sweat and mosquito filled days breaking new trail. The young ones are so strong, and so ready to learn. After months of mostly indoor time, the hours in the forest are wonderful. Purposeful activity, great company, lots of learning, kilos to lose, and all under the watchful eye of bears, spirits, leaders, and spirited leaders-in-making.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

12 thoughts on “The forest”

  1. Enviable work, Adam, from my perspective– building paths & boardwalks with our youth, no doubt with forested vistas on the future. Our world needs this commitment especially now, even when it’s built on sweat, mosquito bites & vision. Here’s my thanks for what you do, on the trail & in the classroom.

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    1. Thanks, Walt! You know from your own teaching experiences how valuable outdoor classrooms, activities and excursions are – for all concerned!
      The youth on this particular project are showing great commitment. I wish the mosquitos were a little less enthusiastic…

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    1. Thanks, Jane! It’s a lovely environment to be working in, that’s for sure. Although I’ve face planted a couple of times, and found myself too close to the muddy forest floor!
      I hope all is well with you.

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  2. WOW, that forested area in the photos was not what I pictured previously when you mentioned you would be out in the community building paths!! It must have been a wonderful shock for everyone after the months indoors and you guys are definitely going to be certified trail-building pros after this project. Enjoyed reading about the story of trails, excitement of the group and the old log story, you better make sure you always keep your orange helmet on so they can find you in the thickets. I’m always amazed (and depressed) now watching how fast someone from the younger generation can complete an outdoor project compared to me, but I’m slowly adjusting. Glad you’re back outdoors with a great group and hope you’ve had time to recuperate over the weekend (I can imagine that you were probably so sore that you weren’t able to lift a glass of IPA)!

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    1. Haha, yes, it is quite a challenge keeping up with the youthful folks. They’re quite forgiving, and do look out for the elders-in-waiting…
      It is surprisingly dense forest, and easy to get turned around, given we’re only a ten minute walk or so from the edge of the village. It gets wild pretty immediately, but we have hi-vis vests, whistles, and patchy cell phone coverage. It’s a joy to be out there, apart from the mosquitos.
      I’m kidding myself that my muscle tone is improving, and this means a pint of IPA is a breeze to lift!
      Thanks, and I hope your week is going well, now that the dreary Everton-Spurs game has been and gone. Can I be happy that an Everton player scored the only goal?!

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  3. Really a joy to hear about the important and fun lessons you are teaching our youth, pc. Those early photos demonstrate how very dense the foliage is, and I enjoyed your descriptions of starting the trail. Building trails is a great thing, and every time I’m on a trail, I sure appreciate what it took to build it. Not easy work. Teaching is not easy work, either. Hats off to you, my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Jet! I hope you are doing well, and your ankle is healing nicely – then you’ll be back on those trails!
      This project has been a real education, and so much fun learning alongside enthusiastic youth. Their skill development has been rapid. I’m almost keeping up with the pace they’re setting!

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