Today we ﬁlled up another truck load of herbicide and took the jugs out to the great marsh. We strapped on our backpack sprayers and the ﬁve of us continued to march up and down the twenty acre plot, making sure that even the littlest of Cattail would not be able to reach maturity. When I am spraying, people passing by often ask me questions as to what I am doing and why.
Follow Me is the place to read field dispatches from SCA members serving the planet all over the USA.
At the ﬁre hall, tension crackled. In between gleaming ﬁre engines, volunteers in rain gear and torn ﬂannel murmured to each other, speculating about the lost racer—where he was last seen, what he was wearing, where he might have gone off the narrow race trail and into the bush.
Jennica getting a letter!
1. Nature’s Alarm Clock. I strategically position my tent on each hitch to face the rising sun. I tend to be restless in the morning anyway, meaning I frequently wake up and fall back asleep. After a few days, it’s pretty easy to remember where the sun is at certain times, and judge when it’s time to get the stove ﬁred up for oatmeal!
An Elk herd passing by the road near the dam.
Experience is everything, ranging from surviving skills in wild expeditions to work experience in different areas of interest. I have learned that reading material on the internet or books will not get people the real life experience where they can feel, smell, see, or suffer though different situations.
Standing precariously on a gravelly chunk of riverbank, I reach over a thick sheaf of willow cuttings to grab the bucket being waved in front of me. And nearly drop it—it feels like cement hung from my hands. Pointy stems dig into my stomach; overhanging cottonwood branches brush my eyelids.
We are now into our second week of our ﬁrst hitch. We are the ﬁrst ever NH Corps crew to have a full hitch in Maine. The project is to replace a boardwalk through the Saco Heath near the mouth of the Saco River in South East Maine. A heath is a form of a bog. In Saco, two adjacent ponds were ﬁlled in with peat.
At the end of the Harding Iceﬁeld Trail, it feels like the end of the world.
There is no grand ﬁnale, no plunging cliff, no soaring overlook. Just ﬂags through the snow, and tracks, and then nothing. Snow, and rock, and Exit Glacier, and the far reaches of the Harding Iceﬁeld on the horizon, still heavy-coated with thick sugary white.
Erryday I’m shovelin’. (Shovelin’, shovelin’.)
Shovelin’ out the Harding Iceﬁeld Trail, that is—scooping snow out of the track, piling it on switchbacks or trampled vegetation to protect plants and the trail from erosion.
This is my ﬁrst SCA internship. Right now, I’m on my ﬁrst hitch doing conservation work for the ﬁrst time. I’m living in a large community, cooking and doing chores on a mass scale – all for the ﬁrst time.
On January 6th, when a fellow member Stamati picked me up in New York to go to Bear Brook we talked at length of what it would be like. What would the cabins be like? How do we cook?
Now that our trail was ﬁnished all we needed to do was build the benches and trashcan holder in order to complete our project. But we ran into a few bumps along the road, at ﬁrst the wood wasn’t in on time and when it came in it wasn’t the correct kind. Luckily Bobby was nice enough to take it to the store and exchange it that same day.
“Indeed, simply marvelous, sir.”
“Even though the rain put a dapper on the day, it was splendid nonetheless.”
“DAMPER, not dapper, you idiot.”
“Quit being such a nuisance.”
They call over to us as we cross the Exit Glacier parking lot. “Hey, are we a nuisance yet?”
I can’t help but burst out laughing at the YCCs.
I like to rock climb, a lot. When I looked at this internship based out of Bear Brook State Park, the second thing I did was ﬁnd out the location of the nearest cliff/boulder ﬁeld. Since coming to New Hampshire, I’ve been able to get around to some really cool places. My friend Scott and I went to Franconia Notch State Park to climb Cannon Cliff.
“EPMT training, day four: Today, I pulled out baby trees by the roots and left them by the side of the road to die. And I feel great about it.” I pulled a mock sad face.
One of the biotechs working in eastern Alaska laughed. “You should totally feel great about doing some good for the ecosystem.” She hefted a bright orange weed wrench and grinned.
Double rainbow, coming from grocery shopping on the way to Colter Bay, sweet ﬁrst day!
Another of my travel adventures begins. This time I get to intern in one the most awesome parks in the U.S. I was so happy to be placed close to mountains, whereas in Texas you barely see anything sticking out of the ground.
My ﬁrst couple of days here I met most of the people I’ll be working with.
The Houston crew started off ﬁrst thing Monday morning with orientation at the oﬃce. Everyone was able to meet for the ﬁrst time, learn the names of tools they’d be using and learn what projects they will be doing in the next six weeks. Orientation also gave students a chance to get a feel for what they would be doing out in the ﬁeld.
At ﬁrst, the idea that the upcoming work week was to be spent solely in the ﬁre oﬃce in Marblemount was kind of a drag. After all the cool places we had traveled to around the North Cascades National Park, we were going nowhere this week but back and forth between computer desks.
Our ‘before’ picture, as the crew enters Wind Cave for the ﬁrst time.
This morning we met at the park headquarters and mixed up a batch of herbicide to spray for invasive Cattail and Reed Canary. After loading up our sprayers and numerous bottles of herbicide we piled in the truck and made our way to the site. We started off driving on HWY 12 along the stretch that wraps around the southern region of Lake Michigan.
When I was younger, I heard about communes and communal living; I was told they were strange and absurd. In college, a friend of mine spent a weekend with a community that shared religious, spiritual, and communal beliefs. He came back in awe of the generosity and kindness he felt, but also uneasy about the distance and isolation, which this community kept themselves in.
Getting up in morning isn’t easy. After a day of traveling and 10 days spent in the woods near Mt. SI Washington, I was ready to come back to my new home in Chesterton, IN. Training in Washington was very draining but worth every second! The scenery was beautiful, nestled in the Paciﬁc North Western Mountains.