Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

WTA & Seattle Works at Mt. Rainier August 7, 2009

Filed under: Service Trips,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 6:25 pm


WTA Trip Blog- Part One

It’s been about five years since I did trail work with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Colorado, so when given the opportunity to lead a Seattle Works crew on a reconstruction project at Mt. Rainier, I jumped at the chance.  What better way to spend a weekend then working with good people in beautiful scenery?

10 of us set out Friday evening, equipped with S’mores ingredients, sleeping bags, and some of the most elaborate tents I’ve ever seen.  Reporting to the trail head on Saturday morning at 8:30 we met up with some other Washington Trails volunteers, as well as our fearless Trail Leader Yarrow and his second in command Lynn.  After our safety talk we were outfitted with hardcore green hard hats and off we went, tromping up the Glacier Basin Trail as it wound through old-growth forest to our first work site.  Project #1 was shoveling and hauling up loads of gravel from the river bed to backfill an already built rock wall and bring it up to tread.  An energetic and enthusiastic bucket line was formed that wound its way up the incline from the river to the wall.  Bicep-building for sure, but spirits were running high.  After lunch (and, we’ll admit, maybe a break or two) it was time to tackle a variety of little tasks that needed finishing along that section of trail.  A little after three we finished up hot, sweaty, and dusty, stored the tools and hiked back out to have some cool drinks and cookies (thanks WTA!).

After a strenuous but successful first day, some of the group opted to go for a hike, while others decided to bask in the sun down by the rapidly running, glacier-fed river coming down from the mountain.  And one person decided to actually get IN the water in a very shallow calm spot, even though it was honestly cold enough to make your bones hurt.   That night was dinner, which ranged from shrimp cooked over the fire, to plain turkey dogs, to my own TJ’s instant meal, and the most impressive, fresh Pad Thai made by our resident chef (which she graciously shared. Mmmmm).  Dinner was followed by plenty of S’mores (with milk and dark chocolate) and funny conversation around the campfire, until people decided to turn in with the realization that we had to get up extra early the next day to break camp before heading out to work.

Sunday was another scorcher, and the main activity for the day was wrestling with giant rocks as we worked on rebuilding a rock wall that had been hastily completed to move equipment through but wasn’t really sturdy enough.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to try to manipulate boulders that weigh more than you, well, maybe it’s time to start.  Plenty of breaks, Trader Joe’s Sweet, Savory, and Tart Trail Mix, and Yarrow’s bag o’treats kept everyone going, even though progress was a little slow.  Other projects for the day included ramping up some stairs and clearing out debris. 

Finally, we finished up the trip with a BANG- pulling the detonating string to explode some boulders that were in the path.  In a very safe manner.  It was pretty darn cool.

So a big thanks to my awesome crew, who made the weekend so much fun, as well as to Yarrow, Lynn, and WTA for helping make this project happen!  Anyone who’s interested in volunteering through them can check out for more information on this and other trail work parties.

Stay tuned for some blogs from the crew themselves!

And for more amazing photos:


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