Oklahoma is a hot, dry country. It’s a lot like Texas, except with more tics and the sand is red instead of tan. Working in OK was not necessarily harder or easier than working in Texas, but for me this new landscape and project was very beautiful and satisfying. It was fun working surrounded by such gorgeous scenery, instead of the often urban environments we usually find ourselves in. It was also more engaging because of how varied the work was from our regular life in Austin. There were many tools I used on this trip that I hadn’t before, like the brush cutter, which is an incredibly cool machine. It “makes you feel like part of the A-Team or something,” as said a few times by one of our crew leaders. Another was a Pulaski, a less exciting but very useful and satisfying tool to use.
It was also interesting to work on various different trails, some of which were very long. The first one we worked on was possibly the longest, though I couldn’t say for sure. All I know is that it felt endless walking on it after a hot day at work. It might have been the toughest trail for me, but it was also the most beautiful; so, I suppose, that made up for the difficulty. On that trail, we did mostly ordinary things: sawing, lopping, and pulling of invasives.
The second trail was super short and super pretty. It involved mostly the same as before, except this time a few members of the crew went off to design and build drains and fill in low spots while we trimmed the trail. The idea is to make this trail useful to the public, be as maintenance free as possible, and have the least impact on the local environment.
After that trail was the last and most interesting one for me. It wasn’t actually a trail until we made it one, which I thought was super cool. It was awesome to see a trail form from the landscape where we had just been. We only had time to finish some of it during this trip, but I am still impressed by what we did.
And though the trip to Oklahoma was sometimes difficult with a whole week of camping and working in one place, I am grateful I went. It’s so cool to be outdoors for that long of a time with people you really like. It’s cool even if you don’t like them! The outdoors is just a wonderful place to eat, sleep, swim, and work in. I’m thankful that this job gives me opportunities like that and I think I’ll continue to look for opportunities like this.