“Civilization shouts, gives orders, writes rules, puts man in institutions and intimidates him with a thousand irritating directives. In return it offers him protection, soul salvation and a living if he can find it. Nature looks down on him and broods in silence. Its noises of running streams and wind in the trees are its own, not directed at but soothing to him because he heard them before he heard the noises of civilization.” -Walter Prescott Webb
The new trail construction the TAT crew has been working on at Guadalupe River State Park is known as the Curry Creek Trail. This winding trail is moderate to challenging with a variety of terrains including meadow grasslands, woody cedar forests, and rocky cliff sides with the serene sounds of Curry Creek. Over the past 9 day hitch the crew has learned and constructed many different types of trail including crib wall construction, side hilling, tread work, rock smashing, grip-hoisting, and even some chainsaw operation before Golden Cheek Warbler season begins. Rock work seemed to be the most frustrating aspect of the new trail construction, but at the end of the day the result was well worth the pain and irritation it took to get there. You never know what you’re going to find underneath the soil. Usually it’s just rocks on rocks but sometimes you can even run into a patch of onions hiding underneath.
Every day the crew embarked out on a new adventure where they ran into numerous different types of wildlife along the way. On the drive to work every morning the crew had the pleasure to drive through loose livestock farms where they got to encounter horses of all kinds, hogs, deer, and cows. While out on the trail they encountered diverse animals such as salamanders, goats, and Golden Cheek Warblers. At the end of each work day the crew returned to camp where they had run ins with armadillos rustling through the brush, Raccoons doing what they do best, and the screams of ‘whaling women’ which turned out to be Bobcats close to camp.
One of the ways we entertain ourselves on the job is by naming our rocks. We had our biggest rock Betsy that you can see featured in the panorama of the crib wall at the top of the article, along with Rhonda and Bessy that got split up because their ears didn’t mesh well as a pair. Trail games are another way we pass the time and get to know one and others interests. Games such as the Green Glass Door, The Line Game, and Man Versus Monster seemed to be our favorites. Man Versus Monster topics included Steve Irwin, Cole Sprouse, Jerry Springer, Disney’s adventures through Star Wars, and the Jordan/Tristan drama. Humor is another way the TAT crew bonds together. One of the debrief topics from the week included our own take on the “I smell like beef” viral video. Each crew member picked out their own strange smell that matched them for the day including eggs, sulfur, Walmart, urine, dirt, fajitas, cheese, Joey, and Lysol.
On one of the final days of the work week every crew member had a tough battle that helped them discover their strengths and thrived while doing it. We were split into groups. Cassidy, Joey and Amber worked with the grip hoist pulling out rooted trees and finished the day hiking out all of the extremely heavy equipment back to our van a mile down the trail all on their own. Sam, Sharla, and Taylor worked on the crib-wall, setting numerous rocks like a puzzle which resulted in Taylor smashing her finger between two large rocks, OUCH. Bre was working to take out a stump deeper than it looked to reveal a body sized hole that she filled with crush instead of a dead body. Finally Hayden and Yuli worked on taking out a monster Oak stump that truly kicked their butts.
The final day of hitch the crew trekked out on a nature walk to check out a new trail we would be working on the next hitch. Along the way we found a ginormous tree that of course we had to climb and take a group picture along with a beautiful riverbend where we spent some time with our feet in the water skipping rocks and picking up floating trash. Overall the crew managed to accomplish adding 0.15 miles of trail to total 0.75 miles constructed so far. This construction included a 27 foot crib wall that we managed to set over 20 rocks, many trees and stumps pulled from the ground with the power of the grip hoist and our brute strength in our short 9 day hitch.
“Trees and Rivers are green, Skies grey or blue. Trail work is so cool, you should do it too! Tribes eating well, N’ sunsets are swell. Us feeling all good, nighttime campfires lift up the wood. Learning new skills, toughing through morning chills. Let us all beam, we are the TAT team.” –Yuli
Breanna Hild – Trails Across Texas Crew Member