Grasslands Round Two : Wet Paint

This was our second time working with LBJ grasslands parks and services, though we were in a new location. Our campground was adjacent to a reservoir, a beautiful site (and, personally, a enjoyable way to cool off on the hot days, though most didn’t partake).

The first day had us working with two of the guys from our last hitch. We removed and replaced an old fee collection box at the entrance to one of the campsites, which included some metal poles, a lot of concrete, and a skid steer. The rest of the hitch looked to be less flashy, with painting as the main task. There were fences, gates, bathrooms, and garage doors that were chipping and losing their luster, along with other tasks such as clearing ash from some fire pits, breaking up others with sledges and picks. There were horse trails in need of some lopping, and leaves to be cleared from a camp, to make it more manageable for mowers to mow. While some finished the fee box, others went to start painting fences.

After Tuesday, we worked solely with Colter, who was stationed in the area. The next few days are a blur. It stormed for half days and full days, with lightning deterring our efforts to lop, and rain making painting quite questionable. During these times, we managed to clear some fire pits and leaves, lop a minor amount of trail, paint a garage, and do our best, if somewhat in vain, to stay dry. After the rain cleared, the days became more normal. Raking and blowing leaves, painting bathrooms, walking horse trail maintaining corridors, and breaking up old pits to be replaced. Breaking up the pits was my favorite task for expending extra energy, and it was satisfying take apart something so sturdy. The delays meant we wouldn’t be able to help with putting the pits in, but just having days that weren’t total washes was appreciated. The rain still had its effects after ending, as the horse trails were largely flooded, with some areas looking like swamps, and certain crossings ending up as rushing streams. The one I encountered would have been unpleasant to cross, but there happened to be a fallen log large enough to safely cross. My crew mates found such rushing waters on the other trails, sometimes able to cross, sometimes forced back the way they came. It was more difficult than if it had been dry, but also beautiful in a way.

A good deal of people seemed to enjoy this land. Throughout our stay, there were always trucks parked at various campsites, with the boats they carried out on the water.  A group of high schoolers came by most evenings to jump into the reservoir from a dam. There were various vehicles and campers that came by, stayed for a while, then went on their way. It was nice to see so many enjoying the park. One night we enjoyed some sightseeing by visiting Paris. Surprisingly it took less than an hour to get there and the Eiffel tower ended up being a lot smaller than expected. The last couple days were purely painting on my end, going from gate to gate. I wish we’d had more good days, but was still a moderately productive, if somewhat relaxed hitch.

James Moriarty – Conservation & Disaster Crew (Silver)

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