In a phone call home this week, Alec from Iowa told his parents how our crew, the purple crew, is building a trail that will be famous in Austin when it is finished and when people talk about Austin they will talk about this trail that we are building. Of course, the purple crew won’t complete the entire trail. Roughly 30 miles long and 8 feet wide of crushed granite, the Violet Crown Trail will pick up the end of the Greenbelt and carry it through South Austin’s Dick Nichols Park, the Veloway, and the Wildflower Center on its way out towards Buda. Once completed, it will not only host hikers, dogs, cyclists, and the adjacent neighborhoods, but also people commuting from those neighborhoods to work and the nearby businesses. And after years of meetings between our staff and the City of Austin and the Hill Country Conservancy, work has finally started by cutting a 12’ x 12’ corridor through cedars and greenbriar and the occasional oak destroyed by oak wilt. Throughout the week, a few of us also measured, tagged, and took the GPS coordinates of the larger oaks and cedars along the trail which will be included in a GIS map of the trail. The youngest of our crew, Molly Coffman, led the way on this part of the project with her background as a civil engineering major at UT. Though many of our crew are new to Austin, being a part of creating the Violet Crown Trail is a very big project and in the words of one of the SLA crew leaders, Preston Smith, “Totally awesome, man!” It’s a sentiment the purple crew echos everyday we work on it.
Well things were looking pretty gross when I got into my truck this morning. We have fared some pretty nasty weather before, so I assumed it was a safe bet we would be working today.
It was pretty much just sleet until we got to our new site, an entrance in Sunset Valley for the new Walk for a Day Trail. Then as we start to work the big stuff started coming down, and a lot of it. Now there are a lot of people in the crew who are from those states blessed with snow every season, but being a Texas girl, this was all pretty strange. The weirdest of it all was that it was sticking. This made climbing up hills with a ton of branches in your arms quite a hard task. I fell a few times, scratched my face, and ripped several holes in my jacket. The other crew who had joined us for the day was tasked with moving rocks to a soon to be switch back. I’m assuming this was a tough task that they abandoned pretty early on because I could hear their giggles off in the distance accompanied by the splattering of snowballs. The savior Brent, shared the lovely news with us that work was called off and before lunch we were all released to go home.
It was lovely to be out in the woods seeing all the snow coming down, a sight I have never seen, and one of great beauty, I wish everyone in Austin could have witnessed today. The day was topped off with a nice joint trip to the Crown and Anchor. So you know you work with some great people when even when you get half the day off you still choose to go hang out with them afterwards.