After a long Fourth of July weekend, the Moraine Trail Crew came back ready and rested for week 5. As soon as we all got back to camp, we fell back into routine, only this time with a little more awareness of the knowledge and experience we had gained over the last couple weeks. This was the halfway point.
Starting work on Tuesday, we hiked the Odessa Lake Trail and performed a maintenance run. This was the first day of work that we did not have an NPS trails employee with us. It was our responsibility to brush the trail, dig drains, remove any trees, and get to our destination on time. At this point, the reality of the halfway point was starting to set in. We had enough experience under our belts and had proven to the NPS trail crew that we were responsible enough to perform a maintenance run on our own.
“I miss working with the NPS trail crew,” said Kelly Mohnkern that day. We all nodded in agreement. But it felt good to be entrusted with the stewardship of the park and its resources.
On Wednesday, we accomplished another maintenance run – this time on the Ute Trail with a group of NPS trail crew employees. It was a breathtaking hike starting above treeline just off Trail Ridge Road. A couple miles into the 6.5-mile hike, we hit burn area. After the intense fires this past fall, hiking into burn areas has been a “normal” occurrence this season for the Moraine Crew. But this burn area was literally a hot mess. Trees downed everywhere and no real trail in site. It was devastatingly magnificent; an area once overwhelmed by brush, now ready to sprout new life.
Thursday, we started a project on the Fern Lake Trail building stairs. This was the first time our crew had been put on a project like this, and it was somewhat daunting. Over the course of the day, we learned how to place a log or check point, crush rock to secure a log, and measure rise over run to make sure each step was placed equally apart. It was meticulous and challenging work, but at the end of the day we were proud of what we had learned, and the work we had accomplished.
Moraine Park Crew