There are few expereiences more satisfying than combining with a group of strangers to bond over issues and then physically construct something. This past weekend, we did just that by driving down to Smith Rock - a high desert Oregon state park full of wonderful geologic formations and endless hiking/climbing adventures - and joining together to fix trails.
Supported by several big names in the outdoor industry (Patagonia/Metolious) and many local and state companies, people drive in from far and wide to spend a day digging through the rocky hills of the park to rebuild trails. Over the years, ecological toilets, natural wood/rock construction retaining walls, staircases and handrails have all gone up surprising fast.
This isn't some charity day where the materials are laid at your feet just to stack. We carry and cut the rough-hewn timber to size, pound rebar and design safe trails to match the necessary requirements for grade, water diversion and preservation of the parks most precious resource: the abundant plant and animal life.
On top of this, you are thrust into meeting folks from everywhere, accomplishing big jobs by simply picking up your end of the weight. It's very rewarding, especially afterwards when the open valley of the park looks clean and you behold a natural setting that one can enjoy without trampling all over it.
Afterwards, we headed to the barn party for some dinner, a few slideshows, a fun auction and raffle. Our friends managed to walk away with some of the best gear this year - especially Tamar. After 7 years, she finally won the rope! Woohoo!