Over the first week of summer vacation, I participated in the AMC Teen Spike Trail Crew from Camp Dodge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Over the course of four days, I worked with a group of six volunteers and two trail leaders to maintain the Appalachian Trail up in New Hampshire. During the week, we camped out in a cleared off area alongside the trail and woke up every morning to complete trail maintenance work. Prior to this crew, I had no experience with trail work and was not sure what to expect.
After four full days of work, my group successfully replaced two water bars and created three new check steps along a hundred yard stretch of the Appalachian Trial. Over the course of four days, I gained an understanding of what the words trail maintenance really means. For my group, trail work included a combination of working with tool and using body strength to quarry, move, and set rocks. Although the task of moving a rock might seem like a minor accomplishments for a group of eight people, hours and hours of work went into each step of the task. Each day was incredibly exhausting and oftentimes very unrewarding. My experience working on the trail truly showed me the importance of patience and persistence. I learned pretty quickly that more often than not the rock you intend to place into the ground is not going to fit. My group quarries and attempted to set four different rocks in our hole before one fit correctly.
Overallm I really enjoyed my time working as an AMC volunteer. It was exciting to try something new and learn about trail maintenance. I learned that there is also no feeling more rewarding than finally managing to set a rock. My experience in the trails also gave me a great appreciation for food cooked on a stove and beds with mattress. I would definitely do it again!