With temperatures no longer in the 90’s, hiking season has just begun in South Florida. What better way to begin it than volunteering on a trail crew? Most hiking trails, such as the Appalachian Trail, Florida Trail and Pacific Crest Trail are maintained by dedicated individuals who volunteer their time and hard work to keep our hiking trails in tip top shape. On a recent Saturday I joined the Loxahachee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association to help build a new section of trail just north of Riverbend Park and just west of Jupiter, Florida.
The Loxahachee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association oversees 100+ miles of trail including the Ocean to Lake Trail which spans from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Okeechobee in Northern Palm Beach County. During our trail work day the goal was to add a new section of trail to reroute it off of a service road and along the woods just next to it. As soon as I arrived with my friend the trail director’s eyes lit up and she said, “boy I have a job for you strong young men!”
We followed her along the rough path that a previous crew had bushwhacked to a small ditch and then she turned around and said “we need to get across this”. The next thing I knew I was carrying cement blocks and a hand full of tools and starting to sweat a little as we began construction of a stepping stone bridge.
After spending the majority of the day building the bridge and steps down to it we joined the rest of the crew clearing a new path using clippers, machetes and hand saws. The crew made quick work clearing the trail and we continued towards the Loxahatchee River.
After a morning of trail work I left this experience a little sweaty and with only a few bug bites. It is rewarding to know that what I build will bring joy to others.
Have you worked on a Trail Crew? If not find your local hiking club and they will put you to work!