Trail Maintenance – A High Paying Job

We take a break and refill our water at the Jack Creek west camp site.

We took a break and refilled our water at the Jack Creek west camp site.

This Stihl hedge trimmer pictured above works well with small woody growth encroaching on the trail. I checked it out from the Ozark Highlands Trail Association to use on my adopted four-mile section. The Stihl website shows this being used to trim hedges, hence the name.  I wonder if Stihl realizes this is a favorite tool for trail work in Arkansas.

Hiker wasn’t impressed with the tool. After about five hours, she began to pause and bark as if to say, “Why don’t you quit playing with that and pick up your pace.” We covered four miles out-and-back for a total of eight. That would typically be a four-hour walk. We got started at 8:00 a.m. and finished at 4:20 p.m.

Practice "Leave no Trace" so I don't have to pack out your trash.

Practice “Leave no Trace” so I don’t have to pack out your trash.

Hiker carries some food in her pack. She packs out any trash we find. She ended the day with an empty plastic bottle, a tin can, and a few candy wrappers. I wonder how litterbugs would feel, knowing that a sweet dog like Hiker is cleaning up after them.

I feel a sense of pride when “my section” of the Ozark Highlands Trail is in good shape. I would recommend trail adoption to all hikers.  It’s satisfying work and a way to ensure that trails will be available for future hikers.  It’s also a good workout.  I always end a maintenance day feeling like I’ve been highly paid for my work.  To see some of those who make the OHT possible, read In Praise of Trail Maintainers/Volunteers.

Bear Creek at the trail crossing.

Bear Creek at the trail crossing.

Just being here is a cause for thanksgiving. Another cause for thanksgiving is the meal my creative wife prepares. Good food and company after trail maintenance is the best!

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