My adventure of working for Mt. Adams Institute and being partnered with the Forest Service at the Cle Elum Ranger District has being purely amazing. I wasn’t too sure of what to expect at the beginning, but I have been given so many skills that I can use to pursue other opportunities in life and I’ve met people who have taught me so much. I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience.
My first month consisted of getting familiar with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and all of the campgrounds in that forest. My crew and I were taught how to properly use chainsaws to buck and limb fallen trees in order to clear campgrounds and the roads leading to them. I was able to start building friendships with the other trail employees and become closer with my other Mt. Adams Institute partners, Amanda and Jesse. I basically gained another brother and sister.
The second month was full of training and practice with chainsaws, trail clearing, cross cut saws, and even completing all of the course work and field day to get my RED card for wildland firefighting. During all of this, I also graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in geography, and became part owner of a coffee stand. I appreciate greatly how accommodating and understanding my supervisor at the Forest Service, Deb Davis, was with my hectic schedule.
July has started out with more wilderness trail clearing and maintenance. I am still in awe of all the places I get to hike to daily. Everywhere and every view is breathtaking. Our crew goes out, fixes drainage ditches, hangs up new trail signs, uses cross cut saws to clear massive logs off trails, and connects with hikers to inform them of the trail conditions and any paths to take to get the full wilderness experience. It’s amazing when these hikers run into us as we are working and tell us how thankful and appreciative they are for the work we are doing. It makes the hard labor in the intense heat completely worth it.
These last few months have made me so happy and proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. I hope I can turn this experience into a life long career and continue to make a difference out in the wilderness…. the only complaint I have is that Mother Nature hasn’t made mosquitoes go extinct yet. There. Are. So. Many.