Wilderness Ranger Mackenzie Baxter ponders settling into a routine on the trails of the Badger Creek Wilderness:
Well, it’s come to the point in the summer where I almost don’t know what to write about. We’ve been working on the trails long enough to have established a routine. There is an ease, a familiarity to what we are doing now. I know I’m getting stronger- not only getting used to hiking all day, but also sawing all day too. We’ve established a rhythm to our days, and I’m feeling more comfortable every day approaching how to cut one of the many logs across the trail. However, there are some logs that are too much for us to handle. We have been leaving these “no-go’s” across the trail to come back to with help from more experienced sawyers- such as our supervisor, Jim.
This past week we went out to a couple of these no-gos with him. There was a pile of huge logs suspended across the trail (see picture below). Jimmy and I were able to talk about, and learn how to approach, a set of logs like this from Jim. Although it was a hot, dry day with the sun beating down on us, it was pretty fun. I got to embrace my adventurous side and stand on top of a log several feet in the air while sawing! It wasn’t all fun and games though- every day is, in fact, very hard work. With Jim, we powered through these logs.
The next couple of days had us on the Little Badger trail where we encountered a few really big logs. When you have a log that weighs a ton, you have to really think through all the steps of how to cut and where to put the middle part that you cut out before you do any sawing. Because if you mess it up, you will have one heck of a time trying to move a piece of log that is heavy and unwieldy. For the most part, the large logs we’ve tackled so far have been as expected and we’ve been able to get them off to the side where we want.
Mostly there’s a lot of time to think while I’m on the trail, and I find that that time allows me to reflect on how cool it is that I’m out here. We’re about halfway through our term of service now, and I can’t help but think it’s really neat how I’ve been getting to know these trails in the Badger Creek Wilderness intimately, and feel a part of the greater wilderness system. There’s no way I’ll ever know them as well as Jim, though. It’s quite impressive that all we have to say is we’re “near the flat part” or “by the campsite” on such-and-such trail and he knows exactly where that is… I guess that’s what 20 years of bucking logs will do to ya!