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Many Hands Together (10/04)

Want a chance to hike, meet interesting people, sweat a bit, and do something worthwhile – all at the same time?

On July 10, I worked with eight other volunteers to replace the Duck Brook privy with a new moldering privy. I’ve wanted to volunteer for trail or shelter work for a few years, and this was the very first time my schedule matched the GMC date.

Our leader, Chris Hanna, had done a great deal of advance planning so we could all be productive on Privy Day. There were many tasks going on simultaneously, with the aim of a completed project before nightfall. First, we all helped carry the materials, supplies and tools to the Duck Brook shelter area on the LT north of Jonesville. After lunch, the old privy was dismantled (actually demolished!), which wasn’t at all the dreadful task I expected. We carried out the old building materials (Leave No Trace) as the new privy was being assembled. By late afternoon, the building was stained and finishing touches were completed.

As a brand-new volunteer who’s over age 55, I had wondered if I could truly contribute and not just be in the way. By the end of the day, I’d had fun, worked hard, solved problems, shared camaraderie with great people, and enjoyed many hours out on the trail in the woods and mountains. We’d all had a delicious lunch together and many good laughs - and a sparkling new moldering privy was ready for hiker use that night. I felt like I did something good for myself, the GMC and the Long Trail. The new privy – my privy - should last 20 years or so. I’m already looking forward to the next shelter outing this summer!

Now - the challenge! While I was carrying materials, tools, stain, etc. back and forth on the trail, it came to me that every member of the GMC truly can make a contribution to the upkeep of trails and shelters. Each of us should volunteer just once a year to help out with a trail or shelter project. If you’re not able to go out on the trail, you can help by contributing even a few dollars towards materials and supplies. (Businesses are often willing to do their part by cutting prices. For the Duck Brook privy, Chris Hanna bought a surprising amount of new materials from a local company for just $6!)

Join in, contribute, support. Many hands and minds working together can accomplish amazing things!