Saturday, June 27, 2009

St. Gauden's National Park

I've finished my first week working in St. Gauden's National Park and it's been lots of fun. We're camping out in the Blow me down Mill house (I think that's what they said it's called) and it's absolutely gorgeous. Our view is off a large green lawn, the Connecticut River, Mt. Ascutney, and a bald eagle that likes to perch on a dead snag right on the river. It's absolutely amazing! We don't have access to the big house, but we do store our food in the pool house that's right next to us. The only thing that sucks is that our tents in full sunlight and we roast in the them. We have to keep our rainflies on, because it rains at least a little bit each night, but not enough to really cool us off. The highlights of this week have been:
*Cutting down a large hemlock (~26 DBH) after it got hung up in other trees (it took us 3-4 hours total to get it down.
*Watching one of the logs we had cut roll down the hill towards all of our belongings and tools (it didn't hit them, a downed log stopped it)
*Running three large and heavy logs down a high line to stop #1 slowly, but safely.
*Showing up at an SCA building opening ceremony and not knowing ahead of time if we were going to be welcome, and then walking away from it with 2 giant containers filled with meat that we couldn't possibly eat.
*Getting invited to a dinner party at the house of a lady who works in the park.
*Adventuring with Kacie to find access to Connecticut River and in the process rescuing a crayfish, discovering and feeling stinging nettle, walking through a cornfield, and walking up a hill and attempting to avoid the patches of poison ivey
Luckily, I have not gotten a rash from poison ivey yet, but I still have 3 more weeks here and it is all over where we're camping and working. It's pretty crazy.
I've taken lots of pictures up here so far, both of us working and where we're living, so those will go up when I get back from this hitch. I'm currently in the Lebanon, NH public library using their internet on my day off.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Second Clean up hitch

We're about halfway through this hitch now, and it's been lots of fun so far. I've participated in 1 volunteer event and helped to organize another one so far. The first one was in the White Mountains, which a group of high school seniors, who wanted to do a service project with SCA during their senior week. That was lots of fun. We cleaned up campsites by picking up any trash we found, cleaning out the fire rings, and "downsizing" all fire rings to a manageable size for backcountry camping. It rained the entire time we were there, and of course none of us thought to bring an extra pair of clothing with us to change into when our clothing still got a little wet, even though we were wearing rain gear. The next event was one that our group planned entirely. We had about 25 City Year interns come out and help to clean up various trails in Bear Brook State Park. That was lots of fun, because in order to plan the event, we had to hike all of the trails in the park, so we knew what needed to be done and where. It was pretty sweet, although it also rained for the majority of the day. One of the best parts during that event, was when we were eating lunch at Smith Pond Shelter, and we watched the sun breakthrough the clouds over the lake. It was pretty awesome. For the beginning of this week, we've worked on various projects around camp like creating new raised garden beds and planting our whole garden with over 100 plants that a local farm gave us in exchange for us doing manual labor for them on random weekends. We've also worked on organizing and inventoring parts of the toolshed for hitches that are coming up and sharpening tools that are in the toolshed. I'm pretty sure that that's all that I've done recently, but it's been alot, and really tiring. Tomorrow we're going to go back over to the school I taught at and doing a workday outside with our students putting in and reviving the butterfly garden. That should be really fun, and it'll be awesome to have it over with finally. Then we have the Great Parks Pursuit on Sat that we're volunteering at and then we get Sun and Mon off, which will be amazing!!!! I also got a new sleeping bag, it's a wiggy bag, and it's awesome!