I sweat more this week than I have in my entire life. I looked like I had jumped into a pool with my work gear on. And the rest of the crew was no different. There’s an old sports saying: leave it all on the field. We did that and more. We powered through the heat and humidity, the bugs and the ants, the achy mornings and the exhausted nights. The consensus among the crew was that the mud was the worst. You’d have to stop and clean the mud off your pick or McLeod after every couple licks. It made for slow, painstaking, back breaking work. My teammates are working machines. Animals. Beasts. We were committed to finishing this trail once and for all. And finish it we did.
“Meet me down by the Greenbelt. ..” those are the words I heard the sweet local band play at that ever divey, ever popular bar, somewhere in Austin. This is all too perfect, new job, new city, new co workers who invited me out. It’s even better because by this time I actually know the warm familiar feelings that induce when referred to the infamous Greenbelt. Before I went there I knew as much about the Greenbelt as I do about Yosemite, which saying as how I’ve never been, is not very much. I had heard the Greenbelt was this urban hiking trail close enough to be convenient to the outdoorsy lifestyle of the city, with the illusion that you’re no longer in it and could maybe be somewhere like Yosemite. Then again I also heard the Greenbelt was made ofdog poop. Either way, when they told me we’d be working there I was excited. Being outdoors, looking for rocks, my kind of afternoon.
It’s a quarter mile hike. We all predict it because of how long it takes, and how fast we walk.
2 Pick Matics
1 geo pick
1 Rock rig + Handle (Do not forget this)
1 Meat Tenderizer (this broke while we were working and Meat Tenderizer is not the official name)
4 Single Jacks and Double Jacks ( two of each)
This is most of our tool list. Things we need in order to get the job done in the way that we do. I know these well, how much each one weighs, what's is used for, I even almost know all their name, we hike them out to the work site, quarter mile in. Once we get there on the first day it’s a shallow trail flooded by the creek and the rains before. A few pebbles and some dirt. It takes a team of enthusiastic people well versed on this subject, a diagram, and about 1 and a half days for me to understand the concept. Here’s what I gather; we are building an armored drain or creek crossing. It requires finding large rocks for rock walls, raising and layering the tread with secured rocks of median size, thus creating a path for hikers and bikers, while also providing a place for water to continue passing without flooding the trail.
To me it’s a giant geological puzzle, we constantly ask ourselves, “How can I make this work? What rock would fill this gap? Will this last?”. The days are warm and the rocks are heavy yet the work is still fun.
One morning I brought iced coffee for the crew. Like every morning we did our morning warm up, hiked out our tools, then we brief; who will do what, what are the goals for the day, how will we accomplish these goals, lunch, repeat. The work is to be finished by Friday. Before we start, Kim, with a rock to her wrist as if it were a watch yells, “Time to rock!”.
Start- Mon 9 am
Finish-Fri 3 pm
Coral Perez – Disaster Response Team Crew Member