Hitch number 3, done. Time is flying by. It’s a little crazy to think that 2 months have already passed. Seems like just yesterday we were sitting through a week worth of classroom time for orientation.
So here we are. The first four days of our work schedule were spent working locally at Bastrop State Park finishing up another reroute and building some box steps. Our first day back there we busied ourselves carrying logs from wherever they had been cut down, to our worksite. Let me tell you, as hard as it was it was pretty entertaining. (Next time you got some free time, get 9 complete strangers together and have them help you carry logs for 8 hours, if that doesn’t help you connect with people, I don’t know what will.)
And then back to Palmetto we went. Guess we all forgot a little about the level of humidity that is out there. I mean yes, at Bastrop all the burnt Loblolly Pines are hardly giving you shade, so finding some shade is a chore, but Palmetto, shady as it is, you can’t hide from humidity.
The first day back we started on our new project, laying decomposed granite (DG) on the trails that we had previously shoveled and scraped of all excess silt, loose DG and road base. So our day looks something like this. Two people start on the 2 UTVs or gators that we have, one is on the Bobcat, another guiding the Bobcat, another on the roller and the rest…hand tools. The work isn’t hard, but it’s slow, monotonous, and boring. To change things up a bit, we switch drivers on the UTV’s and take turns on the roller but otherwise its raking and more raking and raking and raking.
We lay the DG 6 ft wide and 3 ½ inches deep in the middle. We use our free time while taking a break to “carve out” some new measuring sticks. It keeps things interesting; each new stick doesn’t last longer than a day in a half. You lose it, break it, or sit on it and break it.
Six days straight of doing this can and will nearly drive you mad, which is of no surprise that by the end of our hitch every crew member was getting a bit testy with each other. But every day we were rewarded with a nice refreshing swim in the San Marcos River. And the park staff was again being the hospitable lovely people they are. They gave us free reign of their water toys i.e. life jackets and river tubes.
Overall, it was a good hitch. That point where that group of strangers that you begin your term with are no longer strangers but your crew members that have families, likes and dislikes, opinions, and mood swings; they are your friends and for the time being your new family. Knowing that no matter how hard or boring the work may be, they are by your side. We work together. We work as a team. We are TAT!
TAT Crew Member 2015