For years I’ve suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and just about this time of year, when the quality of the morning and evening light starts to change, I’d get a deep feeling of dread for the upcoming cold dark gray days of November in New England. I’m sure my ex could tell stories of how cranky I would become before spring finally arrived.
Now that I am no longer tied to any one place and I know I can leave when I want to, I am actually looking forward to autumn again. I plan to be back in New England to visit family around the first of October, and I am rather excitedly anticipating those cool crisp fall days. It has to be decades at least since I have felt this way. It’s really quite amazing!
I am about halfway through my very first workamping job, and I thought I’d share a few random thoughts on the experience. I am working for a private company that operates Forest Service campgrounds in the White River National Forest, among other places. I work as a camphost for North Fork Campground, and as an assistant to the guy responsible for maintenance at about a dozen campgrounds in the area.
When I took this job there were a few things that concerned me:
After being footloose and fancy free for 6 months, never spending more than 10 days in any one place, would I go stir crazy being in one place for 4 months?
Well, so far I’m loving being here. It’s a gorgeous corner of the world, and there is a lot to explore. I’ve been doing a fair bit of hiking on my days off, and also trying to teach myself to mountain bike (without much success, I might add). I’ll be ready to leave and head east when my job ends in September, but I’m not chomping at the bit to get moving.
Just how gross would it be cleaning bathrooms?Not that gross, I’m happy to report. For one thing, this campground isn’t all that heavily used during the week. But mostly it’s because I have all the tools I need to clean without getting too “up close and personal.” I regularly get compliments from campers on how clean the restrooms are. Considering that these are what the Forest Service refers to as “vault toilets,” and that there is no running water, that’s quite a compliment.
How much of my time would be spent dealing with jerks?As it turns out, nearly none. I’ve not had to deal with any real jerks that would necessitate calling in law enforcement. The huge majority of campers are wonderful to deal with, and I’ve had some really fun and interesting conversations with some of them. There is the occasional person who tries to get out of paying for their site or who resents being asked for the information I need to register them, but they were all handled without any harsh words being exchanged.
I got up early this morning so I could hike up to Boulder Lake and back before it got too hot. The trailhead is at Himes Peak Campground, about 8 or so miles from here. From there I hiked up the Big Fish Trail about a mile and a quarter to the turn off for Boulder Lake.
The Boulder Lake trail climbs the ridge to the west. Thankfully this is the West where trails have switchbacks, unlike Eastern trails that tend to go straight up the fall line.
I did shoot some video of today’s hike. All I have to shoot with is my cell phone, so don’t expect too much. Hiking uphill over uneven terrain shooting with a cell phone doesn’t make for rock steady video.
Last night I was browsing NetFlix (love my satellite internet!) and came across Karl Meltzer: Made to be Broken; a documentary about Karl’s 2016 run that broke the then record fastest time to complete the Appalachian Trail. I enjoyed this on so many levels.
First was just seeing spots along the AT and recognizing them from my own thru-hike. It’s amazing how many places I recognized, and even thought to myself “I know exactly where they’re standing to get that shot.” Continue reading “Speedgoat Karl”
According to Merriam-Webster, a Monkey Wrench is: 1: a wrench with one fixed and one adjustable jaw at right angles to a straight handle 2: something that disrupts
It’s the second definition I have in mind; something that disrupts. And yes, I know it’s weird that I write monkeywrench as one word instead of two. I always have and even though I know it’s wrong, I’m going to continue doing so. Continue reading “Monkeywrench Your Life?”