Spotlight: Estes Crew

Here is a glimpse into a week in the life (5/31-6/8) of the Estes Crew led by Delaney and Jerry, written by Delaney, Hania, and Jerry:

Two Saturdays ago (6/1) both Estes crews headed over Trail Ridge Road for the first time to visit the Shadow Mountain Crew. We enjoyed canoeing, a bonfire, and a cookout in the Shadow village. The next morning, we woke up and devoured an all you can eat breakfast at the Fat Cat Cafe. We drove home heavier and napped the rest of our Sunday.

Monday, we all attended government regulated training day. They sufficiently informed us about the risks and standard operating procedures associated with the trail work we were completing.  We finished the day with a 2 mile hike and a maintenance run on the Upper Beaver Meadows Trail.

Tuesday, some of the crew is feeling sick and moral is low. But, Geoff graced us with his presence and we rocket through the morning clearing over 100 water bars and drainages. Some hikers gives us a hand lamp they found on the trail for us to deal with. Excitedly we turn it on, only to find out it doesn’t work. No one mentions the headlamp again. We stopped at the beautiful Gem Lake for lunch and all dipped our toesies in to cool off. At lunch we decide to hike another mile ahead and clean drains and then turn back to be back at the Trail Shop by quitting time. Little did we know that one mile was straight downhill and all that was on our minds was that we were about to have to hike straight uphill for a mile. We ease the pain by daring Hania to fit through a tiny carved hole in a rock during our next break. We hike the straight uphill mile in 21 minutes.

On Wednesday, we start the day off normally, scooping poop at the trail shop to clean the house corrals when a rogue horse shows up outside the fence and riles the animals up. Delaney catches it with hopes of it joining the crews at the Chamberlain House. Unfortunately that was a no go. This is the day the Estes crews split up. Half receive Crosscut Certification from Doug Parker, RMNP Trail crew. We have a blast doing bucking races and working with the park service employees. Tom almost gets the lowest time for bucking a log and impresses everyone. Our other half does a maintenance run on the Deer Mountain Trail which provides great views. We all return from work that day as a big happy family and Delaney’s Estes Crew decides to make dinner for Tom’s Estes Crew. We whip up two delicious lasagnas and everyone eats too much.

On Thursday the Estes crews split again. At the end of the day, 6 of us became officially crosscut certified and the other 6 checked two more trails off our maintenance list. Quite a successful week with six members learning a new skill and five more trails maintained and ready for the summer season. We celebrate by enjoying the company of our new National Park Service friends around a bonfire.

Friday, we woke up early to head down south for a weekend at the Great Sand Dunes with four of the six Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps Crews. We invited Julia who works for the Park Service and there ends up being 22 of us running up dunes and sand boarding down. A small group decided to do a fourteener and successfully crossed Mt. Blanca off the To Do list. We all met back up at an all you can eat Mexican buffet and ate too much. Why do we always do this? We set up the tent village of 14 tents and hit the hay. After a small hike in the morning, we drive back to Estes Park. Everyone had a blast.

How is the summer a quarter over?

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