Volunteers continue knocking out a new section of the Mountains to Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob.
Working under the tutelage of trail builders with the Carolina Mountain Club, who have spent years tackling a missing section of the Mountains to Sea Trail from Cherokee to Waynesville, several first-timers turned out during National Trails Day and helped punch another 800 feet of trail through dense woods.
“When you walk on a trail you’ve helped to build you see how everyone contributes a little and doesn’t think it’s much. But when you see what lots of hands can do … you really see what can be accomplished,” said Piet Bodenhorst, a crew leader with Carolina Mountain Club.
The work can be hard labor, but there are jobs for anyone wishing to lend a hand. The oldest volunteer with the regular volunteer crew is 86, and the majority are retirees.
“I’ve lost weight, my health is better, and I feel better getting out and working every day,” Bodenhorst said with a grin. He added, “We like to say ‘Come out with the Carolina Mountain Club, and we’ll keep you going for 10 more years.”
The myriad life skills are invaluable team effort involved in trail building challenges, from uprooting tree roots to dislodging boulders to skirting trenches.
“Electricians approach a problem differently from a dentist, but they both have different ways of solving problems. Everyone has something valuable to offer,” Bodenhorst said.
To learn more or contact the club about volunteering, go to www.carolinamtnclub.com.