November 20, 2019
I arrived in Taylorsville and Indian Valley for the first time ever in the middle of July and was immediately struck by its beauty. I had no idea what the next five weeks would have in store for me, but I knew there was no way I couldn’t enjoy myself in such an amazing place. I spent my first few days exploring the area before the crews arrived: there are endless backroads, swaths of forest and hidden lakes and gems everywhere you go, and this was just the beginning of a journey that would prove to be one of the most exciting of my life.
Once the crew members arrived, we spent time getting to know each other and I knew that this was going to be a special experience. It was incredibly inspiring to see such motivated youth come together from shockingly different backgrounds and work together with a common meaningful goal.
We started our work in the Caribou Wilderness maintaining a small loop trail in the Posey, Long and Hidden Lakes area. The work was tough, and we faced some challenges adjusting to the schedule and working together efficiently as a crew. Eventually, we got into our groove and set goals for ourselves.
We moved from the Caribou to Lassen Volcanic National Park where we spent our days swinging axes and crosscutting fallen trees atop Flat Iron Ridge, in an effort to support a fuels reduction project, and our nights camped around magical Juniper Lake in the shadow of Mount Harkness with views of Lassen Peak.
Flat Iron would prove to be the pinnacle of our time together in terms of the challenges we faced both within our work and within our relationships with one another and as a group. However, we faced every one of these challenges with our best selves and we came out stronger on the other side. Our last two projects went smoothly. We cut fire line and raked legacy tress to protect goshawk territory in Plumas National Forest and finished our daily work off by coming full circle with trail maintenance in Lassen National Forest.
However, it was the work we did outside of the daily grind that meant the most to me in the last two weeks of our time together. We laughed and cried; we played music and games and most importantly we opened up to one another and shared some of the most vulnerable parts of ourselves through conversations and personal stories. The time we spent together was real, the work we did was real, the challenges we faced were real and the friends we made were real. That can never be taken away from any of us and I know that if given the proper opportunity to reconnect with any of my P-CREW family those connections and bonds would reignite and the magical five weeks we spent together would be a reality again.