We have been in Big Bend National Park working for the trail maintenance crew for almost two months now and I am having the time of my life. I had never heard of Big Bend before getting assigned to this project and after seeing all the endless beauty, I am shocked that it is not as famous as some of the more well-known National Parks like Yosemite or Glacier.
We have a little under two weeks left here working for the trail crew and then we head back to Denver for the final week and a half participating in AmeriCorps NCCC. At the end of July, I will have completed my 10-month commitment and will return to the DC area. I am having a tough time wrapping my head around how fast this experience has gone by.
We are living in tents and only get an Internet connection or cell phone reception every week and a half. Nature and hiking have always been a major interest to me, but that cannot be said for everyone on the team. Some people are definitely struggling with the daily 100+ degree temperatures, lack of sleep from windy nights, and complete disconnect from the rest of the world. It has made for some tense moments, but overall, the team is doing really well and doing some great work.
We have been working with the National Park Service trail crew here in Big Bend. Although trails help millions of people get a closer look at nature, they also prevent water from being easily spread evenly throughout the park. The sparse rainwater that falls in the desert here will just coast down the trails instead of nourishing the plants of Big Bend equally. We have been digging drainage ditches and installing water bars on the trails that help disperse the rainfall and also prevent erosion. It is incredibly strenuous but awesome work, especially since we are doing it in the heat of the desert.
The park is our playground. Everyday off we go on hikes all throughout the park. I have already hiked almost 100 miles worth of trails and reached the peak of 4+ mountains. We also have free access to any campsite in the park. I camped out on the ‘South Rim’ a couple days ago.
Well… as you can read… life here is awesome! If you ever get the chance, you need visit BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK!