How I Got Involved

I am a little fuzzy regarding the conversation with a coworker in 2018, but I'm sure it had to do with one of my many camping trips and talking about all the hiking trails I have been on. He told me he had been hiking with his buddy on the Rachel Carson Trail doing the training hikes to get ready for the Challenge. It really piqued my interest and that day I searched for the RCT Challenge online. After looking at pictures from past years, and finding out that the trail was right in my back yard, I wanted to try it. Unfortunately, I was too late for the 2018 challenge, but I figured it would give me a year to train for 2019.

I started my training by walking around my work parking lot and walking around my town. Then when 2019 came, I ended up doing my first event training hike on the RCT. I signed up for the Half Challenge to see if I could do it. After doing almost all of the training hikes, and some of orientation hikes, I was hooked and got a real taste of what the Rachel Carson Trail was. I started very slow, with many stops while going up many hills. I remember one time a lady passed by me on Log Cabin Hill as I was out of breath and said to me, "at least you're breathing." With each time out on the RCT I noticed I got better and better. Soon, I was able to carry a conversation while hiking up Log Cabin Hill, without stopping or getting out of breath.

The number one thing I enjoyed was all the people I was meeting at each hike. On Challenge day, with both of my IT bands going out on me, I had to end the Challenge by walking sideways down the hills. But I crossed the finish line!!!

I kept an eye on the event email which I signed up for. I went to a fall hiking event, one of the Barb Peterson Orientation hikes, and met Bob Reiland, RCTC Board President. We ended up talking and he told me about a Saturday hiking group he was in. Soon after, I joined and ended up seeing a few of the hikers that I already met doing the training hikes.

Shortly after that, I received an email from RCT about reroute work on Ridge Road. I decided to show up to see how trails were made. I met Mark Eyerman and Steve Mentzer. I was hooked. Mark made it fun, safe, and gave a lot of knowledge on making trails. I showed up for all but one or two Ridge reroute work days, and got to know Mark really well along with a few other people who were hooked like me. And I kept coming back to help.

Shortly after getting all the emails from Donna Stolz about volunteer opportunities, I got an email about a Trail Steward slot opening. I signed up to take care of the trail from Agan Park to Crawford Run Road which included Riddle Run Road, so I also volunteered to help on the Riddle Run reroute work days.

Everything fell together when I learned there was an opening to be on the RCTC Board for the trail I had fallen in love with and enjoy hiking on, expanding, and doing upkeep on.

That's my story and if you see me out on the RCT, feel free to say hi and let me know what you think about our trails!!!


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