This is Eben and David writing from the Androscoggin Ranger District oﬃce in Gorham , NH! We just came back from our SCA training in Carnation, WA (near Seattle) which was simply put, awesome! On May 21, after a never ending ﬂight from Chicago, we arrived at the training camp and met our fearless leader, Alice. The ﬁrst few days the whole camp went over SCA basics such as member expectations, AmeriCorps, and conservation ethics, all during a typical northwest “liquid sunshine” that never seemed to let up. Then, we quickly transitioned into the next three days of CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Leave No Trace training. Eben’s favorite part of the WFA training was acting out backcountry medicine scenarios. David’s favorite part was learning about how to deal with lightning storms in the ﬁeld.
The next day we learned how to set up base camp (lighting stoves, purifying water, putting up tents, etc.) and also learned how to use tools and mechanical advantage. Work smarter, not harder!
Using our new knowledge of simple machines and proper tool usage, we entered into a four day work skills marathon. Each day had a speciﬁc trail maintenance theme. At the timber station, we learned how to use cross cut saws, chisel benches, and use wedges to split logs hot-dog style. On trail construction and trail design days, we worked on a new trail that linked the lake view amphitheater and the dining lodge so that the little girl scouts would stay off the road and not get run over. On tread and drainage day, we learned all about inslope/outslope, switchbacks, climbing turns, rock/timber water bars, and how to get the water out of the trail or the trail out of the water.
Throughout the whole ten days we enjoyed fantastic meals from the kitchen goddess, Raven. It just so happened that the only two birthdays in the one hundred person training camp were both of ours (May 26 and 27), and so the whole camp got to enjoy homemade cake and ice cream two days in a row! We were sad to see our new SCA friends leave for their projects across the country, but our sadness is masked by our ambition to preserve trails for future generations to come.