Hitch 3: “I’m Sweaty and I Know It”

It is business as usual working for the Army Corps of Engineers. Every day we throw on our oversized highlighter vests, and add to the farmer’s tan and sweat. During the first week of our third hitch, Tennessee reached record highs in triple digit weather (up to 109!). Busy times thrust us outside the comforts of our shade tent, but even sitting, we were covered in a constant sheen of sweat.

Some of the most enjoyable aspects of this internship are the opportunities to explore Nashville recreation areas and interact with various visitors and employees at recreation sites. Visitor repertoire varies across lakes and presents a new experience daily. Most are willing to joke and talk with us, while others get angry, and some have other motives as the howling at female surveyors suggested. We have gained firsthand insight about how much visitors treasure these areas with personal stories. A gentleman that regularly visits Cordell Hull’s Roaring River rec area, visits daily to let his dog, Rusty, watch the deer and there is another group that contacts the Army Corps to assist with upkeep of rec areas.

The second week, storms brewing in the Southwest provided a necessary reprieve from the heat, but presented obstacles at surrounding lakes. A flash thunderstorm at J. Percy Priest Lake forced Group C into their fancy rental during the busiest time at Anderson Day Use, counting over one hundred drive-bys and Group B witnessed a felled tree upon leaving Brush Creek at Cheatham Lake. On a more serious note, paths had to be cleared for emergency vehicles because of a passed out visitor and a drowning at Cook Rec Area.

A massive amount of celebrations occurred with Brenna’s 23rd birthday followed by Erica’s 25th and the 4th of July! When one walks into our humble abode they are presented with a ‘Happy Birthday’ cut-out constructed from Ritz boxes (here at the SCA, we conserve and re-use everything possible) and balloons strewn about the house. We are still kicking balloons around! Downtown Nashville was crowded on July 4th with the firework display at Riverfront Park. Celebration ensued until the wee hours of the morning as we cruised from live music venue to the next.

It is hard for all of us to believe that we are already almost halfway through the season, but we are still rearing to go! Though it looks like the drought is continuing to heat things up, we are excited at what the remainder of the season has to bring.

Written by Lindsey McKnight