Project Leader: Sterling B Collins-Hill Project Dates: Feb - May Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We left for Cibbets Flat campground in the Cleveland National Forest feeling both excited for the last hitch and slightly melancholy because it was our final hurrah before parting forever. After a lovely drive on a day that was as fine as any of us had ever seen, we arrived, set up camp and enthusiastically greeted our volunteer Eugene and Sam the PCTA rep for our section. As usual we committed ourselves to do sterling work, creating a section of the PCT that would serve as an example to both hikers and future crews for generations to come.
Over the next several days we moved hundreds of enormous rocks, lopped overgrowth and avoided a plethora of wildlife, only some of which was venomous. After work we divided our time between bathing in a nearby swimming hole and exploring the surrounding natural wonders. Of particular wonderfulness was a waterfall hidden several miles to the south just off of the PCT. We swam safely, felt proud and pushed each other to achieve greatness on a daily basis.
Towards the end of the hitch we traveled to the thru hiker kickoff near Lake Morena and conducted a volunteer workday that was interrupted regularly by hikers expressing their heartfelt thanks for our work. To be personally thanked by people just starting out on a journey of such spiritual and physical magnitude was an indescribable feeling, a mix of joy and satisfaction that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. After participating in kickoff for several days, we packed up our campsite and drove back to Joshua Tree, treasuring the bond we forged in the crucible of trailwork.
This is the last of our posts, the final rise on a trail that has stretched from the high, dry desert of Joshua Tree to the sweet rushing water of Mission Creek. For three months we have given our blood, sweat and tears to the trail and in the end there is no question in our minds but that it was worth it. Standing outside the house on our penultimate day together we watched the fire of the sun shatter on the jagged peaks of southern California. It was not a sunset, but the dawn of a friendship that is stronger than rock bars and will endure so long as hikers stride from Mexico to Canada.