Gettin’ Trail Weird


I love the crew I work with. We’re made up of a bunch of like-minded folks from all across the country who have a shared passion of the great outdoors. Luckily another thing we have in common is the ability to get trail weird. You may ask yourself, “What in tarnation is trail weird?” I’m sure other subcategories of labor-induced weirdness exist as well. Restaurant weird, retail weird, farming weird – they all accomplish the same thing. It’s a sort of coping mechanism used to lift spirits among a crew when times get tough. Our days start off upbeat for the most part, but after lunch the weirdness usually starts to take hold of us. People get tired physically, and restless mentally. When you combine these traits you are left with an opportunity for greatness to ensue, should you seize it. Someone starts speaking in an amusing accent. That evolves quickly into the entire crew speaking in that same accent. As we tire of our new voices, our minds wander. People start asking questions that they consider to be deep and thoughtful, but to anyone outside the crew would sound like the ravings of a lunatic. “Hey Guys! If you had a magic water bottle divided into four sections, that could each contain four separate liquids, all of which having an infinite supply, what would they be?” We generally take these questions with the utmost seriousness. It’s as if we believe that if our answers are witty enough, and our justifications sound, that we would turn around to find that magic water bottle on the ground behind us. Another symptom of getting trail weird is temporary aural ignorance. Often, a member of the crew will experience a momentary lapse in conversation, but not in their subconscious. After a statement is registered as a sudden thought instead of part of a conversation, it is often blurted out as the same exact words that were uttered in the first place. I guess we just wouldn’t be ourselves if we didn’t repeat ourselves. One of the greatest side-effects of getting trail weird is the boost in morale that it brings with it. There are always more things to accomplish around Lake Berryessa, and getting trail weird has helped us to tackle an enormous amount of work in the last few weeks. After returning from our winter break, we completed a loop trail hugging the shore of the lake at the Smittle Creek Day Use Area. The trail is a 3/4 mile jaunt with minimal grade changes and a wide tread. After completing the new loop, we maintained a large section of the Smittle Creek Self-Guided Nature Trail. During the first week back, we also took a grip hoist rigging course. Our newest endeavor is at Markley Cove, where we are improving the water access at roadside pullouts along Route 128. So next time you find yourself wandering the shores of Lake Berryessa, if you come upon a group of dirt laden, overall wearing, tool wielding trail philosophers with muddy boots and big smiles, slowly approach and say something strange -just don’t be surprised if we manage to make a conversation out of it. -Andy Heller