Who knew that digging for gold would be such a dirty job? Not me! I wish that I could say I spent last Saturday (March 31st) digging for real gold and getting rich quick. Instead, I spent the day digging dirt, which is called gold because of both its colour and nutrient rich properties, and getting even dirtier. We are called MUDDbunnies for a reason right? Having said that, the rewards of attending a Muddbunnies TAP trail day are far greater than those found in the monetary value of real gold.
The meet time was 9AM at the Old Buck parking lot, where punctual bunnies (yours truly unfortunately excluded) were met with Bean Around the World Coffees and a safety talk from one of our awesome trail builders, Sven. Unfortunately I came screeching into the parking lot just in time to miss the coffee, but in time to tag along with the last of the bunnies heading up.
Upon arriving at the location on Pangor where we were set to work, our trail builders Sven and Steve walked us through the various projects explaining the various jobs. People volunteered for different areas of work based on experience, or lack thereof in my case, and interest. The projects for the day mostly included drainage, filling in eroded sections, and a small bridge build. Take a look at the before and after photos to get the full effect.
I volunteered to dig for gold because it seemed like it was a good fit for someone who didnâ€™t have much trail day experience. I had no idea the strength required to shovel dirt for 2 hours. I few tips from seasoned veterans and some nice chit chat along the way improved things greatly.
After two hours of blood, sweat, and tears (Okay, Iâ€™m exaggerating just a tad), it was time for a well-deserved lunch. The wonderfully talented Dorothy supplied the group with what I can only imagine (Iâ€™m vegetarian) were amazing pulled pork sandwiches. I think the silence spoke for itself. The highlight of lunch for me were the decadently prepared butter tarts, of which I happily ate two.
Following lunch both fatigue and ADD kicked in, which meant I no longer wanted to shovel. I was given a variety of jobs, from replanting ferns, to packing the newly dug gold down on the trail. Much to my delight, this was done by jumping up and down on the dirt. How fun is that? There are plenty of different jobs for everyone at a trail day and the small encouraging environment is the perfect place to learn new skills. Just ask Muddbunnie Amber, who got to build her very own bridge. Great Work!
At the end of the day, I felt the type of satisfaction that can only be gained through good hard work, the type of work that you know benefits others. This was evidenced by the number of riders who politely walked their bikes through the area we worked on thanking us for our hard work. But, thatâ€™s not to say weâ€™re purely altruistic; I know I for one will be happy to rip down Pangor and enjoy the work we put in. And if the satisfaction of giving back to the trails that give us so much is not enough for you, thereâ€™re always the post trail day beers.