As she stared at the top of the snowy ridge - with the wind blowing down the hill and road - Dani Lambert smiled. She had thought about this moment for the past two months, anticipating this specific reality of working in the snow: she was going to have to crawl.
Accepting things for what they are is just one face of the flexibility exhibited by the crew leads of the Greater Jellystone office this week, both at the Triple Tree Trail System in Bozeman and at Winn Jessup’s property near Bozeman Pass. This flexibility included enthusiasm in spite of bad weather, disregard for the discomfort of wet socks and boots, and complete focus even when dogs were present.
Of course, the level of thuse (read: enthusiasm) which the weather and dogs and even the dude from Meateater brought to the crew paled in comparison to the stoke felt by the crew from running chainsaws in the woods for four straight days.
“It was raw,” said crew leader Erin Steva, “it was real and it was incredible. The potential for this work - this tool - is unfathomable.” She paused, staring at the 85” stump from only her eleventh tree of the morning. “After this week, I ain’t ever going back to Charlottesville.”
“I saw some folks coming up the trail, behind a massive hog, and this one guy had a saw that was as big as my car,” stuttered Andrew Connelly, as he wiped cold sweat from his hands. “I got scared, and i jumped into the snow feet first to hide. I got stuck and had to use my spot device.”
Lunches were spent dancing on the trail, purely out of necessity (staying warm).
The crew leads demonstrated a mixed amount of flexibility this week as well, since this was, in fact, the first week using the post-workday stretch circle. As they flailed in the snow, Hot Rod (Ally Rodman) mentioned to the group that she had never actually used a chainsaw prior to training and was, to use her words, “winging it since day one, baby!” Sadly, nobody reacted to the comment.
As field training continues for the Greater Jellystone crew leads, optimism grows. “Postholing every step ain’t fun, but if I get these views every hitch this summer, I’m going to be the happiest man alive,” said Jamie Tommins, as we loaded the rigs and departed for the office. The sun set on Thursday over the Bridgers on the drive back, as we reflected on our purpose.
To quote George Bernard Shaw, “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die - for the harder I work, the more I leave.”