In which the joys of volunteering are espoused by somebody who knows

Is there anything better than getting really dirty...
and fixing stuff that needs to be fixed?

We built up this turnpike with native gravel and rock in 2013.
It still looks--and works--great to keep the horses out of the mud.

I've been documenting our volunteer trail work at the Renegade Rendezvous ridecamp since 2009, with plenty of photos and explanations about what is needed to put this ride together every year.  

Renegade Rendezvous 2010  Best overview of what we do.  Also, a post about dogs in camp.
Renegade Rendezvous 2011  Best photos here!  Lots of flowers!
Renegade Rendezvous 2012  Lots of friends and family joined us
Renegade Rendezvous 2013  Doing trail work when you can't walk is really hard
Renegade Rendezvous 2014  Returning to camp in the sunshine--lots of work to be done!

It's a beautiful place to spend time with friends...and while we're up there in camp during the week prior to the event, we get a ton of work done to prepare the trails for the hordes of riders who will show up on ride day to share a long distance adventure with a horse on some of the prettiest trails you will ever see.

We've got a faithful group of 4-8 people who show up every year, ready to work and have fun.

This year, however, we will need a LOT more volunteers than usual, because it turns out that

Yes, this is the SS Illegible and yes, he did park
that helicopter right off the starboard side.

helicopters are really messy.

After many years of threatening to log our corner of the Naches Wilderness, it's really happening.

And, because many of the hillsides where trees are harvested are really steep and also quite remote, the trees are being pulled out by helicopter and then staged in meadows...including the meadow that houses our ridecamp.

This twin-rotor, single seat helicopter can move a lot of trees

The problem isn't the staging meadows.  The problem is the mess that logging operations leave on our trails.

Limbs, branches, and tree tops scattered randomly on the hillsides...
and over the top of our trails.

We went up to camp this weekend to check it out.  The news is not great:

In addition to the usual seasonal blowdown, the trails have a ton of tree shrapnel
on them, and will require a LOT of work to clear.

The work is not impossible.

These branches can be pulled apart by hand

This tree top needed several people with tools to move it off the trail

The same trail, partly cleared

We use chainsaws,


and a fair amount of effort

to build the trails that our riders love.

It's not easy.

Dogs help.

but the work is very rewarding.  

There's really nothing like the satisfaction of trotting down a trail and recognizing a stretch of terrain that you, personally, cleared and prepared.  

Maybe you can point to a spot on the trail where the rocks have been raked away.  No horse is going to "meet his rock" here, because I threw them all off the trail! 

Maybe your horse climbs up an embankment and stops to breathe on a switchback platform you cleared and flattened.  I know there is good grass here, because I saw it when I helped build this.

Maybe you see branches by the side of the path, and you remember that they used to block the way.  I cleared this.  I made this trail.

Want to join the fun?

This is how Santa spends his off-season.
You'll want Santa to remember you this year!

We will be gathering up at the Renegade Rendezvous ridecamp starting around June 27th, and working through the week prior to the July 3-4th events.  We welcome hardworking volunteers.

If you've got a chainsaw, or trail building equipment and skills, great!

If you've never done anything like this before, but you're willing to help out with building, mending, and marking trails, that's great too.

What are you waiting for? 

We need your help this year. 

Come for a day or two before the ride, or join us for the whole week. 

Bring your horse, your kids, your dog, and your work gloves.

Green beans, this is your opportunity to get to know the trails and the folks who make endurance rides happen.

Experienced riders, here's your chance to pay back the universe for the happy hours you've spent on trails that other folks built.

Everybody:  join the fun. 

Contact Renegade Rendezvous ride manager Gail Williams and tell her you want to help.  Or contact me via the comment box, and I'll make sure you get the information you need.


  1. It does feel So great to "own" a trail you've worked on - wherever it may be! Seems logging has taken on new heights this year... Nice work up there!


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