Saturday, April 30, 2005

nice day in the woods

My friend Wil

My friend Wil died this week. Wil was a friend of the forest. When I first became involved in MORE it was as liaison to the George Washington Nat'l Forest, and Wil mentored me in the ways of forest trail maintenance. He was a long-time member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and a US Forest Service volunteer and p/t employee. He was dedicated to trail maintenance and wrote comprehensive reference manuals for other trail overseers and groups. He was an expert source employed by Trails Illustrated/National Geographic for the research behind their new trail map series which are now used by all of us GW Forest users. Wil verified every trail shown on that map. He was in the woods nearly every day, scouting trails, re-blazing, planting signposts, leading work crews, and doing lots of solo weekday trips.

I would guess Wil was about 50-55 when I met him about 8-9 years ago, and he was one of the fittest men I'd ever met. He walked and worked with a polished efficiency, and he wore out many a studly mountain biker with his full-day trailwork sessions. Often, we'd start hiking up at 9:30, break at noon, and start hiking out around 3:00 after a hard session. Those who brought their bikes thinking of a post-session ride, never seemed to bring them twice.

Everything Wil did in the forest was meant to outlive him, me, and the next generation. His work will forever lead to happy footsteps and pleasant memories for the wide world of trail users. I often wondered what Wil wondered about as he spent his long days in the mountains. Did he think of his former life as a gov't computer programmer (he was a programmer long before the Internet, he was even a reluctant e-mail user for several years). Did he wonder about his family? I never knew the circumstances that led Wil to the small basement apartment he kept in the mountain town of Mount Jackson. There just wasn't much time to talk about things on those workdays. Wil spoke mainly for the forest. I'll miss him.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Oliver is skateboarding

I came home from work last night to quickly jump in and out to get my bike and head to Wakefield. When I pulled into the driveway, Oliver was sitting on his friends new skateboard, and slowly gliding down the hill in front of our townhouse. I watched, wondering if he knew how to stop. A few seconds later, a few yards from the curb, his feet went down on the sides, bringing him to a smooth stop in front of the curb. Later, he showed Kim how he turns. Crazy, at 2 years old. Here's a pic of one of the ways we skated together last summer.

a rare Wakefield ride

I made it to the Thursday Night MORE ride last night, as all the necessary stars aligned for me to get out there. This was the night Pooch collided with another rider, and both were transported to the hospital for head evaluations. Pooch says he's just as damaged now as he was before the accident, and that he doesn't remember a single thing about it. Only a taco'd wheel and a cracked helmet to show for it.

After that excitement delayed the start, Joe P led 2 of us on a nice single speed jaunt through Accotink. Even though I used to live in the condos bordering the RR tracks, and rode here in the '80s, I don't know a single decent loop in this place anymore. Fun trails though. We later were joined by Ricky, and then Larry and the rest of the MORE rescue team for a fast spin through the new race course. It was great getting to ride with the group again. I appreciate the social aspect almost as much as the thrill of the singletrack.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Why a blog?

I've been looking at many of my MORE mountain bike friend's blogs recently, and it seems like an easy way to keep the Camp family updates in a better format than the simple html doc I've been using for Oliver's pics (w/ his grandfather below). I'll probably convert the old Oliver site to his own blog, so those interested in pics and stories of him won't have to sift thru my mountain biking stuff and ocassional rants.