139: Giving Back to The Trails You Love

Show Notes: Episode 139

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re on site at Heather Lake in Washington State with Rudy from the Cascade Hiker podcast.  We’ll talk about trail service and pulaskis.  Then, we’ll review a lightweight container than can hold your precious habanero flakes or a week’s worth of ibuprofen.  For the Backpack Hack of the Week, a quick flick of your foot may prevent a trail full of mug bogs.  And we’ll wrap up the show with a little trail wisdom, from a nature writer of the 20th century.


Top 5 Benefits of Doing Trail Service with an Organized Trail Crew

You’ll find instant friends

  • People who share same values
  • Working together for the trails you love

You’re maintaining and improving the trails you love

  • No more hiking thru muddy pits or scrambling over downed trees
  • Trail crews can clear mud bogs on trail

You prevent long term damage caused by trail erosion

  • Erosion is caused by…water
  • Trails don’t have vegetation, so they’re susceptible to erosion if not graded and drained correctly
  • Interesting article about what the impact of different types of trail users. http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/WKeenImpacts.html

You probably won’t take trails for granted anymore

  • Once you’ve worked on a trail, you know how much work has gone into creating and maintain that trail!
  • Steps, downed trees, muddy spots, drainage, protected switchbacks, etc.
  • Hard work, respect for Mother Nature
  • We worked on a trail clean up where we were assigned to clear brush on the side of the trail…about 30 people working for 4 hours. Clearing a fairly small area with just protective gloves and our own muscles.  Humbling experience to see how tenacious and powerful nature is, and how weak and feeble we are.
  • Can you pull a 1 inch root from the ground without tools??

Underfunded trails –or heavily trafficked trails get the love they need

  • WTA
  • PNWT
  • Trail organizations

SUMMIT Gear Review™: HumanGear GoTubb


  • Small lidded plastic containers
  • Food-safe (FDA) and 100% BPA-free, PC-free, and phthalate-free.


  • The lids for the GoTubbs are transparent, and each tub has a textured place where you can write the contents of the tub—so you can see through the lid
  • Open with one hand—which is great on the trail. Usually we’re understaffed…one hand is trying to light the stove, another hand is trying to balance a package of food, and we’re doing all of this while squatting and trying not to breath in the mostquito that’s been circling around our heads.


  • Small GoTubb is .2 ounces or 5 grams (1.25 inches wide x 1 inch tall) 14 ccs
  • Medium GoTubb is .7 ounces or 20 grams (3 inches wide x 1.25 inches tall) 86 ccs


  • To clean GoTubbs, hand wash in warm, soapy water.


  • $6.99 for 3 pack of small
  • $8.99 for 3 pack of medium


  • Not for storing liquids. Great for storing other stuff, like spices, ear plugs, pills or foot powder or soap or baking soda (which has a ton of great uses on and off the trail).
  • Can be opened with one hand, which is super handy

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Draining Standing Water on Trails

  • A 5 second quick fix…either with your shoe or with a stick or trekking pole.
  • Dig a little trough on the side of the trail for the water to escape. Make sure to clear out the debris so that water flows all the way through.
  • This is a short term fix. What really needs to happen is a drainage pipe needs to be installed.
  • Long term fix requires a pipe that’s been packed in, and a shovel.
  • But in the meantime, your shoe can help drain the swamp.

Trail Wisdom

“We need some contact with the things we sprang from. We need nature at least as a part of the context of our lives. Without cities we cannot be civilized. Without nature, without wilderness even, we are compelled to renounce an important part of our heritage. “

–Joseph Wood Krutch