Life on the Trail - Spring Mountains


Author, Dolly Chapman (pictured in middle), with the 2014 Mt. Charleston trail crew

I went to the Spring mountains to welcome a new Friends of Nevada Wilderness trail crew. Trail work is all about learning how to see things and this crew was off to a good start. We worked in the burnt area. Ryan said “Its beautiful here. . . It’s burnt, and it is beautiful.”

 The Spring Mountains change your way of seeing things. First, your view tips from horizontal to vertical as you find your trail going up and up and up. Then you learn that your new views - of bristlecone pines and limestone rock - are very old. You understand that the dry washes and narrow canyons are shaped by massive amounts of water. And you see that burnt is beautiful.

Trail work changes your perspective, too. It teaches you that physical labor engages the mind completely, that the people you work hard with are the most fun, and that a good meal feeds the soul. And you understand that this temporary summer job adds more to your life, and requires more of you than some of the most prestigious careers.

From the Spring Mountains you can see Las Vegas. It looks far away and unremarkable. You know differently. From Las Vegas you can see the Spring Mountains. From a distance, you can’t imagine how fascinating this place is. Take time to see these mountains up close! Get the Spring Mountain perspective!


About the Author

Dolly left her home in Michigan a long time ago at age 17 to join a Yosemite trail crew. There she began discovering great satisfaction in the challenge to understand and connect with people and places as well as the raw joy of doing hard physical work. 
She worked 30 summers as a ‘permanent seasonal’ trail crew leader for the US Forest Service, mostly in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. She continues to work on trails as a volunteer, an instructor and contractor, privileged to work with many excellent stewardship groups and land management agencies. 
At home in Calpine, CA, Dolly and her husband share the home they built with dogs and cats. They all enjoy camping, hiking, bicycling, and a big vegetable garden.
Dolly stays well connected with other fans of traditional skills through her business ‘Chapman’s Sharp Crosscut saws.‘  Check out the website 


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