by Preston Cottrell    Embarking on my first Wilderness Volunteers project was intimidating. I had some skills in working and living in the outdoors, but I really did not know what to expect going into the trip. I was surprised at how organized, supportive, and encouraging the leaders were about all aspects of our journey. My fellow participants had their own special qualities as well. Larry was a knowledgeable guide, quick to jump into any adventure. Jack’s empathetic nature reminded us of why we were there: to give back to our planet and to one another. Wes provided a perseverance and work ethic that powered us to the very end of the week. John M and the entire Forest Service crew were so much fun to be around. They were all understanding of the work that needed to get done but were wonderful people to sit down with and relax at the end of the work day.

Every day in the Pemigewasset Wilderness we experienced the majesty of the outdoors and being immersed in such an environment challenged us to rely on one another and appreciate our commonalities. Our wonderful cooks made tasty food which was enhanced by taste buds responding to the outdoor setting. Somehow oats and vegetables just tasted better in the outdoors. Each day I was reminded that even though we worked hard, nature had a way of rejuvenating our spirits in a way that city life could not.

Overall, I feel the work we did mattered. I know more about myself and nature, and I made new friends with whom I hope to cross paths again. For all these reasons, I would love to do another WV trip.