Photo Friday – November 7, 2014

Well, I have one word for everyone – wow.

In response to the ongoing Casey Nocket / Creepytings National Park Graffiti nonsense, I wanted to try to take all the anger and frustration people were feeling and turn that into something positive for the parks and open spaces we all love so much by inspiring people to get their hands dirty helping clean up their favorite green space.

Last week we got some great photos of clean up and trail work and this week I’m happy to say we got even more! I’ve had a smile on my face all morning going through these shots – and I only wish I had some more goodies to give away to everyone.

This week, I dug up some $25 gift cards to Columbia Sportswear for our winners – and for good measure I’ll also throw a vinyl Modern Hiker sticker in the mail with them, too.

First up, is Mark Davis, who was also inspired to take a trash bag into Santa Anita Canyon. He came out with a full bag and he’s also planning on making this a regular part of his trail runs. Nice work, Mark!

?????? I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, then I realized I am somebody. You have to be the change you wish to see in the world. ??????. – Sturtevant Falls cleanup hike. Weather wrecked havoc while planning this hike. Had to cancel it twice, only to call in the morning to the pack station and find out they were actually open. Decided to let everyone sleep in and go at it solo to prevent giving them further whiplash. Great run to the waterfall, and picked up every piece of garbage along the way; ended up with an entire bag full by the end. Rained on the way in, which felt great while running and brought out the color in everything. Got to see the falls start trickling back to life because of the rainfall. As I stated in a previous post, I'm going to begin carrying a large trash bag on all my future hikes. Through training I've gained the ability to run up mountains without tiring and finish hikes in a fraction of their estimated times, and thus it's time I use those skills to give back to the wilderness I love. Hopefully the cleaner trails will give more incentive to amateur hikers and tourists to respect the land. Made it back just as a super thick fog rolled into the valley. #caseynocket #creepytings #modernhiker

A photo posted by Mark Davis (@_mark_davis_) on

Next up – we all love exploring our designated Wilderness areas, but many people may not know exactly how much hard work goes into keeping them in their Wilderness state. The same laws that prevent motorized transportation and recreation in Wilderness areas also prevent work crews from bringing in power tools – which means a lot of extra elbow grease is needed to maintain trails. G. Tollefson shared this photo that really shows you just how much work goes into keeping those trails open.

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As many people noted in the comments on the Casey Nocket story, learning the value of nature often starts at an early age. It didn’t help that Nocket’s mother seemed proud of her daughter’s work, but Chasqui Mom is definitely raising her kids right. Her kids loved chipping in on a recent cleanup at Point Reyes and you can bet they won’t be painting on protected pictographs anytime soon.

And proving that not all people from the Empire State don’t value natural beauty, Long Island’s Lake Ronkonkoma was just given several pairs of helping hands by Kristin Goetz and her friends, who hauled out 10 full contractor bags of trash (around 200 pounds!). They’re already planning more cleanups for next year and hopefully they’ll inspire others to chip in, too!

Congratulations to everyone and thank you so much for giving back. I’m out of town next weekend so Photo Friday will take a short hiatus, but we’ll be back the week after that. Share your volunteering photos or just your best nature photography by tagging it with #modernhiker on Twitter or Instagram or submitting them to our Flickr Group.

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