Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Christine Byl

After graduating from college Christine Byl and her boyfriend (now husband) moved to Montana and happened into seasonal jobs working as trail-dogs in Glacier National Park. Little did she know that it was the beginning of her life calling. They went on to work at a National Forest in Alaska, Denali National Park, and to start their own trail design company. Before working at Glacier, Christine had never done that type of work before and she discusses what it was like to be a woman-newbie in a male dominated field.

“…I think what deeply unites us is the fact that most of us have so recently been beginners. In the labor world, women more often remember what it felt like to not know, to be expected not to know, to be taught, and then later, to teach. The expertise we have feels earned, not inherited. We are grateful for the times someone chose not to make us feel foolish.”

I enjoyed reading about the learning curve she went through as well as the work that goes into the trails that I enjoy hiking. It makes me appreciate the trails all the more and especially the people who build and maintain them.