By Emma Rigler, NM Wild’s Young Adult Volunteer and Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Being new to New Mexico, and one of the newer members of the New Mexico Wild team, I am not sure what I expected out of a signage project in the Apache Kid Wilderness, but I was ready to be challenged! It was my first wilderness camping experience, and I forced my just-as-inexperienced housemates to come with me on this adventure.
The campground itself was beautiful, with good places to set up camp, and communal space if you are with a big group. My housemates and I were three of the six volunteers that weekend. We, of course, had our amazing leaders Walker and Will. They kept our spirits high with a very tasty fajita dinner Saturday night, accompanied by good conversation and stories. We were having such a good time, another camper who came all the way from Kansas, decided to join us from his neighboring campsite. With our bellies full and our bodies tired from the first day, we went to sleep and awaited our second day of work.
Little did I know, that we would be sawing and de-barking trees, digging three-foot-deep holes, and hiking up miles of steep switchbacks. I found it to be strenuous to only on the body, but on the mind as well, but with the support the team had for each other, we flew through those mountains even with all of our PPE! Nonetheless, it was such a rewarding experience to know that we built and installed beautiful signs that will hopefully last a few decades.
Overall, it was the first and best hiking/camping/signage project trip that I have ever been on! I can’t wait to see what other volunteer opportunities and adventures I can jump on!