The All Stars took to the trails again to help the local community enjoy the outdoors with guidance from the Washington Trails Association (WTA). The WTA puts on nearly daily volunteer work parties all around the Washington wilderness that are open to the public. These are a great way to work alongside your peers in a setting much different than the office.

With over 1,100 WTA trip reports, Talapus Lake serves hikers from all over the greater Seattle area. With plenty of beautiful cedars and hemlocks enveloping Talapus and the nearby Ollalie Lake, we were happy to work on such a highly used trail.

We were a crew of 9 strong, joined by a few other local companies, as we ventured to the Talapus Lake trailhead, which is nestled in the trees just off of I-90 in Snoqualmie Pass. We were met by a relatively dense trail that gradually gained just over 1,000 feet of elevation. About 1.3 miles in, you can find Talapus Lake, but our work began just before that.

We split into teams to tackle several bridges. This time was a little different though—we got to take them apart instead of build them! A large part of the work lied in tearing apart each of the old, decaying bridges. Gina Gallegos, Staff Accountant, set a record pace for prying out nails that held the old bridges together. “Using tools that you don’t find in an office, like a grub hoe and grizzly bar, we dismantled a rotting bridge along the trail that had since been replaced. It was a rewarding experience with the visible progress and manual labor demands,” she said. “The most challenging part was dealing with the soreness in the days following. I used muscles I don’t use at a desk or even the gym for that matter.”

Brady Parsons, Business Analyst and Certified Scrum Master, was a part of the major demolition group. “My group tore down 2 bridges in order to groom the trail over the newly built bridge that would replace the need for the previous 2,” he explained. “We needed to redirect the trail to clearly define the route over the newly built bridge and return the previous path to an organic-looking state. It was rewarding to make a great deal of progress in only a matter of hours. It was challenging because they didn’t have enough of the tools we needed, so everyone had to share across different projects.”

The largest bridge was a real test of teamwork and strength. It required removing the wooden planks that made the foot path as well as moving the log base into the stream below. “My favorite tool was the grizzly bar,” said Joanna Tsarbopoulos, Account Representative. “There wasn’t anything I couldn’t move or demolish with that!” Lucky for us, all that hard work was not in vain. “As we were working on the trail, hikers would pass by and thank us for the work we were doing. It was gratifying to see the improvements we were making were immediately put to use and appreciated!”

If you’re thinking about visiting Talapus Lake, we highly suggest it, especially so you can see the clean trail for yourself. “The Talapus Lake trail is well-groomed and easily accessible,” acknowledged Doug Brown, Executive Chairman. “The ultimate reward is this calming lake snuggled in a beautiful alpine setting. Whether you’re a regular hiker or a novice, this is one of your best choices for a moderate day hike just an hour from the city.”

For a look at more of our trail adventures, check out our other WTA trailwork blog posts.

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