Just over a year ago Chad and I embarked on the second leg of our journey as Canada’s first Trail Care Crew. We covered a lot of ground in 2012 but were excited and relieved to hang up our boots in December. While we sat around our temporary residence surrounded by boxes of our belongings we opened a bottle of our coveted homemade wine and reflected on our experience as TCC.

This experience shaped us in two distinct ways, as builders and as individuals.

When we first started building over a decade ago our choice of trail tools were loppers and lawnmowers. Considering we had never seen purpose designed and built trails in our lives we had to start somewhere. It wasn’t until Deanne attended Capilano University that we discovered the art and science behind true trail building. We started to understand why we preferred some trails (purpose designed and built) over others (lawnmower & loppers). As we started our journey as Trail Care Crew we figured we had a pretty good knowledge base of trail building techniques but quickly discovered that we still had much to learn. Learning tips and tricks from builders across the country was an additional perk of our job that made our experience so much more rewarding. We both learned that in trail building there is no limit to the knowledge you can gain to improve yourself as a builder.

The same lesson applies to us as individuals. We both learnt things about ourselves and our relationship while being on the road. We both agree that the experience of travelling has taught us about our strengths and our weaknesses and since we’ve returned to a less nomadic way of living we have both flourished.

So what happens to us now?

Chad has returned to his job in medical imaging but is staying involved in building through the South Island Mountain Bike Society (SIMBS). He is currently leading the construction on the Trillium trail which he helped design last winter with another local builder. Chad has also kept himself busy getting our fleet of bikes up and running again after being in storage for the past two years.

Deanne is in a new role with IMBA Canada as the new Trail Care Crew Coordinator and customer service coordinator. She is now also a member at large for the Dirty Girlz Bike Club in Victoria, BC, and also helps out with the SIMBS trail days.

We wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone we met across Canada who took care of us while we were on the road. Consider yourselves all a part of our extended family. We also want to thank Parks Canada, Trans Canada Trail and of course IMBA Canada for coming together and making the Trail Care Crew program a reality and for choosing us as the first crew. We are both deeply honoured to have been a part of something so incredible.

– Deanne Lazaruk