Throughout the summer, the Trail Ambassadors do a variety of things: clearing water bars and sawing out downed logs on trails, obliterating illegal fire rings, chatting with visitors, picking up trash, logging all these stats, even…penning haikus!

Wait, what?! You read that right. Stewardship Director Alex Ertaud asked each Trail Ambassador to collect their thoughts after each day of work, and come up with a little poetic musing in the 5-7-5 syllable style of a haiku. While they found it a bit odd at first, the TAs came to enjoy plugging into their creative sides during and after long days of manual labor out on the trails this past summer season.

Enjoy a selection of Alex’s favorite haikus from over four months of selections, interspersed with some fun pictures from the summer:

-grey clouds in the sky,

shade is nice but please don’t rain,

oh look! a fire ring. Lindsay Butcher, Stewardship Programs Manager and White Mountain Ranger District TA

-Lush and colorful,

flowers are in full bloom and

mosquitoes full doom. Jean Redle, Mono Basin Ranger District TA

-I work hard for this.

I’m a friend of the Inyo.

Not an acquaintance. Cordero Chavez, Mt Whitney Ranger District TA

-Dense sappy hemlock,

fallen heavy in the woods,

pine flakes dust the trail. Will Young, Mammoth Ranger District TA

-Today was the day.

The day the little saw could.

Teeth rough, cutting wood. Cordero Chavez

-Thunder overhead.

Lightning, scared hikers and rain.

Lights out down below. Cordero Chavez

-Monsoon season is here,

bring us porcini mushrooms,

they go great with beer. Jean Redle

-rain rain come my way,

thunder booming all the day,

drains flooding the trail. Bradley Olson, Bridgeport Ranger District TA

-four rock bars we had,

taking bites and holding strong,

team work makes dream work. Bradley Olson

-I think that “mule trains”

imply something more complex;

disappointing truths. Will Young


-The distance we walk

does not always determine

how far we have come. Will Young


What a year! What a collection of thoughts and feelings distilled so nicely into tight, neat lines of poetry! Please enjoy the winter, and if you feel inspired, write a few haikus of your own next time you’re hiking or doing some yardwork.