When Carolina Mountain Club (CMC) member Gary Eblen recently received a cap in recognition for his work as a volunteer Trail maintainer, he felt as proud of his award as did of his first Boy Scout badge. This dedicated maintainer and hike leader has a lot to be proud of.
Gary has been a member of the SWEAT crew since 2007. He says that a Trail project in the Smokies is a “great way to spend a few days… like polishing the silver in a cathedral,” and adds that the work “takes you down to an elemental level that we all need to visit sometimes.” Though crew volunteers are all strangers to each other at first, the work creates a bond—there is “a whole lot of laughter” on a SWEAT crew, Gary notes.
When he is not “outsmarting rocks” on the SWEAT crew or with CMC, Gary works with teachers from the Trail to Every Classroom program, where he serves as hike leader and Leave No Trace educator for the students. Gary also helps ATC’s southern regional office with special events.
Gary wants to do Trail work for as long as he can. He is fascinated by A.T. history and feels a link to the CCC crews and others who walked the Trail before him. The A.T. has “been around for a long time, and I want it to keep being around for a long time.” Thanks, Gary!