Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods

As a child my favorite past time was reading. This was followed closely by watching TV.  Nowhere in my list of favorite things to do was being outside ever mentioned.  So Christine Byl's memoir, Dirt Work, was not only an interesting look at life as a traildog, but also a far cry from the types of activities I find fun.

Byl admits that many people view the work she does as something beneath them- a last resort of sorts. Yet, for over fifteen years Byl has chosen to return to work on the trail crew - first at Glacier National Park and then in Denali National Forest.  The sheer physical effort and exhaustion that Byl experience in this job are enough to determine that this would not be a career I would have ever considered. However, Byl describes the ins and outs of her job in detail giving descriptions of the various tools of her trade.

Dirt Work is well written, evidence of Byl's own education and love of literature. While I was interested in her story, I felt it hard to connect to her in this book.  There were a few shared anecdotes and plenty of first person knowledge about this career path, and I know my husband would have loved Byl's story, yet for me, I was hoping for more of a connection to Byl.

Dirt Work gives an inside look at a career I never knew existed and a way of life only a few embrace.

No comments: