EDITORíS DESK: A day in the sun

       That was wearisome toil out in the sun last Saturday. A total of 32 volunteers worked all day on an unshaded hogback to build the Codell Trail for public use at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Normally such civic contributions are no-brainers for this column. I think it's important to give credit where credit is due when people give up free time for the community benefit.
       It just gets a little awkward when the person doing the writing happens to be among them. Yeah, I was out there hacking around in the dirt too. And I'm proud that my two sons, who both started learning to build trail almost as soon as they were big enough to hold tools, showed up as well. Of course they had no choice, poor souls! Even knowing that we couldn't use any photo in the newspaper that they were prominent in!
       But most of us at the workday weren't like Travers and Rioux, growing up with trail tools around. Each of us had some kind of epiphany - a realization that those trails we walk on don't get there by accident, and there's no one on the government payroll (definitely not these days!) who's going to do it for us. I suppose in a broad sense that could be a metaphor for almost anybody who volunteers for anything. That's why I have such short shrift for those able-bodied people I see with a hand out. I feel like putting a trail tool in it.
       Anyway, if by now you're wondering how a pencil-neck newsie wound up building trail for the past 25 years, here's the short story. In 1986, working for the weekly (now defunct) Pikes Peak Journal, I interviewed Paul Intemann, Manitou Springs' planning director, about his idea to preserve and connect historic hiking trails above the town. It was just another story at the time... until he died in a car accident before the story even ran. Next thing I knew, I was helping start the Intemann Trail Committee and over time have become its coordinator. I guess that was my volunteer epiphany, but there's no bragging rights. I'd much rather Paul was still around.

- K.J.