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Monday, 21 May 2012

25 000 Trees and 35 000 Calories

       Well, what more can I say. I am happy to be blogging again! Being away from my blog has allowed me to gain new experiences in the past few weeks. First, I want to talk to you about tree planting. There was a wicked article written by a woman from B.C in this month's Reader's Digest about this career choice. Based on this article and my own 3 weeks of experience, this is arguably one of the hardest and dirtiest jobs left in the modern world.  
      In my experience, I walked about 16 400 steps per day, usually carrying trees. I planted trees while it was raining sideways for hours, planted through rocks, and traveled over swamps. I even fell a few times carrying as many as 279 trees up a steep bank. Through all of the hard work involved with tree planting, I learned a tremendous amount about myself.  
      I pushed my limits both physically and mentally (occasionally striking up loud and obnoxious conversations with myself when no one was around) and realized the level of respect I have for those individuals who can bear such a burden. Carrying up to 370 soggy, sharp trees over rough topography is not for the faint of heart. You must be tough as nails and have a high pain tolerance in order to do this job effectively. 
      I remember pushing through the pain and soon found out that the agony in my shoulders had shifted to my feet. By midday I realized that my whole body hurt so badly, I blanked it out. That was when the best planter came out in me! It was almost as if I planted through my pain threshold every day.    
Another thing I noticed about tree planting is the absence of the coined "lunch break". In my experience, I was being paid per tree, not per hour. Therefore, time was of the essence for me. I had to make every minute of transportation and planting count to meet my goals and keep pace with my crew members. Often, I would just eat on the run, slamming in a quick vitamin water and an apple as I ventured back into the swampy land. It was not easy, folks!    
      In my next blog post, I will dive into the emotions surrounding tree planting. Many workers shared the same bag of mixed feelings which I carried everyday. There were few highlights and many emotional valleys each day on the job. I will delve into the technique of tree planting and talk about what Martin Luther King Jr and tree planting have in common. Thanks for reading!

Ryan Fahey
CPTN Canada
Canfitpro PTS, FIS

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