I wasn’t expecting a history lesson when I went to join my photographer friends yesterday. It was to be a hike, and I was welcome to join them. They hike a LOT, and volunteer at the Chinsegut Conservation Center, and are currently editing/updating a history of the Chinsegut Hill property itself. So our hike was on property that is not open to the public, but of course we were conscientious and didn’t leave anything behind us, or remove a thing, unless it was ticks. After a hike they usually remark about how many ticks they have found on themselves afterwards, which is a big reason that I don’t join them often. “Stay on the paths and you should be all right,” they said, and then the paths disappeared, and on we trudged.
The history lesson concerned the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, which I’d heard of but honestly knew nothing about, but I looked it up this morning. This turned out to be the most popular New Deal program of the time, 1933-1942, and it provided unskilled manual labor for unmarried young men ages 17-28 during those difficult depression years. They were provided with shelter, clothing, and food, plus a wage of $30/month, $25 of which was required to be sent back to their families. They labored on lands owned by local, state, and federal governments, and this program was not only a boon to the men and their families, but also led to an appreciation of the outdoors, and the need to protect our national resources. Chinsegut Hill benefitted from the labors of these men, who built the buildings on the property plus improved the wonderful acres of natural environment, preserving it to this day. When Betty and Linda first saw this property it was old and worn, but in pristine condition, buildings intact, dishes on the table, a bible beside the toilet, and equipment in the fields. As if people had just walked away. But it was recently vandalized, windows broken, and the buildings are now locked. As Betty said, nature is reclaiming what was hers in the beginning.
So now you know what you are looking at, if you have stuck with me this long. And as I have written this it has occurred to me that I forgot to check myself for ticks. Excuse me…
There were a lot more photos I still needed to go through, but I’ve just started saving them to my external hard drive. It’s getting back to them that’s the problem. But you get the point.