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Dirt work: an education in the woods

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A lively and lyrical account of one woman’s unlikely apprenticeship on a national-park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work Christine Byl first encountered the national parks the way most of us do: on vacation. But after she graduated from college, broke and ready for a new challenge, she joined a Glacier National Park trail crew as a seasonal “traildog” maintaining mountain trails for the millions of visitors Glacier draws every year. Byl first thought of the job as a paycheck, a summer diversion, a welcome break from “the real world” before going on to graduate school. She came to find out that work in the woods on a trail crew was more demanding, more rewarding—more real—than she ever imagined.   During her first season, Byl embraces the backbreaking difficulty of the work, learning how to clear trees, move boulders, and build stairs in the backcountry. Her first mentors are the colorful characters with whom she works—the packers, sawyers, and traildogs from all walks of life—along with the tools in her hands: axe, shovel, chainsaw, rock bar. As she invests herself deeply in new work, the mountains, rivers, animals, and weather become teachers as well. While Byl expected that her tenure at the parks would be temporary, she ends up turning this summer gig into a decades-long job, moving from Montana to Alaska, breaking expectations—including her own—that she would follow a “professional” career path.   Returning season after season, she eventually leads her own crews, mentoring other trail dogs along the way. In Dirt Work, Byl probes common assumptions about the division between mental and physical labor, “women’s work” and “men’s work,” white collars and blue collars. The supposedly simple work of digging holes, dropping trees, and blasting snowdrifts in fact offers her an education of the hands and the head, as well as membership in an utterly unique subculture. Dirt Work is a contemplative but unsentimental look at the pleasures of labor, the challenges of apprenticeship, and the way a place becomes a home.   

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ISBN:
9780807033272
9780807001004
9780807001011
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDa6cde8c3-6913-0ade-4f6d-3db1ea113ebd
Grouping Titledirt work an education in the woods
Grouping Authorchristine byl
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2021-05-07 02:27:39AM
Last Indexed2021-05-07 02:55:06AM
Novelist Primary ISBN9780807001004

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value0
accelerated_reader_reading_level0
authorByl, Christine, 1973-
author_displayByl, Christine
available_at_catalogElk Grove
detailed_location_catalogElk Grove
display_description

A lively and lyrical account of one woman’s unlikely apprenticeship on a national-park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work
 
Christine Byl first encountered the national parks the way most of us do: on vacation. But after she graduated from college, broke and ready for a new challenge, she joined a Glacier National Park trail crew as a seasonal “traildog” maintaining mountain trails for the millions of visitors Glacier draws every year. Byl first thought of the job as a paycheck, a summer diversion, a welcome break from “the real world” before going on to graduate school. She came to find out that work in the woods on a trail crew was more demanding, more rewarding—more real—than she ever imagined.
 
During her first season, Byl embraces the backbreaking difficulty of the work, learning how to clear trees, move boulders, and build stairs in the backcountry. Her first mentors are the colorful characters with whom she works—the packers, sawyers, and traildogs from all walks of life—along with the tools in her hands: axe, shovel, chainsaw, rock bar. As she invests herself deeply in new work, the mountains, rivers, animals, and weather become teachers as well. While Byl expected that her tenure at the parks would be temporary, she ends up turning this summer gig into a decades-long job, moving from Montana to Alaska, breaking expectations—including her own—that she would follow a “professional” career path.
 
Returning season after season, she eventually leads her own crews, mentoring other trail dogs along the way. In Dirt Work, Byl probes common assumptions about the division between mental and physical labor, “women’s work” and “men’s work,” white collars and blue collars. The supposedly simple work of digging holes, dropping trees, and blasting snowdrifts in fact offers her an education of the hands and the head, as well as membership in an utterly unique subculture. Dirt Work is a contemplative but unsentimental look at the pleasures of labor, the challenges of apprenticeship, and the way a place becomes a home.
 
 

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eBook
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itype_catalogAdult Book Non-Fiction
last_indexed2021-05-07T09:55:06.141Z
lexile_score-1
literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog363.680979 B993 2013
owning_library_catalogSacramento Public Library
owning_location_catalogElk Grove
primary_isbn9780807033272
publishDate2013
record_details
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical DescriptionAbridged
ils:.b22109894BookBooksEnglishBeacon Press, [2013], ©2013.xxiii, 231 pages ; 24 cm
overdrive:a2152832-566d-4f36-927f-168caf41bf31eBookeBookEnglishBeacon Press2013
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Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b22109894.i67551944On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39
overdrive:a2152832-566d-4f36-927f-168caf41bf31-2Available OnlineAvailable Onlinefalsetruetruefalsefalsefalse
subject_facetByl, Christine, -- 1973-
Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Foresters -- United States -- Biography
Nature trails -- Alaska -- Design and construction
Nature trails -- Montana -- Design and construction
Park facilities -- Alaska -- Design and construction
Park facilities -- Montana -- Design and construction
United States. -- National Park Service -- Officials and employees -- Biography
title_displayDirt work : an education in the woods
title_fullDirt Work An Education in the Woods
Dirt work : an education in the woods / Christine Byl
title_shortDirt work
title_suban education in the woods
topic_facetBiography & Autobiography
Byl, Christine
Design and construction
Foresters
Nature
Nature trails
Nonfiction
Officials and employees
Park facilities
Sociology