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Trail Built in Memory of "Ultrarunner"

President's Column

Announcements

Volunteer of the Month: Cathy Sewell

Hike of the Month: Henry W. Coe State Park

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The Trail Companion (ISSN 1528-0241 (print); 1094-222X (online)) is the quarterly newsletter of the Trail Center.

Editor: Scott Heeschen
Staff Writer: Geoffrey Skinner
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Trail Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Ph.: (650) 968-7065
info@trailcenter.org

The Trail Companion

October/November 1996

Trail Built in Memory of "Ultrarunner"

Ed Richardson died the way he wanted to -- promptly and without much fuss.
      But his friends just couldn't live with that. It wasn't right for the 43-year-old long-distance trail runner to just simply fade away, taken by melanoma, a skin cancer. Something special had to be done for the stubborn Texan whose gruff manner wasn't enough to hide his humor, wit and willingness to sacrifice.
      So for the second time, about 15 of his friends honored him Saturday by helping to build a trail at Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, a place where the Los Altos Hills engineer would have loved to run. It was the ultimate honor for the "ultrarunner." And it would have disgusted him.
      "He would have approved of the work because he was sort of a closet naturalist. But the business about having a memorial or his name attached to this is the part that he would have not like," said Joe Richardson, who flew in from Texas with his brother Steve to help with the trail and trade stories with Ed's ultrarunner pals.
      Ed Richardson used to run 50- or 100-mile races with a core of trail-running comrades from the Bay Area. The ultramarathons had been a passion since his early 30s.
      But two years ago, around August, he told his good friend and running buddy of 15 years, Bob Livingston, that he was going to take it easy for a while. He had been feeling tired. When Livingston saw him again in October, things had gotten worse, but no one suspected anything serious until one day in November, around Thanksgiving.
      "We had assumed he was in Texas. But his mother called Weidlinger (Associates, his employer) to ask if he was at work because they had expected him and gone to the airport and he wasn't there," Livingston said.
      So Livingston and one of Richardson's co-workers went to his Los Altos Hills home, worried that something may have happened. When they entered the home through an unlocked patio door, they saw groceries out on the counter, rotting.
      Soon after, they found Richardson -- bed-ridden, delirious, gaunt and seriously fatigued. For the first time they saw what had happened to their friend. The tumors were clearly visible on his chest.
      That's when he was hospitalized and finally diagnosed with the melanoma. A few weeks later, shortly before Christmas, he was airlifted to Texas to be with his family. He died Jan. 9, 1995.
      His friends aren't letting Richardson pass easily, though. They gathered last year in his honor and hope to continue the event with the assistance of the Palo Alto-based Trail Center, which provided the tools and located a trail in need of repair.
      While pruning poison oak and picking at rocks on Trail 10, Richardson's friends spoke fondly of the altruistic runner and seemed to have a story for every mile he ran.
      Like the time he helped a lagging and "loud-mouthed" runner, whom he barely knew, survive a frigid night during an ultramarathon in the mountains.

Mike Clendenin
(Reprinted from the San Jose Mercury News)


President's Column

While leading the group of trail runners in their memorial trail build (see Trail Build in Memory of Ultrarunner on page 1), a connection between trails and friendship struck me. These people were honoring a friend who had passed away. I believe they also enjoyed being out on the trail together, as friends. I normally hike with my own friends; we'll pick a trail, head out, share some laughs, and stories. While hiking, we can catch up on each other's lives, explore a new route, or simply enjoy being outside. Similarly, my outlook is the same with building trail. I often look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones while out working on the trail. I'm never too sure who I'll meet, but I have a good time out there. Hope to see you building trails!

Scott Heeschen


Announcements

A fond farewell goes to the retiring Larry MacMillen, a long-time board member and co-founder of the Trail Center. Larry and his wife Marge moved out of the Bay Area to Grass Valley, Ca. in August. His trail expertise, knowledge, leadership and companionship will be sorely missed by many. Look for the Trail Center Profile on Larry on the December/January issue of the Trail Companion Newsletter.
     
      Congratulations to Jennifer Gardin and her family on the birth of a daughter, Hannah Elizabeth, on August 13, 1996 weighing in at 6.5 pounds!
     
      Thanks to Linda Magyary who, in Jennifer Gardin's absence, has lent her expertise on the graphic layout of the newsletter.
     
      Our heartfelt thanks go to Len Berg and Peter Nelson for keeping our data base up-to-date with the addition of so many the new members. Their work is invaluable. Welcome to our new office volunteer, Pat Boston!
     
      Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, Third Annual Trailblazer Race to be held on Sunday, October 13, 1996 @ 8:30 am for 10K and 3 Mile Walk. Start and finish at Silicon Graphics Headquarters on Stierlin Ct. and Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. Call the race hotline for more information (415) 903-6067 or (408) 255-5780.
     
      Mark your calendars! Our annual Trail Center Christmas Party and Potluck will be held on Tuesday, December 10, 1996 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Trail Center's PCCF Conference Rooms. Everyone is invited. We'll have an awards ceremony and a slide show!


Volunteer of the Month: Cathy Sewell

Seeing Crew Leader Cathy Sewell in action, you might think she's strictly in the business of building trails. But after talking with her, you find out she's into a whole lot more. An important part of what she does is teaching others.
      "Whether you're a trail builder, a Crew Leader, or a Workday Supervisor, you're constantly learning," she says. "In the beginning I made a whole bunch of mistakes, but I learned a lot from them. It's great to go back years later and see how well a trail you built is holding up, what worked, and what didn't." Since her first trail build on the Stevens Creek Canyon Trail in 1987, Cathy has led a distinguished career of service at the Trail Center. A year after joining, she became a Crew Leader, and later served for four years as Chair of the Crew Leader Training Committee and editor of the Crew Leader Training Manual. She has been a Board member, Board Secretary, and is ubiquitous on trail builds as a Workday Supervisor, Crew Leader, and all around organizational resource person.
      Although her work has been both technically and physically demanding, Cathy feels some of her biggest challenges have come from being a woman in a non-traditional role. For years, she was the only female Crew Leader at the Trail Center. "Since trail building is perceived as a very macho thing, cultural attitudes can make it difficult for women out there," she says. "Not only have some female trainees been uncomfortable saying 'I'm in charge here,' but some volunteers are uncomfortable with women being in charge.
      "We're here to help trainees work through these kinds of issues."
      What does Cathy say to people who want to be Crew Leaders? "If you want to be a Crew Leader, I'm positive we can help you get the skills you need to be a Crew Leader," she says without hesitation. Having coached scores of trainees in the art of leadership, Cathy and the other Crew Leader trainers are committed to helping people overcome obstacles on the trail as well as in their own minds. "Something one trainer does to handle a tricky technical or leadership situation might not fit your style. That's why it's good to work with different trainers during your apprenticeship. The way another trainer handles the same situation may be just the thing you can pick up and use yourself when it's your turn to lead."
      Cathy's own leadership style found early expression through Campfire Girls, where she naturally gravitated to such positions as day camp director, camp counselor, and event organizer. Growing up in Oregon, and as a student at the University of Colorado, she took for granted the easy access to forests and open spaces. "There were always lots of trees to climb and public lands to explore. You could always head for the mountains," she said. "When I moved here, I was surprised at how much land was privately owned and off-limits. Here, I had to find a park if I wanted to be in the woods." She first heard about the Trail Center in a book called The Santa Cruz Mountain Trail Guide, by Tom Taber. "I read this little blurb and thought, 'Wow, I could be outdoors, I could meet volunteers who will be neat people, I could get exercise, and there will be free food!' As it turned out, I've made some of my very best friends through the Trail Center."
      Teaching and helping others are themes that run through Cathy's professional life, as well. She's the Director of Management Information Systems for Education Programs Associates, a non-profit organization in Campbell. The company provides family health education services to health care professionals, with a focus on women's and children's health.
      Among Cathy's diverse and lesser-known talents are belly dancing, performing at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and creating costumes, which she both designs and sews. She also has a talent for growing succulents, a horticultural niche she's proud to have commandeered in a family where competition among green thumbs is fierce. Her mother writes a gardening column for the local newspaper in Oregon, and her sister is also gifted in the art of growing plants.
      Cathy lives in Santa Cruz with her beloved dog, Moose, a 12-year-old "possibly half Pointer, half Springer Spaniel" who has sometimes accompanied her on trail builds.

Anne Bers


Hike of the Month: Henry W. Coe State Park

Henry W. Coe State Park is the second-largest state park in California, with almost 80,000 acres of wild country southeast of San Jose. Deep canyons with seasonal creeks and pools divide long ridges covered with grasslands, mixed woods and chaparral. Artificial lakes and stock ponds provide habitat for waterfowl and red-winged blackbirds, as well as fishing for bass and panfish. Wildlife in the park includes deer, turkeys, feral pigs, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions, and a spectacular wildflower display blossoms every spring. Views from the ridgetops include the Santa Clara Valley, the surrounding Hamilton Range, and, on very clear days, the Sierras. By Rich Allsop.

     


Trail Center Events

Oct. 5 8:30 am - 3:00 pm. Arguello Park Trail Build, San Carlos.
Oct. 17 6:30 pm. Board Meeting @ Trail Center Office, Palo Alto.
Oct. 26 8:30 am - 3:00 pm. Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve @ Stanford University. This event is a private trail build for Sun Microsystems employees only. Apologies to our loyal volunteers.
Nov. 14 6:30 pm. Board Meeting @ Trail Center Office, Palo Alto.
Nov. 16 9:00 am - 3:30 pm Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve @ Stanford University. Welcome back to our loyal volunteers! Must arrive on time to get through locked gates.
Dec. 7 8:30 am - 3:00 pm. Arguello Park Trail Build, San Carlos.
Dec. 10 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm. Trail Center Annual Christmas Party and Potluck to be held at the Trail Center PCCF Conference Rooms. Call our office at (650) 968-7065 for more information.
Dec. 19 6:30 pm. Board Meeting @ Trail Center Office, Palo Alto.





     
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