I had my first shift as a trailhead steward this weekend. And a good weekend for it. I was located at the Welch Dickey trailhead. The Welch Dickey loop has several steep granite slabs and ledges, which can become very slippery and potentially dangerous in wet weather. (Here’s my account of my first hike of the loop). We’d recently had a lot of rain, and the forecast had more rain plus thunderstorms. Open ledges on the top of a mountain, are NOT the best place to be when there is lightning.
Part of a trailhead steward shift is to help educate hikers on conditions, weather, etc. We let people new to the trail know about the potential for slippery slabs, as well as the forecast for lightning. We had a few people change plans, such as deciding to hike up to a viewpoint, then turn around versus doing the entire loop, which would allow them to hike, get a view, and avoid the wet slabs.
One hiker who had set off before we had arrived, came down during our shift, and had indeed slipped on the wet slabs. She unfortunately had some abrasions, but fortunately had some first aid training and fixed herself up before hiking down to the trailhead.
We also get to interact with a lot of hikers, including several Canadian hikers. Many (all?) of the trailheads have a cheatsheet with some useful phrases in French. (“Enjoy your hike”, “Please stay on the path in the alpine zone”, etc). We had a group that spoke French and a little English, so I was able to practice my VERY rusty high school French. We also taught them the word “cheatsheet”. 😀
Overall, I really enjoyed myself. I think we may have helped some people. We provided information. Met some fun and interesting people. 10/10 would do again (already signed up for my second shift!).