On March 2nd I started off on my new adventure as a crew member with the American Conservation Experience (ACE). I found myself travelling to Asheville, NC with a backpack full of 6 shirts, two pairs of work pants, three pairs of shorts, a new sleeping bag, and zero idea what to expect. I was both nervous and stoked to get started. I’ll be spending the next three months going to various national parks along the south and east coast doing general maintenance. My favorite part? I get to wear a hard hat… I don’t think I have ever looked so legit in my entire life.
My first week of work I was scheduled to work at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Since it was so close to our home base I didn’t have to worry about camping. Upon arrival to the park I was astounded by the beauty of this land. In my immediate line od visiom was a large white plantation home sitting on top of a hill surrounded by various cottages and fields speckled with award winning goats. Needless too say the view made the work very bearable. Our weeklong project had us fixing hundreds of yards of fences throughout the property. It truly allowed us to see every inch of the magnificent land that wasn’t the trails in the woods. It was four days of the same job, but it is mighty difficult to be upset when there are some great views.
On the last day we were able to take a tour of this eclectic writer’s home. This amazing house was already 100 years old by the time Mr. Sandburg and his family moved in in the 40s. It is a place oozing with history, not just of a famous writer, but a prominent family of the Civil War era. You can’t help but think of the people who have walked the floors of this place and the mark they left on their community. When Sandburg moved here from Michigan it was to allow his wife to have more room for her goats…. Yes… You read that correctly, Mrs. Sandburg had a strong collection of award winning goats. It however did become a sanctuary for his writing and creative souls from all around would come and seek advice. Bob Dylan even trekked down to share his poetry with the acclaimed poet.
When we visited they were in the midst of restoring the home so unfortunately the Sandburg’s belongings were in storage. The cool thing about this house is once the Sandburg’s moved out they left EVERYTHING. All of their books, furniture, transcripts, goats, and even multiple Pulitzer Prizes. This was a family that didn’t put much thought into materialistic effects. What mattered to them was intellect and making memories in this home. Though you could consider them packrats I think the fact that they left everything shows how unimportant things are. This is a park I went to with very limited knowledge, but left having an appreciation and know I will be back to visit. I cannot wait to one day hike the trails and see all of the magnificent fence posts put in by my crew and me!