October 2014 Volunteer of the Month
While many PATC members share a peculiar attraction to dirt, sweat, lugging tools on their hikes and day-after aches that trail maintenance offers, only one trail overseer takes masochism to the extreme of single-handedly maintaining a trail named “Old Misery.” Old Misery’s 1.5 miles and the adjoining 2.6-mile Cat Rock Trail in Cunningham Falls State Park provide Mike Trettel with a generous allowance of rocks, roots, blowdowns, switchbacks and slope that make pleasurable hiking and South Mountaineers’ work trips a walk in the park. Mike has been maintaining these trails since early 2012 after being a regular member of the South Mountaineers trail crew.
Mike lives in Jefferson, Md., a few miles east of the Appalachian Trail. With his wife, Jean, they raised three sons. It was inevitable PATC trails would play a large role in Trettel family lore once they became active in Cub Scouts in 1995 and later Boy Scouts in a troop with the AT in its backyard. All three sons reached Eagle Scout, completing Eagle projects focused on PATC trails. Andrew relocated a section of the Catoctin Trail near the William Houck Area in CFSP. Ben constructed and installed five campsite benches at Crampton Gap Shelter. Daniel organized carrying in hundreds of pounds of materials to install two bear poles at Rocky Run Shelter and mulch its tent pads. Though his sons aged out of scouting years ago, Mike remains active as an Assistant Scoutmaster, High Adventure Coordinator, approaching 15 years as the outdoor gear, hiking and backpacking guru.
Mike works for the US Patent and Trademark Office as a Patent Examiner specializing in beds of all types. Inventions and gadgets are both his vocation and hobby. Backpacking and troop campouts serve as Mike’s laboratory for testing the latest camping and ultralite backpacking gear he designs and constructs. Mike's trail work helps keep him in condition for backpacking outings. Among his favorites test laboratories for his inventions are Shenandoah NP, the George Washington National Forest and as often as possible, Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
PATC thanks Mike Trettel for his outstanding work on the trails in Cunningham Falls State Park.
—Submitted by Wayne Limberg
Know a PATC volunteer who goes “above and beyond?” Nominate him or her for Volunteer of the Month! Send nominations to Rick Canter at email@example.com.