Tough times on the trail

Does anyone watch the Amazing Race? Matt and I have watched every season. If you’ve not seen it, in every episode, as well as having to get from point A to point B, there are specific challenges the teams have to complete.

Sometimes the challenges are ridiculous. As in spend 14 hours doing the most physical, back-breaking, exhausting task possible.

Every so often, Matt and I find ourselves in a situation that could be an Amazing Race challenge.

That was the case about a month ago when Matt came up with the idea to clean up some of the deadfall on the east trail. I’ve mentioned before that our trails are a bit challenging. On the east trail, the challenge comes from downed trees, fallen branches and all kinds of brush.

Deadfall in the back woods

Matt’s done this cleanup before with his Dad. I’ve never experienced this particular version of reality TV come to life. Now that I have, I don’t think I’ll be sending in my Amazing Race audition tape any time soon. Real life is quite enough.

This particular Amazing Race challenge was to

  1. Gather the necessary equipment–trailer, chainsaw, chainsaw oil, gas, chainsaw wrench, safety equipment, wheelbarrow
  2. Take the customary local conveyance (the tractor) from point A (the house) to point B (the back field)
  3. Fill the trailer with firewood.
  4. Race to the finish line (back at the house).

The key to successfully completing an Amazing Race task is smart division of labour. So Matt went to work with his chainsaw, and I had a near death experience pushed the wheelbarrow. I don’t have a picture of this because I was busy dying. Also unlike on the Amazing Race we didn’t have a camera crew following our every move.

This hill may not look like much, but it felt incredibly steep going up (and then down the other side).

Gathering firewood in the forest

The wheelbarrow was not the ideal tool for this operation, given the rocks, mud and sticks buried in the trail. Plus we were pretty far back in the woods, so the push was loooooong. And just when you approached the end, there was the catwalk over the corduroy road at the entrance to the trail.

Pushing the wheelbarrow over the forest catwalk

Between the two of us we managed five loads of firewood and only a small section of trail. But, that worked out to a mostly full trailer, fulfilling our Amazing Race objective. Can’t you tell how thrilled I am?

Trailer loaded with firewood

At the end of an Amazing Race episode, competitors sprint to the finish mat where they are greeted by the host. If they’re first, they get a special prize.

In our case, I drove Wiley back to the house while Matt rode in the trailer. After stacking the wood, unhooking the trailer and putting the tractor away, we staggered to the house. As we were the only team on this leg, I think we came in first. However, our prize of an ATV and a small trailer that fits in the trail were missing.

So we’ll not be doing more clearing any time soon. I’m sure we’ll find another Amazing Race worthy challenge though. They seem to be fairly common around the farm.

Stay tuned for our next episode.

What’s your favourite reality TV show? Have you ever auditioned for a TV show? What Amazing Race-esque challenges do you get into at your house?

6 thoughts on “Tough times on the trail

  1. Last week the transmission went out in my vehicle. The cost to have it replaced was staggering. So we bought a used one and Steve replaced it himself on the cold concrete garage floor. I spent two nights under the vehicle with him heaving that transmission up an down, turning very tight wrenches. I thought about writing about it, but I was so frustrated and exhausted I didn’t take a single picture. The good news: Steve got it running again and we saved probably $1000. The bad news, every muscle in my body aches and I have scratches and sores on my hands!! So that was definately our Amazing Race!

    We watch a few reality shows: Deadliest Catch, Ax Men, Dual Survival and our guilty pleasure is Big Brother (so ridiculous but so fun!).

  2. I don’t watch a reality show with any regularity, but one day I did find myself watching back-to-back episodes of the Kardashians for some reason. I think I was having a stroke. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my life is nothing like that particular show.
    My dad once auditioned for “Who wants to be a Millionaire” but he didn’t make it past the first round of auditions. But he did get a nifty t shirt that he gave me, which I think I wore to the gym a few times, so that’s something.
    Around my house, its probably like Ax Men if they only used one chainsaw that breaks a lot, or maybe a (non)reality home improvement show of some sort if you disregard the edited parts and only show bloopers.

  3. What a huge endeavor! Did you push or pull the wheelbarrow up the hill? I learned last year from pushing strollers that it’s easier to turn around and pull it backwards up the hill! In fact, that’s what your picture reminded me of – some outings with my little charges that I thought I would never get home from! Just like your picture. O_O

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