Doe Notes: Read through a summer on the trail with 2019 intern Leah Doeden

for the Siskiyou Hiker
by Gabriel Howe, executive director

06 SEPTEMBER 2019 | ASHLAND, OR. — In spring 2019 we were vetting applicants to our Wilderness Conservation Corps and I ended up on the phone with Leah Doeden. What resonates now about the conversation was when she shared her side hustle.

“I sell clothes,” she said. Leah went on to share how she would scour the Goodwill for clothes she thought she could flip for a profit.

I liked Leah, but “I’m worried you’re romanticizing this experience,” I told her. I pointed her toward some blogs and videos from previous interns. I told her to really think it over. “Imagine living 10 days at a time in the dirt,” I said. “Really wrap your mind around it. Think on it. And if you’re still into it, call me back.”

A few days went by and I figured the application had gone cold. Then she called. “I’m in,” she said. And like that she was hired.

And after meeting Leah face to face, I knew she wouldn’t give up or cause drama. But I didn’t know how much Leah, who became affectionately known as “Doe” by her crew mate Kalani Aligarbes, would grow. Then she sent me her journals and I was blown away.

For one, she actually journaled every single day, forming a narrative arc. But moreover, Leah captured what it’s really like to be out there. They weren’t overly dramatic, but they were illustrative, and I fell in love with the Doe’s notes. So much that I think you should read them, too.

So I’m blogging them unedited. Be warned, there are expletives, but nothing derogatory or offensive. I’m posting them in five installments a week apart. Read through her orientation week here.