A Dale Shewalter Memory

by Tom Coulson

Dale was very active with the Arizona Trail in the early days when he was healthy. I only got to actually build trail with him one time. It was up near the Northern Terminus in the year 2002.

Work crews were finishing up the final tread work a short distance south of the terminus and I was lucky enough to get to work along with Dale. We leap-frogged each other, winding north following the pin flags. I came upon a rock that didn’t look too big at first but mostly it was deeply embedded and the more I dug the bigger it seemed to get. I bogged down and began to wonder if we should move the alignment around this rock. Dale came up and together we began to use a rock bar on it. Finally, I said, “You know Dale, this rock has probably been here for 10,000 years.”

He smiled and said, “Yes, but today we are going to move it!”

With lots of grunts and groans we did. He was pretty strong on that rock bar. I was impressed with his confidence and his easy demeanor.

Later that same day we were working when we saw some folks coming toward us. On bicycles. Two ladies. They were “the Sheila Monsters,” towing a cart loaded with camping gear. They eventually wrote the book Mountain Biking the Arizona Trail. Dale was so happy to see them and meet them. We visited with them and decided we were lucky to get to see history being made. Dale was very positive and interested in the people using the trail.

That was another great day with the trail connecting people and places.

It was a pleasure and inspiration to get to work with Dale.