From Screen to Green
The mud under his tires slowed his ride through the trails, but that didn’t phase him. The cold air nipped at his cheeks, but he kept up the pace. Hunter, 15, pedaled his bike hard through the carefully crafted trails. He exited the woods with a grin carved on his face. Parking the bike, Hunter turned to take a final look at the weaving paths behind him. This may be the last time he rides them—for now.
What many people don’t know about Hunter is his passion for bikes, ATVs and building trails. During his time at Eagle Ranch, Hunter built an entire network of riding trails behind the Grace Home. On countless days throughout the week, Hunter could be found riding on or tending to his beloved trails. However, that wasn’t always the case.
Before Hunter came to Eagle Ranch, being outdoors was a fantasy. At home, a normal day consisted of fights and arguments between Hunter, his parents and his younger sister. Tired of the fighting and wanting an escape, Hunter would retreat to his room into an
alternate reality—video games.
“There would always be yelling in my home,” said Hunter. “Fighting and arguments were normal between me and my parents. School was pretty bad. I was going every day, but I had bad grades. I was in ISS (in school suspension) all of the time and argued with my teachers.”
While at the Ranch, Hunter—like all Eagle Ranch children—spent a lot of time outside. With no cell phones or video games, the boys and girls have to find other ways to pass their free time: basketball, soccer, building forts, tennis, swimming and riding bikes.
As Hunter spent more time outdoors, he began building trails in the woods and even some jumps for the bikes. Eventually, it was all Hunter would talk about. Weeks of hard work yielded a project Hunter was proud of, and something he would always remember.
“I have learned that when you work harder, you get better results. It seems pretty obvious, but I had to put it into action to see that if was true,” said Hunter. “I’ve also learned that there are different ways to deal with things. Sometimes, it’s best to separate yourself from the situation, while other times you’ve just got to deal with it.”
Looking into the future, Hunter’s love for the outdoors continues. As he grows older, Hunter hopes to continue to build recreational trails.