Any opportunity I have to begin my day of work at 9am or later, I go for a hike. Hiking is a meditative practice that I stumbled upon during college in Boulder, a small town nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Originally I reserved hiking as a social activity to do with friends. In my years of self-employment, I hit the trails solo. The time to pull away from my home office and unplug from technology is the space where new ideas emerge.

As often does, a lightbulb went off on the trail this morning. I had to bundle up this morning, putting on my winter coat, hat, and gloves, an infrequent necessity given the gift of the weather in Oakland. Last night’s wind had paved the way for a brisk, yet clear morning.

Halfway through an otherwise empty trail, I heard an engine creep up behind me. I pulled to the side to investigate and held steady for a ranger riding on a go-cart to pass by me. I had never encountered a ranger during all my mornings on the trail. As the ranger approached, he slowed down.

“What route did you take this morning?” he asked, catching me off guard.

I answered him with authority, listing the loop of trail names I’d taken.

“I haven’t been up to the East Ridge trail yet this morning. Did you see any down trees?”

With that added context, I realized what the ranger was doing. His job, the night after a storm, was to scope out each of the park’s 40 miles of trails. He wanted to evaluate the impact of the storm on the park’s accessibility. His morning’s discoveries would indicate the necessary action required to notify the public and clear the trails.

40 miles is a lot of trails to scope out independently. The ranger was using what was available to him (morning hikers) to make his job more efficient. His inquiry into my route and my awareness of storm damage made his job easier. It reduced the likelihood of him doing duplicative work. It expedited the timeline for gathering critical information and course correcting as needed.

He could have done it alone, but leveraging the people close to him, who are equally as invested in the health of the park is a no-brainer.

What are you doing alone? Who is close and invested in what you are doing? How can you leverage them?