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Crew Member Profile: David Chase

Photo of David Chase smiling during a work day

David Chase has been a part of the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew since its inception. It all started with an ad in the NY-NJ Trail Conference’s Trail Walker Quarterly Magazine titled ‘Would You Like to Split Rock? He responded by showing up at Bear Mountain, took the training, and got to work on the new section of AT trail snaking up the mountain. In the following year (2011) the Jolly Rovers were created, and David has been with us ever since. However, his path to the Rovers has some twists & turns.

Born in Washington DC, his family moved to a farm in Maryland when he was 6, where his playground included 200 acres of fields, woods, a river and pigs. During his formative years, they moved to Taiwan for 3 years and he became a bit of a water rat, surfing and skin diving in the East China Sea. By the time he was 17, he decided not to let schooling interfere with his education and off he went riding his thumb for 3 years before graduating to a motorcycle. His travels criss-crossed the county and ventured as far north as Newfoundland. His 19th birthday was atop Springer Mt., Georgia – the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. As a section hiker, he racked up 700 miles on the AT and climbed Katahdin in Maine. Living at the Grand Canyon for a year, he tramped 300 miles in its depths. Between all the traveling and hiking, he paid his way in a variety of occupations; waiter, farm hand, making tofu, pounding nails, carrying hod (mortar), but most his life he’s been a real estate agent - a career that began in Hawaii and continues today.

On the crew, he’s known for his hugs, being dirtier than anybody else, an affinity for moving rock by hand, and primal screams when the rock does exactly as it’s supposed to.

When asked what keeps him coming back to the Rovers, he responded;

“It was the desire to learn the skill and do the work we do that brought me here. But like the steps we build, it’s the foundation that keeps me here. By Giving we Receive. So, it is with the Jolly Rovers. We Give Our Time, Our Strength, Our Hearts to whichever trail is before us and by doing so we Receive just a HUGH amount of Pleasure. It comes in the form of just the plain simple Fun we share and a tribal connectedness I haven’t found anyplace else in my life.

…And 1 more thing. After the last stone is laid, the naturalization is done and we’ve packed out our tools … the trail we’ve made lies in wait for footsteps, who they will be we’ll never know. But I imagine them, couples in love, families with kids, a solo looking for quite place to meditate. Most will never think of how these stones got here and that’s OK. But a few will stop for a moment, they’ll look about and notice a hammer mark or a drill mark or a stone so perfectly fitted with so much purpose, and then they’ll hear it. Our voices and our laughter will drift up from the past and fill the woods and the joy we leave behind at every site will make them smile.”

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