A common vice seen on trial crews is chewing tobacco. At least in California, where a negative stigma continues to grow against cigarettes, I think more people on trail crews chew than smoke. Most trail workers I knew had that chew can ring embossed from inside either a shirt pocket or a hip pocket. Copenhagen seemed to be the favored brand, but Skoal seemed to be acceptable, too.
In one way, this makes sense. It’s hard to smoke cigarettes when both hands are busy laying rocks. Chew has that portability and convenience factor going for it. There are no butts to field strip and collect in your pocket when you’re done. Just spit on the ground every once in a while and you’re good to go.
I never picked up the chew habit. I never smoked, so I didn’t fight any nicotine cravings. I also figured that I had a hard enough time keeping food from dribbling into my beard. I didn’t want to try to keep chew out of it as well. Chew was never an issue for me.
Moose had chewed for a while in the past. Then she managed to break the habit. In the last few days we were at Wawona before the camp move, she had a long talk with a few of the Corpsmembers on the crew who chewed. In the end, they agreed to lay off the chew…at least for a while, just to see if they could…once we hit the backcountry.