TRECs Volunteers at Afton 2022 – Photo Credit Cary Johnson


After the last volunteers departed Afton this year, I did a ‘once over’ of Afton State Park and Afton Alps, then hopped in my truck to bring the first of a couple trailers back to Hastings. I hit shuffle on one of my Spotify playlists and one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite albums, from one of my favorites artists came on. “Me and My Friends” from the Uplift Mofo Party Plan album (1987), by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can still remember buying it on cassette at Northern Lights record and head shop in Burnsville in 1989 or 1990. When that song played on Saturday, I got a huge smile on my face just like I did the day I unwrapped the cellophane and first popped it in my tape deck.

He’s as close to me as a friend can be
I’ll be standin’ by my buddy he’ll be standin’ by me
Just another half of the two headed freak
But I need him like my heart needs to beat

Back then I was ensconced in the skateboarding counterculture. It was something unique that not everyone understood, that only a small fraction of the population did, and that I loved doing with my friends. Me and my friends shared a tight bond around a shared (physical) activity that was on the fringe of everyday society and life, and it was incredible.  Sound familiar?

We get to create the events, the environment and the culture for people to engage in something that is very meaningful and deeply impactful in their lives, and our own. What could be better. I am so grateful to get to do this with you, my friends, Like the song says… I need [ you ] like my heart needs to beat. Thanks for doing this with me.


John Storkamp
Race Director
Afton Trail Run