Hitch 5: Range

Hitch leader: Joe Duszak
Member: John Horsfield

After an exciting and well deserved week-long break, it was back to the forest to get things done for America. This was my second hitch working in the rangeland, and I was joined by John, the Idaho Fish & Game wonderboy. Once again, the Range Hitch focused on identifying pasture vegetation and ground cover to establish trends in overall range health. We repeated studies conducted in 1965 and 2004 by running transect lines and identifying vegetation over a 100-pace span. John quickly established himself as the local vegetation expert, and I was beyond grateful that I got to forgo the painful 20-minute staredowns with various plants, desperately trying to figure out what the heck they are. John had this process down to a science, just like his workout routine.

Our work was focused in the pastures of Morgan Creek, a smooth 45 minute drive from Moyer, with occasional trips to Salmon to meet with our forest contact, Faith Ryan. By some stroke of luck, or maybe it was just pure awesomeness, John and I managed to complete 7 days of work in a mere 4, and leave plenty of time for the highly anticipated paperwork necessary to wrap up this hitch. To remediate any recording errors in the field, we re-wrote the majority of our field sheets, correcting spelling mistakes and filling in blanks as we went. I think I sharpened my pencil over 40 times that day… I had odd flashbacks to 3rd grade. Anyway, we finally wrapped up our work and met with Faith one last time to finalize the data. After a few minor recording changes, 2 hours fighting with an ancient scanner, and some last minute supply inventory, we headed back to Moyer after a job well done.