Program Dates: May 23, 2011 - August 17, 2011 Michael Swanberg - Project Leader 201 East Second Street P.O. Box 905 Joseph, OR 97846 Email: email@example.com Phone: 208.608.6322
August 1 - August 9, 2011
For our fifth and final hitch, my crew members and I worked on three different trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness section of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: Hurricane Creek Trail, Buck Creek Trail, and The Chief Joseph Mountain Trail. Each trail offered unique challenges that proved to be immense physical, mental, and emotional tests for the team. But in the end, with cooperation and a dedicated group effort, we were able to exceed our initial expectations and clear a substantial portion of trail.
The first part of our hitch began at Hurricane Creek Trail, one of the National Forest’s more popular trails. We started out by hiking nearly seven miles alongside Hurricane Creek until we decided to set up camp near the base of Matterhorn, the highest point in the Wallowa Mountains. The next day was spent hiking the final few miles of the trail where it eventually leads into the Lakes Basin. At this point we turned around and cleared the section of trail between the Lakes Basin and our campsite of fallen trees and debris. For our final day on Hurricane Creek Trail we hiked back to the trailhead, clearing any fallen trees obstructing the trail. And in a moment of retribution, the final tree cleared that day was the same one an SCA employee had injured himself on during a previous hitch.
For the second portion of our hitch we found ourselves at Buck Creek, located near the southwest corner of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Reports had come in that a swath of the Buck Creek Trail had been covered by an avalanche, making the trail practically impassable. Initially, we figured it would take the rest of the hitch to cut through the roughly three-hundred yards of trail covered by snow, limbs, trees, branches, and debris. In actuality, we were able to hike three miles in, set-up camp, clear the trail of over a hundred trees and an innumerable amount of branches and other debris, and hike three miles out in the span of two days.
The final days of our hitch were spent working on the Chief Joseph Trail. About three miles in was a section of trail covered by hundreds of trees and we were tasked with clearing it. The first day on the Chief Joseph Trail we covered the three miles with full gear and three days worth of food and supplies, clearing the trail as we hiked. After reaching the section of trail that required our attention we decided to look for a water source in order to find a suitable campsite. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate a water source and had to head back to our cabin near the Chief Joseph trailhead. For the next two days we hiked the three miles to the worksite and back and were still able to clear over a hundred trees from nearly two hundred yards of trail. Although we were not able to clear the entire Chief Joseph Trail due to limited time, we did manage to clear a sizeable section of the trail and we hope the next crew up on the Chief Joseph Trail will be able to finish the job.
Logs Cleared From 3 Trails: 302
Miles of Trail Logged Out: 9.5