The Battle Against the Weather
The trail crew for this hitch included William Hough (Project Leader), Ryan Kelleher, Sara Kober, Jacob Porto, Jarred Renaud, and Brittany Weinstein. Our first week of the two week hitch was spent improving both Morse Creek and Morgan Creek trails. Morgan Creek trail is primarily used by hikers and hunters with the occasional pack animal. Morse Creek trail on the other hand is designed to be used by mainly motorcyclists and equestrians.
Despite a week of unpredictable weather conditions and work that was on a trail at a very high elevation and steep inclines, the crew was still able to complete a commendable amount of trail maintenance. We removed many downed trees and corridor over-growth throughout a two mile stretch of the Morse Creek trail. On the Morgan creek trail which climbs nearly 2,000 feet of elevation in about 2 miles, we cleared over-growth along roughly 2 miles and re-established tread along 1 mile of the trail.
The crew was very excited to complete their first week in the field and is looking forward to the trail work that they will be doing in the future.
The goal for this week was to re-build as many sections of a historic worm fence as possible. This specific fence was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is intended to divide two different sections of rangeland. The fence is remotely located about 3 miles west of what is known as Buster Lake in the Salmon Challis National Forest. The crew had the same members as it did the first week except for the fact that we were lucky enough to have Tim Carroll, the Program Manager, with us for a couple of days.
The first day consisted of clearing out the downed trees, overgrowth and other debris from around the old fence so that we could have room to work on it. In the following days some people would be working on deconstructing a couple sections of fence at a time. Meanwhile, William and Tim (who are chainsaw certified) with the help of the rest of us would be finding suitable dead trees to cut down, de-limb and then haul to the fence. We would then have to prepare the trees so that they could be used to replace the rails of the old fence that were mostly rotten and falling apart. Lastly, rails would be notched and stacked, we also installed wire to add stability where needed. This process was continued in some fashion over and over throughout the second, third, and fourth days of the project. After work on the fourth day, the crew packed up camp and hiked back to the trailhead with a mutual feeling of satisfaction after restoring over 300 feet of the historic boundary.
There was much adversity to overcome but in the end our first hitch was a great success; we had no major injuries, there are clear and measurable results of our labor, and everyone gained an abundance of priceless knowledge and field experience. We all grew as individuals but more importantly greatly expanded our capabilities as a team.