After the glorious mega corps member training in Carnation, the Umatilla 1 team (more aptly known as Umathrillas)set out for our home forest- Umatilla National Forest(North).
We spent our ﬁrst couple of days in the Pomeroy and Clarkston/Lewiston area becoming acquainted with our supply towns. The forest greeted us with a beautiful double rainbow on our ﬁrst night going in to camp(what does it mean?). After our forays into town to purchase vittles and supplies we set out for the town of Troy,OR (pop.20ish) to prep for our ﬁrst hitch.
Day 1 of our hitch consisted of loading up the mules and hiking down into the winding canyons of the Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness. After about 9 miles hiking through rain and super thick brush we ﬁnally arrived at our base camp site. Everyone was soaked but in good spirits.
The following days our team set out back towards where we hiked in, brushing out the trail all along the way. We cut a 10’x10’ corridor through what seemed like a rain forest at times. The trail hadn’t seen any brushing maintenance in several years and was hard to ﬁnd in some places. Add a little rain and it makes for a damp team.
The rain and endless gnar (N.1.super thick brush 2.general wildness)did not dampen our spirits and the sun ﬁnally came out to dry us out half way through our hitch. Also, a couple of mountain goats came to visit our team on the adjacent bluff. Our team found ourselves the rest of hitch looking to the highlands saying ‘Hey goat…where you at?!’. The gnarosis (N.1.a happy, funny state of being from being in the gnar for extended periods of time) had ﬁnally settled into our bones as we laughed our way through the days.
After 8 full days of brushing with a splash of tread work we came to the end of our ﬁrst hitch. On our pack out day our Forest Service partner Rich (a cowboy who self titles himself as Rooster Cogburn from True Grit) rode up on us playing ninja in the middle of the wilderness. It only occurred to us then how strange it might be for ‘normal’ folk to stumble upon 5 gnarosis stricken dirty people making ninja chops and calls 9 miles back in the woods. After a hardy laugh we hiked out with dreams of ice cream and wondering what the next bout of gnar would bring the Umathrillas.
By the numbers:
Trail brushed: 47,850 sq. ft.
Tread work: 400 ft
Log Out: 4
Mountain goats: 2
Fish caught: 0
Gut busting laughable moments: 5,367