Hitch 3: North Zone Engineering

Hitch lead: Ben Dunphey
Member: Adam Martin

This past hitch Adam and I (Ben) were working with the Roads Crew. During the first week of hitch Gary, who we regularly work with, had the week off, so Adam and I were on our own. On Monday we were responsible for filling in potholes on several bridges and roads throughout the forest. For the rest of the week we were responsible for brushing the road towards the Big Horn Crags. Since there was a lot of driving being done and since we pretty much listened to all of the music on my MP3 player we decided to start listening to This American Life podcasts. If you are not familiar with this show, it is a program that is aired on NPR on Saturday afternoons. Each program has a theme and then there are several stories that go along with that theme. Needless to say we listened to a lot of stories for the rest of hitch.
During our second week we did a variety of work and saw some pretty astonishing things. We helped Gary and Jim (the Roads Crew boss) with some basic machinery maintenance (like changing filters and oil) and we helped shuttle vehicles to our worksite, cleaned a cattle guard, replaced a culvert and brushed a road that travels into the Frank Church Wilderness. On our drive back to Salmon one day we saw a wild fire start and spread up a ridgeline. On that day we saw a helicopter hover over the river and fill its bucket up to help with the fires. We also saw some of the large air tankers dropping fire retardant to contain the blaze. Overall the change in scenery and the variety of work made this hitch very enjoyable despite the endless hours of driving around.