Hitch 7: Trails

Hitch Leader: Aaron Osowski
Members: John Horsfield, Chris Jackson-Jordan, Tisha Farris, Nicholas Larson, Adam Martin

Wildhorse Guard Station was once again the home base for Trails for Hitch 7, and, as per usual, the ‘70s shag carpeting and plush amenities of our trailer were the reasons for our high morale and consistent productivity. John, Chris and I were returning to work on Burnt Aspen trail this hitch, while newer members Tisha, Nick and Adam added to the fresh mix of the crew. With the untimely injury of our trails supervisor, Joe, we were to trust in our own judgment and planning in what would be seven days of constructing timber check steps and water bars as well as filling the trail with dirt.

Phil McNeal of the Challis Forest Service office, despite being swamped with various other ‘#1 priorities,’ provided us with guidance and motivation on the trail during his several visits. The average day consisted of constructing around 4-5 timber check steps and filling at least 100 feet of trail with dirt fill from nearby borrow pits. The whole purpose of the check steps, water bars, and dirt fill is to prevent water from running down the trail, which it does every spring thaw, leaving behind a ‘cupped’ trail that almost resembles a half circle. Despite the work quite literally being ‘dirty work,’ our crew found quite a great amount of satisfaction in what we had done every time we ascended and descended the hill, looking at the hundreds of feet of trail we had filled and erosion-preventing structures we had installed during our time at Burnt Aspen.

For our time off, on Saturday, Chris, Nick, Adam, and I took it upon ourselves to summit Mt. Borah, the tallest point in Idaho at roughly 12,662 ft. Setting off from the trailhead at 7:30 a.m., we found it encouraging as we were passing people who had started at 5:30 and 6:15 a.m. Chris and I reached the summit just before 10:30, while Nick and Adam arrived closely after at around 11:00. Standing above the smoke from the not-so-distant wildfire, we were given an awe-inspiring panoramic view of Idaho, which showed a unique combination of sage desert, farmland, forests, and mountains. The descent back over ‘Chicken-Out Ridge’ did not disappoint either, as Class 4 climbing greeted anyone who decided to take up Borah’s challenge.

SCA Trails will be stationed back at Wildhorse Guard Station next week, with another crew of six and John as the only returning member.