Hitch Report 3: 10 Oct. — 21 Oct. Rolling in the Deep

Hitch Report 3 Weeks 10 Oct. – 21 Oct. Rolling in the Deep. The first week began with James departing for Texas on a fire assignment. It was a great opportunity for him to work closely with a local fire crew and experience the incident command system found on fire assignments. Even though it was great for James, the trip was short lived as the crew was de-mobilized shortly after arriving in Texas. Monday night Mike (SCA Native Plant and Fire program coordinator) arrived in Springerville for a site visit. He arrived just in time for the start of a massive juniper thinning project. The project is intended to remove juniper trees from an area used by antelope and other wildlife during the winter months. It’s an important seasonal transition area of land. The juniper trees have taken over and restrict the line of sight of the antelope making it difficult for them to use the area. The crew was tasked with removing these bushy bushes. This project provided the opportunity for the crew to get lots of hands on the chainsaws which seemed to make everyone happy to gain the experience. Let’s see how long they like the chainsaw when it consumes most of our work for the next couple of weeks. That weekend some of the crew hit the road to Flagstaff in order to climb Mt. Humphreys, the tallest mountain in Arizona. This adventure seemed doomed from the start because of the weather. The mountain had received snow and most of the trail was covered with ice. But thanks to some above average temperatures during the week partnered with some great sun, the trail thawed out enough for some of the members to reach the summit. One of our own, Adam Bigalk celebrated a birthday on Sunday and the crew came together for some cake and ice cream and a poorly sang Happy Birthday. Adam enjoyed the surprise and everyone enjoyed some much deserved birthday cake. The second week saw the crew thinning junipers. By the end of the week the crew was ready for a break from the saw and relaxed with a much deserved weekend. Some of the members went camping while others enjoyed the World Series. The time off was well deserved after a tough week in the sun holding a saw for hours upon hours. Next week there is a possibility to start prescribed burns for our forest. Hopefully the weather cooperates with us, so keep your fingers crossed.