North Fork John Day Ranger District Brendan Quirk, Project Leader SCA Conservation Corps P.O. Box 158 Ukiah, OR 97880 C: 208.631.7447 firstname.lastname@example.org May 23 - August 17, 2011
I'm pleased to say that Hitch 2 of our season in the Umatilla NF went really well. We started the morning of Monday July 21st from the North Fork John Day campground north of Granite, OR. Our goal was to log out the entire 7 mile section of trail from the NFJD campground to the Wagner Gulch campsite that we would be occupying for the backcountry protion of the hitch. In the next 2 days we cleared 13 large blowdowns, including a 30" diameter Ponderosa. The length of the tree was accross the trail and the roots had pulled out an 8' section of the tread. This was a complicated project because the bind of the tree was hard to determine. However, with adequate planning and danger assessment, coupled with some effective cross cutting, the crew was able to remove the hazard. Jarrod Ball, our former Project Leader who has since moved onto bigger and better things as Trails Director at SCA Boise, held a lesson on how to fell trees with a crosscut. Remember: "Look up, Size Up, Clean Up, Cut Up!" The crew practiced on a couple pines up off the trail with excellent results. We also brushed the trail and removed branches that were significantly effecting the trail corridor.
On the morning of the third day, we were packed into our backcountry camp by Rick, our Forest Service packer, and his pack of sturdy mules and horses. Our new goal was to clear and rehabilitate a 3 mile section of trail from Wagner Gulch to Bear Gulch Cabin. Over the next 7 days, we encountered 12 more large trees in need of removal by crosscut. This number does not include a large number of small blowdowns that were removed by hand. Two of those trees needing removal were large trail-side Ponderosas that had pulled out sections of trail when they fell. Other projects included the construction of a rock water bar to divert water off the trail, installation of a series of stone steps, installation of a rock check step, general trail tread rehabilitation, brushing, and corridor clearing.
Some readers may know about the so-called "Honeymoon Period" that some trail crews go through. This saying refers to the initial few weeks of trail season when the members are just getting to know eachother and fast friendships are made. With many crews, this era of magnanimity, patience and forgiveness, the "Honeymoon", does not last long as some people eventually find small annoyances and bothersome quirks in their crewmates' personalities or working styles. However, some crews escape this downfall entirely. I'm proud to say that I think the members of SCA Western Corps Trail Team Umatilla 1 in this 2011 trail season have manifested a bond unbreakable by the "Honeymoon Period" Curse.
Their trail work is fierce, their cooking ridiculously spicy, their senses of humor are completely without boundaries or restraint and their new age group hugs are endless, awe inspiring feats of personal space invasion. They throw their knucks out into cupcakes, snowmen, jellyfish, snails and the showstopping rocketship. They are coming to a forest near you. They are The Degenerates.