Hitch 10 U-routes North
Hitch Leader: Stevi Swanson
The U-routes North crew worked mainly in the Rabbits Foot area; a summit area about 15 miles South of Moyer helibase. This u-routes hitch was unique in that it began with the elk hunting season in the area. Our crew stuck together in groups of at least two and wore bright colors to stand out. We were all a little concerned about bullets flying in the forest. Okay, I was concerned… I’m a worry wart. Fortunately though, there were no incidents. We had a few conversations with different people who were hunting in the area, one of which involved fair warning that there were numerous people hunting right back in the area we were about to hike to. We were grateful for the advice, and continued into the area anyway. Most of the people we talked to were friendly, although there were people who would clearly have preferred we vacate the area… immediately. They didn’t necessarily say so, but they were the ones who glared at us when we waved. We struggled a little with whether we should be as quiet as possible so we didn’t disrupt the hunting environment, or if we should make noise to let people know we were there and not to shoot us. I think we hovered somewhere in the middle.
We averaged about 10 miles of hiking per day, which adds up to 40 miles for the first half of the hitch. I’m pretty impressed by that! I would never have thought I could do it until I did. It seemed like it got colder each day. The first cold morning, we were a little underdressed. Then we got smart and dressed in layers. Hiking is tricky… when we get out of the truck, we’re in seven hundred layers and shivering. Fifteen minutes into an uphill hike, we’re peeling them all off and trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to fit them all into our daypacks. Fortunately, the day we forded Camas Creek was one of the warmer days. The guys brought sandals and towels and carried their boots across the creek. Jenna and I just plowed on through it in our boots… and got soaked. To each his own.
We saw a lot of hunting camps set up. We were impressed with the different ways people had their wall tents and camps set up, we saw a lot of impressive antlers and a few kills hanging in canvas bags.
Overall, it was a good hitch. We stayed warm and fed, and got a lot of work done.