Project Dates: June 7 - Aug 15 Project Leader: Daniel Moffatt Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 208.484.3870
The Crew came into the second Hitch rested and relaxed from time well spent in La Grande, OR mostly. It’s the nearest town with all your off-time needs (motel, showers, food, laundry, and a movie theater). After three days, however, you’ve seen all you can see and have done all you can do in La Grande, so each member was ready to get back out into the field, a very familiar field at that.
On Monday morning, we drove the same drive on the Forest Service 52 Road, towards Granite. This time we stopped a little short of a two mile hike in and just camped at a lower access trail head, right next to out Truck and Trailer. Hence, “The Secret Life of Luxury.”
First, we started with 44 liters of potable water, so no filtering for a while, and we had plenty of food storage at our disposal and believe you me, we took full advantage of that. Pan-seared Salmon the first two nights for dinner. Eggs in the morning for breakfast. We brought the Coleman 2-burner stove which attaches to a propane tank, so no more pumping and filling fuel bottles for us, no way. Along with the stove came the oven, yes an oven that sits on top of the stove. We tried it for the first time and had Apple Cake which was delicious, and the girls made Daniel brownies for his birthday. Yeah! Okay, let’s get back to the site. We had Granit Creek all to ourselves and it was running cool and clear ever since the water level has gone down with the coming dryer weather. The Beach was the place to be after the long hot days brushing on top of the ridge or finishing the re-routes. And it wasn’t a beach at all. Piles upon piles of river rock left by the pioneers dredging techniques searching for gold in the late 1800’s. But it was our beach and it was great.
We also tried a new schedule this hitch, nine, nine hour days to give us an extra day off between hitches. So we were getting up earlier to get out of work around 4. That was real nice to have the evening to eat, read, swim, eat, slackline, and watch a movie. Yes, a movie. Remember, Luxury.
So we had a celebrities stop by and entertain us. They really appreciated the work we were doing here in the North Fork John Day Wilderness. Jim Gaffigan, Zooey Deschanel (twice), and Philip Seymour –Hoffman to name a few. We figured it a nice treat to watch an actual movie rather than just quote and talk about them all day.
OH YEAH, the work we did. I almost forgot it was work we were having so much fun. Dan Neff was our Hitch Leader and he had the crew in tip-top shape. Unfortunately we lost Jake due to health and timing. He is doing well and we wish him the best in Portland. The crew logged out a 180 year-old Ponderosa Pine that had fallen across the trail, ‘Big Benjamin’ as he was named by Chip. Big Ben measured 46 inches in diameter and is the biggest tree we’ve encountered on the trail so far. Well, biggest we’ve had to cut through. He was a 5 hour project with cross-cutting, disconnecting, chopping, moving and clean-up. With that, we finished up more tread work and completed brushing the Granite Creek Trail. This hitch we finished two re-routes of trails that had been washed out by the river or over grown and gullied out by high water. Those re-routed totaled 320 ft, and the new tread we grubbed in was over 250 ft. We brushed 5 ¼ miles over the 9 day hitch. Overall it was a great hitch with plenty of dessert.
The crew is planning on camping locally in the Eagle Caps Wilderness and then head near Portland for the Fourth of July. Celebration of Independence. America!