25 September-30 September
Lots of action here in Missouri during Hitch Three!
The crew started off by traveling northward to Steelville for the Ozark Trail Association’s MEGA Volunteer Event, in celebration of National Public Lands Day. This was a great opportunity to put in some “non-survey” time and pick up some tools. Joined by over 200 others for this fantastic occasion, the whole party worked to create 0.60 mile of newly crafted trail within the day. It was great to share the day with several SCA alumni from the area. After working on the trail, delving into some delicious barbeque, enjoying live music, and conversing around the bonfire, the crew picked up to head to the next assignment.
This next assignment had the crew deployed to the Doniphan Ranger District to survey the Victory Section of the Ozark Trail near Ellsinore, Missouri. The temperatures dropped a little as the autumn winds hovered on the horizon and the trail proved to be a bit more challenging than the past experiences. This particular area has undergone a rigorous series of prescribed burns, melting guide markers from trees and encouraging vigorous first-successional growth, combining to make an unclear route. The crew got more comfortable with the map & compass, developed a keen technique with the machete, and learned to use the glinting of a nail in a tree to guide their way. They were able to complete 16.21 miles of the Victory Trail before heading back to the bunkhouse and moving on to the next district.
Leaving Winona, the crew traveled an hour east to the Ava Ranger District where work began on the North Fork Section of the Ozark Trail. After getting settled in, the crew was able to knock out 5.31 miles of the new trail before beginning their weekend.
In total this hitch, the crew completed 21.52 miles of trail surveys, celebrated National Public Lands Days with the OTA and fellow trails enthusiasts, said goodbye to one District and their mentor Scotty, while moving to a new District under James’ kind eye.