Our Fifth and final hitch was split between two project sites. At the first site, Granite Creek, we built a turnpike across a very muddy 30' section of trail near the confluence of Granite Creek and The North Fork of the John Day River. At our second project site, Crane Creek, we brushed out the remainder of the Crane Creek trail, including the Northern branch that completes a loop between The North Fork of the John Day Campground and Crane Creek trailhead.
We began our hitch with a 3 day visit from our talented and knowledgeable Program Coordinator, Trevor Knight. Each crew in the Western Corps Trails program gets "roved" by a staff member from the Boise SCA office at some point during the season and our turn had finally arrived. He was very helpful in planning and constructing the turnpike on Granite Creek and easily fell into our post-work meal-prep and hang-out time routine. He also served up some wicked hacky-sack foot work. The turnpike project involved felling a 75' Larch, de-barking, setting the retainers, gathering and placing medium-sized rocks (this was pretty intense as our closest quarry was up nearby hill about a 5 minute walk) and filling on top of that rock base with mineral soil. We are very proud of the product of all that hard work, our first and only timber project for the season.
The second part of the hitch was devoted to brushing out the remainder of the Crane Creek trail and log-out and brushing on the North Crane Creek trail. After 4 long days of logging out trees and cutting back branches out of the trail corridor, the trail loop became fully accessible for equestrian traffic. On our final day, TJ Broom, our Forest Service contact, came out to give us all some tips on how to keep working for the Forest Service and to check out the progress on the Crane Creek Trail.
This concludes our season in the Umatilla National Forest. It was a lot of fun and we got some great work done. The Degenerates are on to various destinations and adventures. Carolyn is returning home and then will be joining the Southwest Conservation Corps in Colorado. Brian is going back to finish up his Computer Science BA in Wisconsin. Brittany is returning to school in Michigan but is considering doing more trail work in the near future. Alana is joining the Pacific Crest Trail Crew until December. Patrick will be working for the Forest Service in another SCA position out of Happy Camp, CA until November. Hope you catch them out there on the trails!
By the numbers, the hitch work totals:
Turnpike: 30 feet
Trail brushing/maintenance: 4.5 miles
Trees logged out: 30