“La Grande Dispatch, SCA trail crew.”
“Good morning. We will be in service at Cold Springs trail.”
“Dispatch copies, have a good day, 7:58.”
Well we've reached the end of yet another exciting hitch, and as always we had a great time! Our adventure of the past two weeks began when the crew decided to visit Portland during our off time. For many of us, this was a great chance to explore the city and try new experiences. Some of us stayed with friends in the city, while some tried couch surfing for the first time, and others stayed at hostels. While in the city we were able to see several sights and attractions that were unique to Portland: Voodoo Donuts, a tasty donut shop that imbued their creations with a bit of dark flair creativity, Powell's bookstore, the largest independent bookstore in North America, the international rose test gardens, which showcased over 6000 varieties of roses to the public, as well as many other fun things to do and see! Needless to say, we all had an amazing time in Portland, but by Monday we were all ready to return to the woods for our new assignment.
To our delight, we would be logging out more wilderness trails, this time at a group of trails near a site called Handy Springs. True to it's name, there was in fact a freshwater spring available to our use, which was indeed handy! The trails we worked this hitch were the Cold Springs trail, Glade Creek trail, Basin Creek trail, and Lake Creek trail, all of which were as beautiful as their names! Although they were nowhere near as strenuous as the trails from last hitch, we ended up working some longer days, the longest of which was almost a 12 hour work day! Luckily everyone is really into challenging themselves and getting stronger, and so we embrace those long days whole heartedly! We continued to use the crosscut saws to do the log out work that we all love and enjoy. We also learned to get really creative in our techniques and tool use when removing some of our problems logs. Overall, we removed over 300 logs from the trail circuit, with a daily record of 77 logs in one day!
A cool little venture that we were able to enjoy during the week was visiting Desolation look out and radio tower. While working in that part of the forest we were consistently using the Desolation radio station to get our messages across, and we often were able to glimpse the tower from afar when we were working the trails. It was a bit surreal to actually go and visit these places in person, and the view from the tower was absolutely breathtaking! Hopefully one day we’ll be able to visit some of the other towers that we use!
Of course, it wouldn't be a normal hitch for this crew without some crazy weather thrown into the mix! For the first half of our days at Handy Springs, we were hit by afternoon thunderstorms like clockwork. And while we haven't experienced any snow since hitch two, we endured some pretty fearsome hail during some of those storms! Luckily we had hard hats to protect us for the worst of it, but it was still odd to be pelted by pea sized pieces of ice in the middle of July!
Finally, to make an already awesome hitch even more awesome, we were visited by the great Trevor Knight, our SCA coordinator, for the last half of our hitch. Hanging out with Trevor was a blast, and working with him turned out to be really enlightening as he knew a lot of tips and tricks to trail work that we had never tried before. His super positive attitude and cool stories were an awesome addition to our lives! We all enjoyed having him with us and can't wait to hang out with him again at the end of our season.
Hitch 4 ended up being a challenging, and yet rejuvenating experience for us. We were so glad to be doing the work that we love and making a difference in our National Forests. We look forward to whatever challenges and fun things that the future may bring, crazy weather and all! Umakillaz out!