This hitch in the exciting world of the Umathrillas, the season ended with unexpected tasks, a very grateful forest service, and a feast fit for kings. Our last hitch started auspiciously with good attitudes and high spirits. The first morning we awoke interested and invigorated to experience yet another chunk of the Umatilla forest. We were serenaded that morning by a cacophony of woodland creatures that set a positive tone for the next 9 days.
Our work started with an old friend, brushing. But this time we were granted the majesty of power tools. We got nice and familiar with a power brusher and hedge trimmer and we were able to fly through the gnar at unprecedented rates getting roughly 6 miles of trail maintained in 5 days. We weren’t so lucky with the sign work. The power auger we were offered turned out to be broken and we had to use a good ol’ fashion posthole digger. Nonetheless we got the sign work done with time to spare. We had far exceeded the work we were assigned and still had a few days left in our hitch. So we ended up being given to a campsite that needed a good cleaning after being out of commission for a while. We brushed, moved gnar, put in signs, cleaned fire pits, stacked logs, moved picnic tables, all sorts of fun camp site activities! The individuals in the forest service were extremely grateful and very impressed by our efficiency and focus. We even got all that work done early and moved on to giving our tools and trailer a good thorough cleaning. That day was not lacking in funk music.
There was a rather beautiful meadow not far from our campsite that Tony had found. It was wide open, high up, and you could see all the brilliance of the mountains and horizon. We spent evenings up there watching the sunset as the mountains turned a hazy blue. There was even a meteor shower one night and the meadow offered a superior vantage point.
On our last day after cleaning the tools we headed to Jubilee Lake to soak up the rays and go for a swim. The bottom of the lake was squishy. I liked it. The night proceeded spectacularly. We had plenty of foodstuffs left and we needed to use as much of it as possible. Needless to say we were by no means short on sustenance that night. The meal started with a hefty and delicious potato and squash casserole fresh from the Dutch oven that had slowly cooked over an open campfire. We also made two loaves of corn bread to supplement said casserole. Then came all the goodies made from scratch. We pulled together and picked a healthy amount of wild huckleberries and happiness ensued. We started with a strawberry cake with caramelized huckleberries on top. It was good. Then came our first pie, mostly apple with some huckleberries. It was good. Then came our second pie, mostly huckleberries with some apples. It was good. Lastly we had a nice batch of cranberry granola chewy bars. They were good. We ended the night watching the sunset. The perfect hitch-end.
by Dan Mikros
191,520 sq ft brushed
6 signs erected
18 campsites maintained