For hitch 5, the whole team traveled down to Naches, to do some recreation site assessments in the William O Douglas wilderness. Teams 1 and 3 did several day hiking missions, while team 2 was to stay in the backcountry for the duration of the hitch.
Susan and Amy (team 3) completed a couple of hikes around bumping lake and up swap lake trail, to lake one and lake two (as boring and uncreative as they sound, they are real lake names). They spent much time of trail looking for campsites. After a few days Amy needed to return to Leavenworth for a separate assignment, so Susan joined Levi, Nate, and Caitlin.
Levi, Caitlin, and Nate (team 1) first headed to Richmond Lake where they spent the night. Throughout the summer, when Levi came upon a lake he would often declare it his new favorite lake. Upon arriving at Richmond lake, this occurred once again (has he finally decided?). The group followed a ridge to another lake, inventoried that and hiked out. They enjoyed the great luxury of ice chests, trucks and Bananagrams that comes with car camping. Erich was taken to the airport for his flight back to Florida, since he was no longer able to hike. For the next few days they continued on their itinerary the various day hikes to small areas on the edge of the wilderness, including walking the far bank of bumping river. They spent a lot of time driving down old forest roads, waving as they passed large groups of hunters (hunting season had just begun).
Team 2 inventoried the campsites on bumping Lake Trail, down to the Pacific Crest Trail. The William O Douglas Wilderness had tons of user trails making inventory a difficult and lengthy task. We came upon many heavily impacted hunter camps (some currently occupied). It seems that people who use horses to pack in their equipment, tend to bring a lot more stuff, and have a greater impact of the land. One site was particularly bad with litter scattered all around and empty propane tanks thrown in a nearby hole. This impact was quite upsetting to see. From bumping Lake Trail they hiked up the PCT to look around a few lakes in the area. They ended up getting some amazing views of Mount Rainer in that area. Then they hiked to the Twin Sisters Lakes, and found many more campsites. This trip was cut short when the battery in the GPS died. Team 2 then hiked out and drove back to the bunkhouse, awaiting instructions from Amy Verellen on what to do next. The next day they hiked in Stuart Lake trail to inventory the sites at Horseshoe Lake. Horseshoe Lake had been attempted twice before this season, but both times the lake was still covered in snow, making it impossible to see any human impact. This time it was snow free (finally) and they were able to find 3 sites at this amazingly beautiful lake. While we were walking around the lake, we were followed by two mountain goats, the baby and the mother. We spent the night at Stuart Lake and hiked out the next day.