The beginning of the hitch began with a surprise for the team. The night before going into the field they were told their current project leader would be leaving and they would be meeting their new project leader that very night. The transition went so smoothly that an outsider would not have known it took place. The first day of the hitch was spent brushing and digging out reinforced waterbars. This was just a warm up for the work yet to come. Over the proceeding eight days we covered almost five miles of the Wagner Gulch Trail. Trail that was so over grown it was nearly impassable for long stretches. Trail with tread so uneven the careless hiker might easily twist an ankle. Trail with more blow downs than I have fingers and toes.
The cross-cut was used so much this hitch we had to send it off to be sharpened. Some of the logs we were sawing through were more than three feet in diameter. Don’t start thinking that we neglected the other tools, they got a work out too. Our team used Pulaskis, McClouds and Pick-Mattocks to build ten reinforced waterbars, three check dams, and nine reverse grade dips on the steepest parts of the trail. That’s just the tip of this iceberg. We also got to work on a 50 foot re-route and in total nearly a mile of berm removal. Three miles of trail through thick ponderosa pine forest received treatment from loppers and hand saws.
Trail work isn’t the only aspect of a hitch. Weather is a big factor. On the second night of our hitch a torrential downpour, complete with thunder and lightning, hit our camp for at least an hour. It even hailed. At one point it hailed so hard that no sound could be heard other than the chunks of ice hitting the tarp over our outdoor kitchen. Other days we listened to afternoon thunder storms off in the distance, but they never came back our way.
What did come our way were swarms of mosquitoes. They were not so bad at our front country camp, but the backcountry camp was chockfull of the little buggers. No amount of bug spray kept them away. Being constantly pestered by mosquitoes didn’t break our teams’ spirit though. Everyone kept a positive attitude and worked extremely well together during the nine days of this hitch.