Project Leader: Jarrod Ball Project Dates: 5/23/2010 to 9/12/2010 Email: email@example.com
The shrubs and branches fall limp under the weight of fall’s first rain. The trail grows silent. No longer do the limbs of firs tumble to the ground, nor does the thimbleberry fly up from its roots. The rocks settle in the river bottom and the rain washes away every footprint. It is time for one last climb out of the fresh red canyon. The tools get packed away, more neatly than ever before. The truck’s original color is revealed under layers of dust and the remains of insects flying over the highway. The canyon is left to the snakes, the deer, and the red-tail hawks. The temporary inhabitants are off toward separate latitudes, coasts, continents.
5.25 million lops, 90 football fields of brush, 7 tools lost or destroyed, 8.5 miles of trail, 1 unforgettable summer
After brushing out the trail for most of the summer, the crew was very excited to hear that this hitch would be primarily spent building a turnpike over some very soggy areas of the trail.
Several old trees gave their lives for the cause, being de-limbed, skinned and bucked into the lengths needed. Then a quick lesson in joinery, and the turnpike began to take shape - timbers notched to fit and spiked together.
No project is complete, it seems, without hauling loads and loads of rock and dirt.... Our brand new dirt bags now are sporting many holes and clouds of dust emanate from the fabric.
Uncounted bucking cuts, three trees sacrificed, 100 feet of new turnpike
The fifth hitch started off with a bang - the crew hastened to the cabin to roll out the red carpet. Meanwhile, Jarrod and Rich rode in from Troy, Oregon with Kevin Martin, the Forest Supervisor, Kate from the Pendleton office, Larry Randall from Walla Walla Ranger District, Ron Hassel, SCA Trails Director and Sally Ferguson, SCA Partnership Representative, to show off the work.
Once everyone arrived at the cabin, it was steaks all around and an evening around the creek - campfires not being allowed due to the fire danger... It was a privilege to have everyone tour the project and leave the crew with such positive feedback on the "summer of lopping."
All good things, however, come to an end, with the special guests all leaving on Tuesday morning after a super special breakfast. Then it was back to clipping lots and lots of small branches.
Six new (horse sized) check steps grace the trail where it was very washed out, and a stone retaining wall has been rebuilt to support the trail.
6,150 feet of brushing, six check steps, 45 square feet of rock wall
1 new horseback rider (longer stirrups needed), 15 pounds of steak on the barbie, 10 pounds of potato salad down the gullet, 75 gallons of water sweat
Any four walls are quick to become a home. Those walls may only be ten feet apart, but it seems almost instantaneous that things are put in order. Within a day the seating chart is understood and hours of silence are not uncommon. The neighbors stop by regularly and make themselves at home. Those neighbors being a pack rat that can be seen leaping in and out of his crawl space above the ceiling and a hummingbird that waltzes through the door and makes himself at home in the middle of a random conversation about K.D. Lang. After awhile it seems like nothing is new, the dangers have disappeared. The snakes are gone, the hornets have thinned. Then, on some idle Wednesday, walking to work just around the next routine turn in the trail, a bear is ravaging a grove of bushes for their fruit oblivious to the presence of others. No doubt, it is a conflict quick to wake both parties from their routine.
Nearly two miles of trail brushed, three pick-mattocks broken , one new bread-maker, 212 thimbleberries eaten, one burnt loaf of spelt bread, ten dips in the creek, one mouse found in mouse trap, two junctions passed, one oblivious black bear, and 417 trips inside cabin by one hummingbird.
What Sisyphus learned long ago is still relevant today. When a rock twice your own weight is merely inches from its balance point, every bit of your strength and desire to succeed is what makes it go over the edge, but it’s difficult to recall Sisyphus dealing with hornets on both elbows and another hornet, who was fairly adventurous, that made it all the way up his pant leg.
250 square foot rock wall, 472 aphids inhaled, 24 hornet stings, 5 boxes Annie’s Mac N’ Cheese, 4 packets of Zatarain’s resulting in 1 upset stomach, and two nights in a new home: all to learn that if a tree falls in the middle of a wilderness, you may not be able to see it, but it certainly makes a sound.
250 square feet of wall
2600 feet of trail brushed
50 fingers and 50 toes, all accounted for
Snake is one of those meals that holds its character. Chicken takes on the flavor of whatever you throw on top of it. Granola can hardly be tasted, unless there is a healthy seasoning of rancid soy milk to cover it, but snake has a way of always being snake. It is tough to chew, it slides down your throat and slithers its way into every taste bud. It poises itself strongly on the tongue and holds its ground. Just like home can be found quite nice between the desert sun and the snow melt fills the stream running through the valley.
6600 feet of trail brushed
40 feet of turnpike/trail reinforcement
100 feet of new tread
Two rattlesnakes, suculently simmered in BBQ sauce
There are always a few essentials you can easily pick out of a pack. They lay between the binoculars you were too exhausted to use and the wind-up LED lantern you realized you wouldn’t need when you passed out 7:15. There are the basics, of course. The pair of work pants that could stand alone after digging the pit toilet on day one, the toilet which was not completed until day 3. There are the gloves that began gathering holes on yet another rose bush on day 4, the straw hat that began to fray and curl on day 1, and the shirt that has seen and lost a few battles with a spry can of salmon. All of which create an aura of repugnance that blasts out of the pack when it is taken off the mule’s panniers and rifled through.
However, there is one item that will never be found in that pack. Most times it gets carried in and out without anyone knowing. The only time it is ever seen is when you straightens out your back after taking down yet another hawthorn tree. It is the stare that everyone carries with them. When you let out that big breath of air, look up the trail as it curves around the bend, smile, and think “this time tomorrow, where will we be?”
6200 feet of trail brushed out
Three rock slide areas reinforced
Approx. 100 square feet of rock cribbing
Nine pounds of cheese
Ryan Hughes recently graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English and has since been unsuccessful in working his way into the business world, so he figured he might as well disappear into the backcountry. What better way to prove his worth to the business world than tackling bears and having staring contests with Big Horn Sheep?
In addition to his troubles finding a full-time position that is the least bit related to his coursework, Ryan has realized that he enjoys the fulfillment of exhaustion received only by physical labor, and thus has decided to devote himself to the natural world that has fascinated him for all of his life.
Ryan has also held a strong passion to spend time in the Pacific Northwest and is extremely excited to have the opportunity to travel to paradise and work to keep it that way. Who knows, he may never leave.
listen to what you cannot hear,
look for what cannot be seen
take the time my friends,
read between the lines
and you will find
what you did not know
you were looking for
Really what it's all about is opportunity. In this life (if you want to do something you like) there isn't time for advanced planning, you've got to pick something and do it. Don't talk about it, do it!
Nothing is guaranteed. Don't take things for granted.
Fresh free-flow, Let the thing grow
poetry-currently in an eternal love affair with RUMI's poetry, rock-climbing, swimming, baseball/softball, movies, food, animals, biking, Freestylin' ...whatever you freestyle. I value education, but more as a means of communication and really not so much as a means but just for the experience. My writing style:
"The mountains looked beautiful this morning and they did also last night as the February sunset turned them a blazing red orange across a strict line above which the white snow that lay on the high tops was twilight blue and like a shadow somewhere near the cross-over to another world." -Feb. 27, 2009 -8:34 am- Livejournal.com
Hello, my name is Natalie Horvath and I am a second year student studying wildlife science at Hocking College. Currently residing in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeastern Ohio, my love for the outdoors has expanded over the years along with my passion for the rich deciduous woods in which I have been brought up.
I don’t have a specific path in which I wish to take my career, although I forever wish to work outside doing manual labor for something that I care and believe in, whether it be in the wildlife or farming field I do not know. There are many things that interest me and take up my time, but the majority fall under vegetable gardening, biking, hiking, camping, hunting, foraging, reading, cooking, fermentation, yoga, and drinking good beer.
I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio by Dennis and Jennifer Horvath alongside my older brother, Zach. Dennis is the manager of Design Homes, while Jennifer is the director of the Dayton District Academy of Osteopathic Medicine. Zach is a French major from the Ohio State University, and is currently working out in Wyoming. I am looking forward to a summer of hard work out in the woods of Oregon/Washington, and I hope you enjoy watching our progress.
Dan just graduated from University of Michigan, and will be heading to Africa in the winter with the Peace Corps. He wants to get some experience roughing it before shipping out, as he has very little backpacking skills - and this trail corps seems to be the perfect opportunity. He recently grew a mustache for charity, but thankfully it is now shaved.
Dan also just realized he doesn't have enough to say about himself to make a 2-3 paragraph biography. But hopefully after a few years and a few awesome experiences like this summer, he'll be able to put together a much more interesting personal summary.
A native of the desert of southern Idaho, Jarrod Ball was recently transported from the land of constant sun to the slightly greener (albeit much wetter) climate of western Washington. He transitioned from watching the outside world from his office window for fourteen years, to wearing a backpack for over 200 days a year.
Since unchaining from the desk, Jarrod has tussled with tundra in Alaska, wrestled with bitterbrush in Oregon, sweat in the New Jersey woods and started avalanches in Washington. This is his third season with the Student Conservation Association, with whom he has led crews with high school students and professional trail builders.
Between backwoods stints, Jarrod returns to his home in northwestern Washington to do laundry, pet the dog and have dinner with his two teenage children and wife.
I was able to go out with the USFS folks we will be working with and see the trail. The trail is extremely overgrown, and they want the trail to be brushed out to their specifications. For us, that means a lot of time with a bow saw and loppers, trimming brush. We will then be following up with some tread work, minor changes in the location of the trail, some rock wall construction and trail reinforcement. Lots of work, but I am sure we can make the trail shine by the end of the crew.
Camp is going to start out at the Oregon/Washington state line, near the banks of Crooked Creek. Work will start downstream, where Crooked Creek joins the Wenaha River. The crew will the progress upstream, ultimately trying to finish eight to ten miles of trail over the course of the summer.
Thanks to Rich and Andy for a great introduction to the forest, and special thanks to the horses that carried the loads.