BLM Recreation – Hitch 6


The better SCA BLM crew embarks with J, Nat, and Dana to continue the CDT rerouting work of the prior crew. Nat instructed the crew on the goals of the project and how to determine prevailing grades for the trail. Nat also gave J and I a few tips on trails design and a quick lesson on using TerraSync with the Trimble Juno. During the first day in the field, an estimated third of a mile of new trail was flagged and about a mile stretch of trail was surveyed; a section that was found to be better suited for the Montana side of the Divide.

August 27, 2013           

The second day of hitch began with flagging more trail. This section of trail proceeded through the open sage area the crew finished on yesterday and proceeded into a densely wooded area with many dead and downed trees. This section of the trail also took the crew through a thick aspen grove in a scree slope, making the flagging process quite tedious as we navigated our way through the myriad of small trees. Nat was still experiencing fatigue and congestion from a suspected sinus infection and decided that a doctor’s visit was warranted. That afternoon, after walking the trail we had flagged yesterday to create a line file on TerraSync, the crew ventured to Salmon to drop Nat off at the clinic. The crew now consists of just J and Dana.

August 28, 2013            

During the morning, J and Dana continued to flag a section of trail, and just as we were about to begin a new section, we got caught in a thunderstorm. We then waited out the storm in the car, one of the safest options for us in the middle of lightning on the Divide. The storm then proceeded into a hail storm followed by a thick fog that would have made driving to the next section unrealistic. Additionally, it would also be difficult for the crew to see each other if they were to go out and flag. We waited for about three hours before the storm finally receded and visibility was good enough to continue. The afternoon moved slowly, and the section that was flagged would have to be rerouted slightly to account for a steep scree bowl the trail would go through to ensure that it would be safe and enjoyable as a trail.

August 29, 2013           

The questionable section from yesterday was addressed and rerouted. It may need further attention and rerouting because the slope through the scree field is fairly significant and safety for future trail crews and recreators is priority. The crew then walked the newly flagged sections from this morning and yesterday to create a trail line file on TerraSync. Not far in, the Trimble froze and became unresponsive while collecting points to create the line file and ended up collecting 700+ points from one spot. This not surprisingly saturated the Trimble’s memory and rendered it unusable in the field unless it received some attention at the Salmon Office. The BLM crew had to call the day early because all the remaining work we wished to complete was heavily dependent on the Trimble functioning. J and Dana headed back to Moyer excited to continue the CDT reroute during the next week of hitch.

September 2, 2013           

This delightful Labor Day brought J and Dana back up to the CDT, this time accompanied by Kailee and Dain. Because the crew would not be able to get the Trimble back until Tuesday, the four SCA BLMers surveyed further areas of potential trail as well as side trails off the current CDT leading to water sources. The crew concluded their Labor Day in proper fashion, grilling burgers for dinner.

September 3, 2013           

On this Tuesday, the four-member crew parted ways in Salmon as Dain and Kailee left to do trail work at Gold Bug. With Trimble in hand, J and Dana could continue flagging trail back on the Divide. The trail flagged this day would intersect the water spur trail that was surveyed the day prior. Unfortunately, the weather of the Divide kept J and Dana from getting everything done as frequent overhead lightning drove them down the ridge to lower, safer ground. By the time the storm let up enough to get back up to the flagging of the rerouted trail, it was clear another storm was coming fast, so J and Dana hiked back to the vehicle.

September 4, 2013           

After a night of thunderstorms, the ground was thoroughly saturated with water, making flagging trail over fallen trees and scree quite slippery. The day was started surveying area around a knob with particularly spectacular views of the Lemhi Range to the west. Sections of this area, however, were steep and filled with jagged, exposed rock, warranting parts of this area of trail to cross the border to Montana. Kailee and Dain returned to the CDT to help with the reroute, proving to be incredibly helpful as the addition of a second radio allowed the crew to separate and complete work much quicker. The area surveyed that morning was flagged in the appropriate areas, then the flagged trail that remained to be walked and made into a line file on the Trimble was completed. At this point, the crew split in two, the groups alternating walking and driving through sections of the trail, saving time that would normally be spent hiking the flagged trail then hiking back to the vehicle. By the end of the day, the group had about a mile of terrain remaining to be flagged until the trail would meet up with another junction on the road. The majority of the trail that was flagged was also made into a line file. This leaves about a full days amount of work left to do in order to complete the designated section of trail to reroute.

September 5, 2013           

J and Dana headed in to Salmon to return the Trimble and cross over with the agency contact, Liz. The rest of the day was devoted to pack in at Moyer and writing the report that you are currently reading. In proper SCA BLM crew fashion- if any hindrance can come up, it will- while writing this report another thunderstorm struck, and although the crew was safe and sound in the comfort of their homes at Moyer, the compound lost power, delaying the completion of the report. And that concluded the SCA BLM hitch. For now, that is.