Hitch Report #6: Kendra, Jason, Kelly and John The first and only CDT hitch! My crew was stationed near Big Whole Pass at 8,000 feet in a very nice ponderosa pine forest with lush, low, green underbrush. The area was deafeningly quiet and fairly remote, aside from a group of ATVs carrying dogs wearing goggles. It was the perfect place for Kelly to refine her skills in a manual transmission. She defiantly got the hang of it and we were all proud and a bit relieved. The trail required light maintenance, mainly brushing and short stretches of tread work. Our favorite work was clearing the snags from the path. On Saturday we volunteered to clean up the river, which entailed a VERY enjoyable float down the Salmon! We collected plenty of plastic, cans, irrigation tubes, tires, an axle from an old wooden wagon, a paddle and a dog toy. The crew enjoyed a day full of laughter, relaxation and a well-deserved day in the sun. After the float, we were invited to a BBQ at Morgan Bar and made our way after filling our water jugs and gassing up the truck. One more stop to the famous Salmon Bakery proved once again how amazingly hospitable this town is when they loaded us up with a bag of pastries. We were thrilled, full and even enjoyed a phenomenal sunset from the peak next to our campsite. Our crew spent the second half of the hitch at Corn Creek on a bridge assignment just inside the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return. The restrictions of the wilderness limit the crew from using power tools. All of our drilling, skill saw cuts and chainsaw work had to be done up the trail from the bridge site. The temperature hovered between 98 and 102 degrees and our work was laborious, thank god for the river to cool off in after the work day was over! All the heavy beams, timber, gabions and railroad ties for the new bridge had to be hauled in and all the old bridge material hauled out. Though our job resembled that of mules, the crew’s moral remained high and the project chugged along. We removed the old bridge and supporting structure and used gabion baskets as a new foundation for the replacement stringers and planks. Unfortunately, the hitch ended before we were able to see the project through to completion. All in all, this CDT hitch was upbeat, hot, fun and enjoyable thanks to the fabulous crew, beautiful surroundings and a day on the river.
October 14, 2011 •