Our last hitch was chock full of ups and downs, quite literally, as we entered the rugged and challenging arena of Squaw Valley for the first time. Being our first FULLY self-supported excursion of the summer, the crew had to make sure to pack as light as possible and fully consider what was necessary to survive for 5 days of work. Loaded with food, tools, and tents, we set out from the Truckee Ranger Station along with four of the Forest Service’s best and brightest to do some serious log-out.
In the Valley, we quickly established base camp and learned how to cook light on Whisperlight stoves, a first for the summer. Logging while moving with a 30+ lb pack is not the easiest feat, and some members quickly discovered that bringing more food can be quite the challenge when you have to carry it yourself! However each member was able to hold their own and persevere, even if it meant some sore shoulders and backs at the end of the day.
With the extra people on board, we were able to split the group and tackle two areas at once, which we did on the second and fourth days of work. It was a great learning experience for everyone, with the SCA members gaining new perspectives on the usefulness of rockbars, and the Forest Service guys hearing some stories about the summer we’ve had thus far. On the third day, everyone packed up camp and once again moved to a new location while logging the whole way. With less food, the trip seems easier, but the extra work can certainly wear down the body. Along the trip, the crew was able to leapfrog and clear sections of trail with some of the largest logs we’ve encountered yet.
The last day of the hitch was surely the most daunting, with a nearly 6 mile uphill towards the summit of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Loaded once again full of slightly lighter packs, but with a whole lot less stamina, the crew trudged their way bit by bit past every single switchback and mule’s ear until FINALLY reaching the peak, and what a view it was! Lake Tahoe in front of them, and the trails clear behind them, our familiar SCA members were at long last able to ride the welcoming Tram car though the historic Olympic site and on towards some much deserved burgers. Kicking ass and taking names, we were able to log out over 20 miles of trail in 5 days, an accomplishment to be proud of. Surely, this was a hitch that would go down in history.