Hitch 3 – Wildlife, July 15-23
This hitch Dana and I are continuing the work done for Hitch 2: Wildlife. We’re back at the Spring Creek Campground, right next to the Salmon River for the first week, finishing off the White Bark Pine Inventory in the area. It’s such a beautiful place, and the river is a great way to cool off and wash off after a long day hiking.
Our work has us navigating to a plot and inventorying the trees in the area. We’re looking for the presence of White Bark Pine and the Clark’s Nutcracker. White Bark Pine is an excellent pioneer species, growing well after a disturbance in an area, like fire. It is outcompeted though over time by other tree species like Lodgepole Pine, especially when fire is being suppressed. The data we’re collecting will help inform the Forest Service of the state of White Bark Pine in the forest, and whether they should take any steps to help re-vegetate areas with the species.
Dana and I charged through the rest of the plots in the Spring Creek area, which was very satisfying. Our second week saw us up at the Timber Creek Campground, working near Chief Joseph Pass. The plots we did for our second week of hitch were different in that they weren’t programmed into the Garmin so we could navigate to them using a GPS unit. Instead, Dana and I used a compass and map to figure out how to get to random plots we picked ourselves. We get a heading using the compass and how many chains (increments of 66ft) there are between one plot and the next using a ruler and the map. It’s a great skill to have and was really fun to use it.
Our days were full of serendipity. Arriving back at camp to put the rain fly on our tent before an afternoon shower. Having an awesome rig on loan to us from Cindy Haggas, our Wildlife Biologist contact. Sharing a campsite with some Boy Scouts who were kind enough to share some burgers and fries with us. Finding the best huckleberry patches for some prime picking. Sharing a campsite with the SCA Timber crew and having fun with them.
Overall, it was a great hitch.
Plots completed: 56
Acres Inventoried: 303