Hitch Dates 7/1/2013 – 7/11/2013
Crew Leader: Trever Walters
Members: Connor, J, Patrick, Hayley, Ruth, Kailee
By Trever Walters
For the first week we camped at the Cape Horn guard station to put some final touches on the Valley Creek trail. Though the week was not without challenges, we lived quite high on the hog. There was a nice deep spot on the creek to take a dip in after a long hot day. Meals included beef stroganoff and breakfast for dinner. There were pancakes. There were jokes (generally at Ruth’s expense).
While the last crew had an excellent lesson in big picture aspects of trail work, we were shown the fine details of water bar aprons (putting in eleven water bars with quarried and crushed granite). We gained an eye for areas where unwanted water could find itself and other fine-tuned things of that sort, improving tread for 530 feet of trail.
The next week was especially interesting. We were still on Valley Creek trail, as we could not move on to Burnt Aspen for lack of pack animals. Since we had already given painstaking attention and care to the trail, we decided to move further up it. Instead of walking in and out for 3 hours each day, we resolved to camp in a meadow an hour or so up the trail head. For many of us, this was our first time being spiked out. As one can imagine, hilarity ensued. It was a very humbling experience: putting up a bear hang in a burn area, filtering all of our water, finding the ideal latrine in a meadow and most un-lush forest—things one wouldn’t expect to require so much thought, trial, and error.
While this hitch very much solidified our water bar technique, our eye for water on the trail, and much more of the same, we were also able to think outside of the box and try a few new things. There were two springs that crossed the trail and made a wet, muddy mess of things. Each of them required a different response. In the end, everyone had a hand in building some very unique structures, gaining a new perspective and insight for future trail work.