Ye Olde Hitch 4 of the Western Rift


Now gather round all, settle down and listen well to the story of the SCA Crew of 2012 who valiantly and bravely did trek the trails and cut the trees of the great Pacific Crest in the forests of old in the Valley of the Inyo National. On this most auspicious of hitches, which dear friends, if you have been keeping count, was the fourth this summer, a number of celestial events that were set in motion by the stars above and the rivers below came to fruition. Our four crew members and their fearless leader, the Little King of Stately Oklahoma, would forever alter the flow of time that carries all things to their final resting places along the vast mountain ranges.
On the first morn the five team members emerged, radiant in the morning sun, and did set out for some good trundlin’ (that’s rock tumblin’ for you folks at home who ain’t quite so trail-minded) and trundle they did for two full days down by Duck Pass Trail. But on the second day of labor, a certain foreboding hung heavy in the air, and our champions did notice its presence. For alas, about halfway through the morn, valiant Herm did swing mightily into a large rock with a hammer of sledge that did shatter and strike his knee, and the blow did knock him down. His cry of pain rang out through the trees and the damage done was great. And that was only the beginning of the troubles.
Soon after the godlike Herm had fallen and returned to the pack station, the remaining members journeyed far into the backcountry with mule support and strode along the mountaintops for 11 miles on the third day, and arrived in the place which would become known as “base camp,” and it was good. In the following 3 days spent here, the bonds of friendship would be forever forged between our lovable crew and members of the US Forest Service: Magnificent Clancy, Illustrious Jess, Noble Katie, even Fair Eric, and of course, the Wondrous canines Brave Murphy and Soft Mika. These guardians and stewards who serve the forest did instill in our reluctant and relatively ‘green’ crew the values of excellent communication, superb teamwork, and remembering to look “up, down, and all around” when encountering any new situation.
There were many trees felled that trip, and one junk rock wall was built. On the fourth day our crew encountered a mass of trees so dense and foul that Magnificent Clancy dubbed it “The S***” and it was to be cleared completely. So it was declared, and so it was to be done. In the 3 days spent with the Forest Service, our heroes cleared a full 9350 feet of trail, and made significant headway into the worst of it. Along the way, philosophy discussed, laughter was had, and dice were rolled. (Have you ever played Farkle? It is a thing of marvel.) All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable backcountry experiences our intrepid young explorers weathered thus far. Only after returning from the wild did they receive what was to be the worst shock yet: the superhuman Herm had succumbed to a tragic tear of his divine meniscus (that’s in the knee) and several months of physical therapy were required for the healing to properly commence. And so with a heavy heart the crew members bid him a fond farewell, as the sun set on his journey for the summer.
And that friends, is the tale of hitch four, filled with both joys and incredible sadness. Herm will be missed for sure, just as Melissa before him. But take heart dear readers, for the summer is not even half done, and there are sure to be just as many twists and turns in the coming weeks, with more life lessons and revelations in store. So come back often, stay awhile, and listen!