Monumental on So Many Levels

HITCH #2 BLOG POST BY - Jake Candeub –               SBFC Wilderness Ranger Intern

Our trip started at the Lick Lake Trailhead and we started clearing trail June 28th and cut out trees with axes, a crosscut saw about 6 feet long, and Silkey Saws.  Lida, AJ and I working as a two man/one woman wrecking crew, hiked uphill and made the trail passable for people and for stock.  The first night was spent at Lick Lake about four miles from where we started.  Day two took us up and over a pass near the summit of Cougar Peak and into Cougar Basin.  The view from the top of the pass was very cool and was over 8,000 feet in elevation.  It was extraordinary to see the area that we were about to hike into from the vantage point above.  We then continued on to Bear Lake and obliterated some campsites and fire rings that were within 200 feet of the lake, which was within the camping restrictions set by the Forest Service around that particular lake.

The hike out of Cougar Basin the next day was pretty tough with some trees in the trail, but we made it up and over using our strong determination.  We then followed the West Fork of Monumental creek and camped in a stand of trees for the night about 200 feet from the creek.  After we set up camp, the ominous sound of thunder, which had started a little earlier in the day, continued until a giant hailstorm started and left us laughing under our shelters at how big the hail actually was.  Each piece of hail was at least as big as a large grape.  The storm passed pretty quickly and was calm for the rest of the night, but was pretty intense there for a while.  The next few days were spent hiking way less miles and cutting out way more trees in the next section of the trail.  We camped for a few more nights and then hiked out of upper Monumental Trailhead and got picked up by Don who drove us back to Big Creek.