Fires changed our course but not our objective

Trevor Fero – Nez Pierce-Clearwater Trail Crew Member

Hitch #6 – Selway #4

Bitterroot – Frank Church Wilderness

As we say goodbye to the interns, it’s time for the rest of the staff to focus on the remaining 4 hitches of the season. Because there are so many forest fires on the Nez-Pierce-Clear Water National Forest, the trail crew and I (along with Courtney, Will and Betty the dog) have been moved south to the West Fork Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest to work in the Frank Church Wilderness. While in the Frank, we were tasked with deferred maintenance on the Selway River Trail #4. The first three nights we worked out of Magruder Cabin and then base camped four and a half miles down from the trail head. All season we have been cutting and running but with new territory comes new responsibilities. Our job on the Bitterroot National Forest was to spot re-tread, brush, remove rock from the trail, and do a bit more rock work. We did spot retreading for three quarters of a mile, brushed three and one quarter miles, and did forty-five feet of rock work bringing us to a total of ten miles worked down the Selway River Trail all the way to Sweat Creek.

It was a pleasure being on hitch with Will and Courtney (and Betty the dog) because they brought new and exciting energy to the trail crew.   It is always great working with new people because there are always new things to learn.   I learned new meal options, specific ways to improve posture while digging tread all day, and how to create a rock retaining wall to improve trail stability. Good company also helps turn negative situations into positive situations… On our last day driving out of the back country our rig, (affectionately named “Deer Hunter”) broke down at the Stevensville Ranger Station causing us to arrive 3 hours later than expected to Missoula. Because we had each other as company, the wait for help from AAA seemed to fly by.  Courtney and Betty were also nice enough to give us all rides back to Missoula from Stevensville.  All in all the beautiful location and wonderful company made for an amazing hitch.