Nez Perce-Clearwater Trail Crew Member-Trevor Fero
From wonderful lakes, new camping locations and emotional trails, Hitch 4 was full of new experiences, hard work and lots of beauty. Day one we hiked in and camped along Cedar Creek on Trail 939. The next day we hiked to the junction where Trail 939 and 618 meet. Clearing our way down 618, we passed Maple Lake and the junction with 442. As the afternoon got longer we decided to cache our tools and hike down to our new base camp at Isaac lake. Even though Isaac lake was swampy and buggy it was still a beautiful place to camp. While staying there we also got to enjoy the company of a family of 3 moose. Staying at Isaac for 3 nights allowed us to completely clear Trail 618 to the junction with 619.
Once Trail 618 was cleared our next priority was to clear Trail 442. We left Isaac lake and the moose to camp along Trail 442 on a beautiful ledge looking over the East Moose Creek drainage. This trail was known to us as the “emotional roller-coaster trail” because of how dramatic the landscape and blowdown was. The trail began descending down a beautiful ridge line in the high alpine with minimal clearing to be done. At this point our spirits were high and we were sure we were going to clear this trail. But we were very wrong…. The farther down the trail the worse the blowdown became. Recent fire had destroyed the trail, which left us with longer hours towards the end of the hitch.
During those last couple of days on hitch we completely lost Trail 442 twice. On our last work day when we lost the trail for the second time early in the afternoon, it became clear to us that we would not be completely opening Trail 442. Feeling defeated and exhausted on our last evening, we tried to enjoy our last night on Trail 442. We then made our way into our sleeping bags earlier than usual, in preparation for our 17 mile hike out the next day.