Trail Crew Leader
Battle Creek Ridge
Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest, Moose Creek District
For hitch #5 we were assigned to clear Battle Creek Ridge. Since trail #462 was closer to the Lost Horse side of the wilderness Adam had us enter in through the Twin Lakes Trail head instead of driving down to Elk Summit. This was exciting because it is very rare for us to be entering in through the Bitterroot side of the wilderness! To get to trail #462 we had to clear seven miles down trail #430 and a little over five and a half miles down trail #463. Everything went well until we got to the Cox Creek side of trail #463. The tread became very hard to follow and we lost the trail for about a mile before the junction with trail #462. We later found out that the trail was on the opposite side of Cox Creek contradicting what the map had told us (this section of trail was never cleared). Most of the hitch was spent clearing trail #463 and we never ended up making it to Battle Creek Ridge. On our final day clearing we made it about 3 miles down trail #462 before losing the trail to a large amount of overgrown brush. Time was spent looking for the trail, but we never ended up finding it or the junction with trail #432 (Battle Creek Ridge). We also were never able to find the junction with trail #491.
This section of the Selway is very beautiful but is hard to travel through. I recommend only experienced individuals travel down these trails because it can be very hard to find the trail at times. Route finding may also be required in some sections as well.
Fires- At the beginning of the hitch we were told that there was a fire around the Elbow Bend area Heading up Monument Creek and East Moose Creek just west of Battle Creek Ridge. This fire was closely monitored and luckily, we didn’t need to be evacuated. Many more small fires started in the area due to the storms that seemed to persist through the entire hitch. The Crab Fire which was also in the area continued to burn from a couple weeks prior.
Wildlife- A black wolf was spotted twice on trial #430 and #463. Once by James and a day later by myself. The wolf was acting peculiar. Howling strangely during the day and we noticed what looked like wolf diarrhea on the trail. There was a lot of speculation as to what was going on with it, but we decided the it was over our head. All in all, is was very cool seeing a black wolf.
Work Performed: We cut 227 small, 123 medium and 8 large trees from trails #463, #462 and #430. We also brushed 60 feet.