July 3-10: Wind Lakes Female Crew Hitch

This tour was the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation’s first ever all-female hitch. I joined crew leader Courtney Oyler and fellow interns Harper Kaufman and Emerald LaFortune in clearing 480 trees, inventorying 8 campsites, and removing and installing a sign. To top it all off, we caught a rare wildlife sighting!  

The before photograph and what we like to call Gomorrah.


Interns Harper Kaufman and Emerald LaFortune show their excitement after having cleared Gomorrah.


Probably the most exciting part of the hitch was seeing a wolverine. It was after lunch and we were walking back down the trail to do work. All of a sudden we saw a small animal dash across the trail and up a tree. At first, we thought it was a small bear cub, but we were confused when we saw its fluffy, long tail. After some speculation, we decided that it was most likely a badger. It wasn’t until we were back in Missoula that we discovered we had in fact seen a wolverine! I was able to get a photograph of the wolverine in the tree.


The all-female crew on the last day.

      — Sam Smith, Wilderness Ranger Intern