The hitch started out with our wonderful crew driving 13 miles on bumpy Indian Hill Lookout Road. While driving, we stopped to cut trees that were blocking the way and listened to our wonderful crew leader, Ian Anderson, professing his undying love for thimbleberries. After trying a few, I must admit that thimbleberries are very tasty, and I’m excited to hunt for more wild berries on my next hitch. When we finally arrived at the trailhead of Otter Creek we met the Indian Hill lookout, Larry, and his two charming dogs. Larry explained that water was hard to find on the trail and told us if we were camping at the trailhead, we would have to drive two miles back down the road to get water. Because none of the crew had ever been to Otter Creek, we unfortunately did not know water would be such a challenge to get and had no way of storing extra water at camp. Thankfully, Larry offered to provide jugs and said he would fill them for us as long as we were camping at the trailhead. The crew appreciated Larry’s generosity and enjoyed not having to worry about having water at camp after their long days at work. Water was not the only challenge the crew faced at Otter Creek. The trail runs through several burn areas, which made progress down the trail slow at times. On the third day of the hitch, part of the crew cut about 80 trees within the first mile of the trailhead. Even though the burn areas were a challenge to work though, the hiking on Otter Creek Trail was beautiful. Highline Ridge had a spectacular sunset and most of the burn areas are full of a variety of vegetation.
Thanks to our hard work, Otter Creek Trail is now open. I would encourage people to visit the area and enjoy the views and wildlife that are around. Our crew leader saw two moose and the rest of the crew either saw or heard a hummingbird every day.
— Sammy Bertelsen, Wilderness Ranger Intern | July 30, 2013
The view from the Highline Ridge