BIG CREEK & ST. MARY'S LOOKOUT

It can be too easy sometimes to focus on work and almost forget where you are. Our first project of the hitch was to head up Big Creek. Big Creek Lake is the biggest in the Bitterroots. Our commute to work involved stopping to take our boots off to cross the dam’s spillway on the edge of the lake. Although this lengthened the time of our hike, the cool water flowing by my feet as the sun rose over the hill reminded me to enjoy our incredibly scenic location. We cut out logs so the packer could get to camp for our trips up Big Creek with the Sierra Club and American Hiking Society later this summer. Midway through our nine-mile hike I happened to look at the bottom of my boot. The sole was cracked almost in half! For our second project, Claire led four interns (myself included) and 10 volunteers on a two-day project working on the trail at Saint Mary’s Peak. The first day we all hiked up to the 9,351 ft. summit, enjoyed the stunning views, and worked down the trail, cutting out logs, brushing the trail, and cleaning 187 drains,  all in two days. In a few weeks, the lookout volunteer can be packed in along a clear trail. This was an incredible way to spend a holiday weekend; we even had a barbeque for the volunteers at the home of our incredible hosts. One of the interns, Valentin filled up on all the good food by eating four veggie burgers. I guess he was hungry.

Hitch 2 was a great success, and I would recommend taking a look at the bottom of your boots once in a while.

Carly Stinson - University of MontanaP7040086