Hiking to Camas Creek Digging Retread <p>Moving Rocks for Retread in Rock Slide</p> Dig, Dig, Dig

Camas Creek #044

  • April 29, 2017
  • Posted by Aimee Posnanski

The adventure started on a Tuesday, when the crew met up for food planning, and gear and tool preparation. Our destination was Camas Creek Trail #044, right outside of the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho. That Wednesday morning, we were on our way, trailer in tow. Our first stop was the North Fork Ranger Station, to meet with the Helena Crew, and get radios and information from our sponsors. As the crew leads hashed out the details, the rest of us stood by, playing hacky sack and thinking of what the days to come held in store. The drive in from there was long and beautiful. We drove along the Salmon River, and turned off to follow Panther Creek. The canyons were something to be reveled. My eyes, thirsty for a wildlife sighting, turned burned logs into bears, rock formations into mountain goats. Being back in Idaho sparks something inside of me, like the first flame of a whisper lite stove. Like the stove, the flame burns brighter and louder the longer I’m in the wild. It gives me the chills to be among such vast beauty. But the chills could also be a result of the quick drop in temperature once the sun succumbs to the height of the mountains around our camp at Camas Creek. This hitch is different than the last in that we set up a spike camp, and are only working on a four mile stretch of trail. The muscles work, the feet work, the energy spent, all to the cost of sleeping in the wild. Not just sleeping – working, living, eating, conversing, relaxing, and decompressing in the wild. Our main goals of work this hitch are many feet of retread, a 150 foot reroute, brushing, and a massive uphill retaining wall made of rock. There was a bit of chainsaw work tossed in, to clear some pack blocks and cut back some old cuts. One tree I cut out of the trail was MASSIVE. It bowed over the trail into a scree slope. My nerves running as fast as the teeth on the chain in full rev, the cuts relieved the stress in the tree and in me. Most mornings promised not so fair weather, but as the afternoon rolled around, the sun came out to say ‘hello’, and boost our spirits. The sun baked Idaho landscape brings a smell on the breeze that I’ve never smelled anywhere else. It’s one of my favorite smells in the world. It’s the smell of baking trees, sweetly scented; the smell of the wild. But that sun can quickly give way to rain and hail, which it did many times. Most times, the rain and hail weren’t prefaced by the sun, just clouds and wind. But, no matter the weather (unless it involves lightening), the work continues. By the last day of hitch, eyes are tired, hands are tired, souls are tired. Finding silly things funny and many sounds of exasperation leaving our mouths. But on the way home, I can’t help but feel a little sad that Camas Creek Trail #044 is now in our not so distant past. We worked hard, and left a lot of time and energy there. But more happy than sad. Happy to have had that experience, to get to know my fellow Field Crew Leaders more, to work with our awesome technical adviser Harry, and gain lots of new skills and knowledge. Happy to have been in Idaho; happy to here, now.


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