- July 07, 2017
- Posted by Samuel Roberts
Fort Belknap Mission Canyon Trails
Crew 8’s first week took us on a 5 hour trip up to a little town called Hays, Montana, in the Fort Belknap Reservation. Upon arrival, we met our project partner Ray, and he told us all about the land that we’d be working on. The trails that we would be working on were in the Mission Canyon; a beautiful canyon full of breathtaking views and interesting history. Doing mostly maintaining trails and trail building, all of Crew 8 had an interesting experience during the first week; including hospitality that our crew leaders said didn’t happen very often. We worked with two trailbuilders named Beau and Bob, who kept everyone entertained and high spirited throughout the work week. At the end of the week, we had dug up over 700 feet of new trail and cleaned up around 3 miles of trail. Overall, the work was a good introduction to Crew 8 in the world of MCC.
BLM Billings Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range
After a good first week, Crew 8 set up camp at the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, on the border of Wyoming and Montana. We had a new experience during week 2: working with another crew. Our job the second week was to work with our project partner Don, and to take down barbed wire fencing along the mountain range as to prevent the wild horses from injuring themselves. We set up camp 2 miles above the worksite, and had to either hike down and up each day or luckily catch a ride in Don’s ATV. While working, the main tools used were post pullers and a variety of wire cutting tools. The two crews worked together very well, getting the work done fairly early and racking up 150 posts and over 2400 feet of wire by the end of the week. Afterwards, Crew 8 ventured into the Wyoming town of Lovell, to dance and have fun one last time with the collaborating crew.
Lincoln RD Wilderness Trails
Week 3 took Crew 8 into the backcountry of Lincoln, Montana, into the Scapegoat Wilderness. We had to do many things we weren’t accustomed to doing from the prior 2 weeks; that including filling our packs with 70 pounds of gear, hiking in two miles into the camp area, and setting up camp using bear hangs, portable stoves, and many other types of backcountry gear. Crew 8 worked with Caiti, our sponsor, who worked with the US Forest Service. The work was semi similar to week 1, but instead of clearing trails, we had to build and maintain water bars along the Mainline and Heart Lake Trails. Caiti showed us how to do this, and Crew 8 did more water bars than was expected from us throughout the week. Crew 8 completed 26 water bars along the trails, Caiti was very pleased with the work we did. Towards the end of the week, crew members were feeling sluggish and sick due to the backcountry conditions and cold rain, but the week ended high spirited on account of friendly horses arriving at the weekend cabin that we had the honor of staying at.
BLM Billings Four Dances
The 4th and final week ended with a bang for Crew 8. The first day of work led us to Lynn Edwards, a volunteer site host and author, who showed us the area and prompted on what to do throughout the week. Continuing the work of Crew 10, we cleared a majority of a trail in the Four Dances Natural Area, using weed whackers, pickmatics and pulaskis. The site area that Crew 8 worked at was very near Billings; in fact, overlooking the city from the Rimrock. The work week was very hot, rising to 100 degree weather with no shade excluding the few trees in the area. And yet again, Crew 8 got further on the trail than was anticipated; clearing over 1800 feet of trail. Things that happened within the weeks was a talk with Lynn Edwards; he gave us a book that he had wrote, and talked about how sacred and wild the area we would be working in. Also, during the 4th of July, the crew got the opportunity to watch fireworks and have nice meals with even a walk in fridge to cool down in after the hot work week. Everyone was very excited and nervous to drive home after a month gone, but everyone was still enthusiastic about about their last week of work.
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