- July 18, 2018
- Posted by Donovan de Leon
Getting word of the upcoming hitch in the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest put the hype up for purple crew as this would finally be our first backcountry experience. There was no 100% plan that it was for certain but regardless made us eager to prep for the different experience. This hitch definitely proved to be a very eventful one as we had become much closer as a crew community which allowed us to therefore up our communication with one another.
The longest part seemed to be the ride out to Idaho as that was to be an 8 hour drive including the stop to Clint and Britt’s crew to drop off a resupply that would be packed in to them. The majority of us caught as much rest as we could to be energized for the upcoming 9 days. Monday was our drive day so it mainly entailed us to meet the project partner, drop off supplies, and get camp set up. Meeting our project partner (Brad Schwartz) was a great experience as he had done MCC in Missoula as a crew leader a couple years ago making him great to work with since he knew how the flow went. Once we met up with Brad we followed him in his 4x4 Polaris down to the jobsite which was about a 2 and a half hour drive down a gravel road towards the heart of the forest. The road ended at an empty outfitters camp which is where we camped front country the first half of the hitch. The following day on Tuesday we got the complete rundown from Brad directed towards the work we would be doing which mainly consisted of brushing and a miniscule amount of tread work near the bordering wilderness boundary.
The toughest part of getting to the jobsite was hiking the 4-6 miles up the mountain which had roughly a 3,000 elevation difference which destroyed us the first day but eventually ingrained us into getting better and better the following days! Wednesday is when things were really kicked into high gear once Renee showed up for a few days and gave us a rundown on brush saw operation and maintenance. Unfortunately that was short lived as the saws proved to be useless due to a hefty amount of heavy brush that we were constantly hitting. That evening though morale was boosted as it was Mary’s 24th birthday which was celebrated by Renee making a cheesecake.
Towards the end of the week we had already covered a great deal of distance and had practically hiked out all the way to the wilderness boundary with for the most part nice weather. Once we had just about hit the boundary is when camp was decided to be moved up to a junction on the trail which cut the hike to about half the distance thus wearing us out less in terms of hiking. On Friday is when everyone opened up more as a crew during compass lesson working out any issues or problems that we may have had with one another. The rest of the hitch the crew seemed to have a much more smooth flow of communication therefore making us work together in terms of communication and a team. The last day on Monday we had finally completed the entirety of the trail that was the objective for us at the beginning of the hitch leaving everybody in high morale. Once we had hiked all our gear down to the outfitters camps, two other separate groups had shown up to camp adding another sense of comradery of people to talk to. One guy biked all the way down with his pup running beside him and two other hikers who were trekking, camped there for the night. Overall this was a great hitch with an amazing crew!
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