Josh and Caitlin cutting one of the last logs on Tin Cup pass July 15, 2016. Josh and Caitlin cutting one of the last logs on Tin Cup pass July 15, 2016. <p>The view of Tin Cup canyon from the top of the pass, July 18, 2016.</p>

Reflections and Tin Cup Creek with the MCC RAC Crew

  • July 29, 2016
  • Posted by Tim Goessman

I’ve never felt more connected to Montana in my entire life. While hiking up Tin Cup Pass for the third time last week, I couldn’t help but think back to sitting on my couch last winter. I was a classic couch potato, cruising Craigslist for jobs, planning my next temporary position just so I could make it through the winter. I remembered some friends who did seasons with MCC years ago and I applied.

Fast forward six months later and I couldn’t be more excited about the work I’m doing and the group of people I’ve been doing it with. We’re a healthy, high performing crew and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m the only person on the crew from Montana so it’s been great to get an outsider’s perspective on the state and see the same excitement I felt when I moved to Montana in the 90s.

Our last hitch up Tin Cup Creek, was, to me, the most rewarding one yet. We saw some beautiful country and finally got to learn more advance trail maintenance techniques. We close to 100 trees out of the trail in the first couple days, clearing about eight miles of trail all the way from Curley Camp to the top of Tin Cup pass. The rest of our hitch was spent maintaining water bars, about 160 of them, from the lake to the top of the pass (a five mile stretch with 2,500 feet of elevation gain). Having two of our seven person crew gone for the majority of the hitch added the extra challenge of carrying more weight than ever before and dividing more tasks than normal.

The pass was breathtaking. Standing on the Montana-Idaho border and looking down Tin Cup creek was incredible. A photographer couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place than the eastern canyons of the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness.

Our packer’s truck broke down so we had to step up to the challenge of taking out tools for seven people on only five backs. The end was all the more rewarding after hiking out eight miles with tools and both hands and over 50 pound packs. All in all we put in over 70 miles in eight days. For now, we’re done with the heavy mileage and headed to Blodgett Canyon to build a new bridge. I’m excited to see the rock work our crew can do.


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