Crew 4:  Inaugural Hitch

  • August 28, 2017
  • Posted by Rick Andrews

Every MCC’er knows that nothing beats trail work.  It’s what you hoped you would be doing when you signed up for this gig.  Cutting trail, preserving Montana’s wilderness, and eating delicious camp food at the end of an honest days work (okay, palatable camp food) were the images that passed through my mind when I disembarked from my plane at the Helena airport.  And surprisingly it turns out I was not mistaken.  Especially about trail work, which is about the greatest assignment on Earth.  So when our crew was told we would not be building trail, but were instead placing waddles on a burned out hillside we were a little disappointed.

But we need not have been.  The area we were working in had been the victim of a 9000 acre fire in July that had miraculously stopped on the doorstep of the small town of Landusky.  We were assigned the task of placing waddles (25 foot long water barriers made of straw) that would help slow the water running down the hillsides and into the town now that the soil had become hydrophobic.  This would allow the water to seep into the ground instead of flooding the town.  To our joy we soon found that the job was similar to trail work in that we spent the day digging into a hillside to expose the tread beneath.  But unlike trail work we had the added pleasure of seeing the town we were working to protect every time we looked up and at some points we were literally in the townspeople’s backyards digging to protect their homes.  And if the genuine questions and heartfelt thank yous we got from them were not enough, then the “on-the-house milkshakes” certainly brought a smile on our dirty, sweat stained faces.


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