Major Blowout

  • July 13, 2018
  • Posted by George Curtis

Trail 312, previously worked on during the last hitch, suffered a major blowout during the off-hitch. As such, we were informed last-minute that plans had been changed to open up the trail again to stock. Despite the original plan, which had us hiking up ~8 miles with pack support to continue general trail clearance and improvement, we instead camped just past the Wind River Bridge, within sight of, but unfortunately a 7-minute walk away from, the pit toilets at the trailhead, which we used instead of a latrine.

The first few days of work were largely focused on clearing the blowout, which had obliterated approximately 30 yards of trail, burying it under several yards of boulders, tree and brush debris, and concreted sediment. Work progressed steadily, clearing out the area with non-mechanized tools, mostly picks, shovels, rock bars, and a griphoist for some of the more cyclopean rocks. This was done by our project partners from the Slate Creek Ranger Station, a highly experienced trail crew who camped with us from the second day on. Throughout the hitch, all of them proved quite ready to offer help, guidance, and on the last day, soda and s’mores (yay). After clearing the blowout, which also necessitated the construction of a rock wall, possibly the world’s largest waterbar, and plenty of elbow grease, we moved on to the next portion of the trail. This largely involved retread and building checksteps. While doing this, Nick, unfortunately, caught a finger quite literally between a rock and a hard place. Yikes! We don’t yet know if it’s broken or not, but it looked pretty gnarly the day of. Somehow, he managed to return to work the next day.

With the unfortunate exception of injuries and not being told we were car camping, the hitch seemed quite successful. Our project partners seemed quite impressed we had managed to re-do as much trail as we did (almost 3 miles), and it only rained for about ten minutes during the whole hitch. Next hitch, our team will be going to an undetermined location in the Payette National Forest to do more trail maintenance.


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