Plans Can Change

  • July 07, 2018
  • Posted by Todd Harrell

After a disappointing cancellation of a long planned trip into Spotted Bear in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a new project arose: a trip into the Payette National Forest in Idaho to spray noxious weeds. Plans can change. The Restorators, as we’ve come to call ourselves, got an early start to tackle the 8+ hour drive to our worksite at Reed Ranch Airstrip in the Krassel Ranger District. It was slow going at first. On our way down we caravanned with both rigs through the Lochsa Corridor, the Nez Perce Reservation, the town of Riggins (the self-proclaimed “Banana Belt” of Idaho), through McCall, until we got to the small town of Cascade where we took our fifth and final turn. Or so we thought.

As we headed up Warm Lake Road, we were looking for Forest Service Road #413, which was quite a bit up into a mountain pass. The winding road went up and up until we started to see the snowpack continue to increase. Right before our journey into the pass, we were met with about a foot of snow blocking the road on a dangerous stretch of road. We got out, scouted the area, had a snack to calm the nerves, and decided on turning back to McCall. Our way was closed.

On our way back down, Ryan noticed that something wasn’t quite right. The road listed on the project information sheet and the latitude and longitude given for the site didn’t match up. At the end of Warm Lake Road we turned around again; this time looking for Forest Service Road #409. We found it, took the winding road down to the airstrip and arrived at a prompt 8pm. We set up camp and had a delicious meal of beef burritos before settling into bed at the midnight hour.

The next few days were a hodgepodge of spraying and constantly going to fill up our four 15-gallon containers with water at the Krassel workstation. We did our best to streamline the process, but after meeting one of our project partner’s at the site and learning that he had an ATV that had a spray tank that could take one of our 15-gallon containers, we had to rethink what to do.

We spent our time along the perimeter in the wooded and hilly areas the ATV couldn’t get to. It was an effective project, when we didn’t have to stop because of the rain. The mornings were sunny, the afternoons were cloudy with rain showers, and the evenings were sunny. One squall that came through made it look like a bear came and tore up our camp: our tarp was ripped out of the ground and in the process knocked over our tables and stove, crushed a
cooking pot and tore the tarp.

All in all it was an experience for us to learn that things don’t always go according to plan and that we need to be able to adjust on the fly. Don’t get stuck in one mindset and be flexible when trying to meet project requirements.


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