Spending it in Spotted Bear

  • February 01, 2019
  • Posted by Mary Satterthwaite

We drove home to Spotted Bear down the old windy East Reservoir Road. We were all excited to return to our home base and slightly nervous to camp out as colder temperatures crept up on us.  We were thus ecstatic when we found out we would be staying in the Cookhouse for the next two hitches! Never had we experienced such luxuries of waking up 5 minutes before breakfast and enjoying it in PJs or the ability to shower after working and getting covered in dirt and sawdust.  After a few days, I missed the sensation of eating my hot oatmeal on a brisk morning so I started eating outside. Something about the contrast of the cold outdoors and a hot meal makes it so much more satisfying. 

We were back to work clearing and digging fire lines with some other thinning projects mixed in.  The thinning project took part on the Spotted Bear compound and it was to fall dead trees, bucking up fallen trees into firewood, and clearing the under-story of debris big enough to be a fire hazardous.  It felt great to get a chainsaw back in our hands to clear firebreaks after out last two hitches of wheel-barrowing in Many Glacier for an ADA trail. 

Some of the other highlights from our two hitches included finding cinnamon rolls in the cookhouse freezer with the words “eat me” written on the package that we baked up for breakfast, playing Pictionary, enjoying a lovely campfire by the river, and seeing a grizzled black bear at a Spotted Bear River bridge blockading an Alaskan family on the opposite side who were just trying to enjoy an evening fishing excursion. Over our second hitch Skip, a crew leader who is now serving in disaster relief, came to spend the week with us.  It was great to have a new fun face around.  We also needed him on the night that everyone (but me because I don’t eat meat) challenged themselves to eat a total of 61 breakfast sausages during our ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ night.  Christine ate a whopping 14 sausages along with pancakes and potatoes.

On the last two days of our last hitch in Spotted Bear, we completed two sections of the fire line. Finishing the first section before lunch. The second section of the fire line was about ⅖ of a mile and required a lot of cutting/clearing and digging through thick brush, but we were determined to get it done. Skip, Chet and Matt went ahead to chainsaw and swamp while Maryssa, Noelle and I dug the fire line.  We busted it out before the 20 mile an hour winds picked up and the dead trees and snags started to creek. We then got to finish the season off by hiking up Horse Ridge where we spend most of our days in Spotted Bear, but this time we got to enjoy the view of Spotted Bear from the comfort of our new fancy Helinox camp chairs embroidered with the U.S. Forest Service emblem that we received as a thank you from the district.


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