Two hitches down, more than we’d care to consider to go. The Nez Perce Crew is starting to feel at home in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, where we will be spending the duration of our term clearing trails with our trusty crosscuts, handsaws and axes.
Our hitches thus far have been marked by stark contrasts. Humid, 90 degree, sunny weather that left us praying for rain; snow at 7000 feet and days of continuous drizzle that left us really wishing we hadn’t. Big, honkin’ trees on the trail every fifty odd feet on the first hitch, and a trail so clear on the second that anything worth cutting had us unsheathing our saws with glee. A 26 mile journey back to the front country on the first, and a slick 25 minute bush-plane flight to conclude the second.
We’d all be inclined to agree that it hasn’t all been peaches thus far, but it’s been rewarding and undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor. We’ve pushed ourselves to new limits, carrying our packs and tools up to ten miles a day, scurrying up 2000 foot climbs, and sawing through two foot diameter ponderosas. The first hitch was the first backpacking trip for most of our crew, making this past month a trial by fire of sorts. I’m happy to report that we have come out (mostly) unscathed. We’ve laid the groundwork for a summer of hard work and adventure in the grandeur of the Selway-Bitterroot, and we’re all thoroughly stoked for what’s to come.