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Another Side of Blackrock

Greater Yellowstone Field Crew 2, led by Adam and Kayla, was in the Blackrock Ranger District of the Teton Wilderness for our second time this past hitch. Our first two days were spent camping at the ranger station in a vain attempt to wait out the rain. We day hiked nearby to crosscut logs and brush back vegetation on pedestrian and stock trails with hand-saws. One crew member was suffering from laryngitis at the beginning of the hitch and was evacuated the morning that we packed out for the backcountry. We were grateful that they were able to make it safely home as the rains that were forecast to end on Friday would continue on into Monday morning.

With wet socks and damp spirits, we hiked into our campsite with packing stock in tow and proceeded to clear 305 trees from the Pacific Creek Trail and adjoining trails. Being at camp with a group of mules and a horse was both entertaining and taxing. The stock proved to be enjoyable companions when they were in more passive moods; petting them and seeing them graze in the fields eased our minds when we were tired and soaked through from a long day. Mules, sadly, also have a tendency to attempt escape and a pair of them did one night. The two mules, named Claire and Gus, escaped in the night all the way back down to the trailhead from which we came and our project partner Steve was forced to ride all the way down and retrieve them. They wore bells around their necks at all times in order to fend off any wildlife and these bells would ring into the night and through the thin walls of our tents. The more unfortunate among us would have several mules take up residence near their tents in the night and the bells were simply maddening. All in all, we were very proud of our accomplishments this hitch and are eager for our final hitch in the Tetons at the end of September.

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