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[Image Description: Four MCC members wade across a river. In the background, there are hillsides covered in gold from the quaking aspens, and deep green pine trees.]

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Anaconda Hitch #1

A crew wearing backpack sprayers wanders around a grassy field, working to spray invasive weeds. There are forested, snow patched hills in the background.

On our first hitch in Anaconda we climbed mountains, sprayed weeds, and admired wildlife and moose scat alike. We navigated a new area known as Muddy Gulch. We also learned how the Anaconda smelter stack (the tallest surviving masonry structure in the world) polluted the soil, waters, and vegetation over its 73 years of operation. At the peaks of the mountains we climbed there is little to no organic material in the soil due to the heavy pollution over the years. The root balls of long-dead trees were exposed as the soil slowly eroded away. Pieces of chert from the arrowheads of indigenous peoples many years ago can be readily found. Despite being heavily polluted in the past there is still an abundance of life to be found. The progress back to a healthy ecosystem is palpable. Beaver dam analogs and revegetation projects are slowly taking hold and making this area more habitable for the many creatures and plants that may call this place home.

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