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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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Bug Bites and Turnpikes

A crew poses, proud, with the turnpike they have just built.

Rolling up to Bighorn National Forest, the sights of the lightly snow-capped mountains and miles upon miles of lodgepoles engrossed the rig as we traveled to our campsite. For this project, we had been lined out to build two turnpikes on an extremely wet part of the Battle Park Trail, a trail mainly used for stock. As we settled into camp and work life, we quickly realized, other than the stock and horse riders around us, we were not alone. Mosquitos, everywhere.

As time went on, our bodies became sorer and dotted with little red bites from our pollinator friends. In evening meeting, during conflict, Timmy proclaimed his one and only conflict was "the mosquitos infiltrating our lives!". To get to our worksite, we hiked two and a half miles in every day. Any time we stopped working or hiking meant the mosquitos resuming their harassment. The turnpikes, on the other hand, were slightly more forgiving. Tons of rock and dirt, hauled by hand, to create a more passable trail for the stock to come. While camping with the stock and horse riders, they complimented our work and said we were truly helping them. To help the community and be recognized and remembered for our work is nothing but rewarding, and all of us have hundreds of mosquito bites to prove it!

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