Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beargrass in the Big Creek Lakes area

Cross-cut close-up

Moving the cut piece of a 30+ inch log off the trail

The view from Packbox Pass

Portia, Craig and I on a 30+ inch tree that needs to be removed
The Big Creek hitch went really well. We busted up to the lake in just two days. There was a "crazy axe man" who had been up the trail before us and had cut out most of the downed trees. Unfortunately, he had not cut them to spec and we spent a lot of time correcting his shoddy work. The other unfortunate part of the whole situation was that I think that he was actually using a chainsaw, which is against Wilderness regulations. My speculation is that someone associated with the water rights holders and the dam got impatient and took logging out matters into their own hands. I guess that things like this happen every year and often, our schedule will get shuffled around in order to accommodate water rights holder's wishes to access the dams on lakes. I am mildly disappointed in the fact that my schedule is at the mercy of water rights holders who, for lack of a better word, blackmail us by threatening to log out the trail themselves with chainsaws if we don't get their first with cross-cuts. Is nothing sacred?!
On a brighter side, we saw two black bears! It was so fun to watch them nose around looking for grubs. We also got to cut a couple of trees that were over 30 inches in diameter. We cut the chunks at angels so that they slid off the trail really easily despite their great size and weight. Big Creek Lake was a joy to swim in, the bugs were tolerable and the view from Packbox Pass was astounding. We also got done with the job a day early so we got a nice warm shower and I got to see Mike sooner than expected.
This weekend, I resolved all my car's issues, watched Mike kick ass at softball, picked a bunch of veggies, visited my cats, saw the midnight showing of Harry Potter, tried to organize food and gear for three weeks worth of backpacking, broke my camera (in a way in which the 5 year, very expensive warranty, doesn't cover) retitled my car, dehydrated a ton of fruit and made spent grain granola bars. Mike and I went up to my Grandparent's cabin for two nights too! We went to Glacier and Tamarack Brewery as well as the Mission Mountain Winery and saw the regatta races and the cherry festival in Polson. We played with Beagle Baylea and taught her how to ride in a paddle boat and swim (sort of). And we sat out late on the dock and watched the stars, my favorite.
In the next month, I will be working and backpacking for fun with only one day in the middle that is designated as not in the woods time. Let's all hope the weather is wonderful!

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