by Cassidy Grady, 2016 WCC Intern

As I swung my pick for the hundredth time that day into the rocky hillside above trail 402, I was startled by shouts from my WCC crewmates. The commotion was a reaction to the rather large, rounded rock Trevor had dug up from the trail and was cradling in his arms with no safe place to put it beside the trail on the steep slope. The crew watched intently as Trevor adjusted his stance, shifted the rock backwards, then forwards, and released it over the beargrass-blanketed slope. It rolled and bounced its way toward the drainage below—the target—all the while picking up speed as our eager whoops and hollers egged it on. A final bound sent the rock soaring through the air until it crashed into the creek with a satisfying “thud.” The crowd went wild. What Wilderness

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t Trevor, Evan, and Abby enjoy the views from Limestone Pass Trailgame could be filled with so much excitement and anticipation? Look out Rio 2016, the Bob Marshall’s own WCC is training for “Alpine Bowling,” the next Olympic sport.

 

Chucking rocks off the trail wasn’t the only thing that occupied our time on the Limestone Pass trail. Tread work was the name of the game for the greater part of the work days with the occasional tasks of clearing drains and repairing rock water bars. We were fortunate enough to have Jeremy Watkins, Trails Specialist for the Seeley Lake Ranger District, pay us a visit to share his expertise and deliver some much needed propane. Jeremy educated us on the specifics of digging tread to make a flat trail at least 24 inches wide with a side slope of 45 degrees. He also emphasized the importance of leaving plenty of room for pack trains on either side of

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A Clark’s Nutcracker finds refuge in a subalpine Fir

the trail so their gear doesn’t get caught in trees. Along with tread instruction, Jeremy gave our crew a demonstration on the proper use of an axe in order to maintain its integrity and an individual’s safety. Not only did we learn that the axe has many parts named after human features—cheek, beard, eye, heel, toe—but we also received information on chopping and sharpening techniques. Overall, this educational experience was not something I will soon forget.

 

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Hildy yawns after arriving at the campsite

This hitch boasted the best bird-watching yet. The unmistakable screech of the Clark’s nutcracker reached our ears most days accompanied by numerous sightings of the seedeaters as they sought and stored their seeds for the winter months ahead. Mosquitos were in abundance around our camp area, and while we didn’t “hum” with joy at the sight of them, the hummingbirds sure did. As the number of insects became overwhelming and attracted hummingbirds to the scene, we were fortunate enough to get a closer look at the energetic little fellas from the comfort of our Crazy Creeks. We even spotted a few Western Tanagers, and a Mountain Bluebird graced us with its presence during a water break.

There were so many little things to appreciate when I look back on this hitch: huckleberry picking, a peak summit, and trail games to name a few. While these memories may fade, what I have learned from them will not. It’s all the little moments spent in the Bob that have helped me secure a sense of place and an everlasting appreciation for the natural world. It’s all the little moments that make me realize why I love the Bob.

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A New England Aster in the foreground with views of the Bob Marshall Wilderness