The season wears on, the days grow shorter, and the trail never fails to call for continuous maintenance. Nearing the end of summer, Chelan Forest Service district is left with the tatters of a scorched forest from which to coax a few usable routes to appease the masses of hikers undeterred by fire. Starting back in June, as section by section of the district went up in flames, we few who were not on the front lines found our territory shrinking with each new thunderstorm. I left Lyman Lake close to a month ago, and although the fire that motivated that move never made it far in that direction, it is still burning strongly to the south. I can only imagine how the deer and marmots have been getting by in my absence, frolicking as they do, smoke or not.
This next tour will bring the reopening of the PCT in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, a much anticipated event, as there are 500 or more through hikers hoping to traipse through en route to Canada and the finale of their 2500 mile journey. After weeks of closure, cumbersome reroutes and confusion on all fronts, folks will be allowed a chance to taste some of the fine, albeit not entirely unsmoked air of Glacier Peak and its surroundings and I will be able to return for a spell to my little home. The trail opening comes none too early, as we witnessed just days ago the first snow dusting down to 6000′, a level below some passes yet to be climbed by those headed north. None too early for myself as well, for as I write this, I have less than a month left to ply my craft along the trail.
It’s hard to imagine this summer stint ending already, for in many aspects, I’ve barely begun. Just as I’ve become comfortable with the swing of the ax and the lop of the loppers, I’ll be called back to pack out my belongings and complete the never-ending paperwork that is modern employment under a branch of the national government. After honing these skills of lopping and paperwork completion though, I do say I have a chance of finding a return to this work that I have come to enjoy, if not here, then wherever there are mountains.
(Pictures of a little trail work, before and after reroute around a rootwad)