EDITORS NOTE: Adam Taylor and Rachel Zeitler are spending the summer serving as Wilderness Rangers on the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest. They will be reporting on their adventures all summer long.
It’s been a few weeks since I set out from home for my position as a Back Country Wilderness Ranger (an AmeriCorps position) in the North Cascades. It’s been an exciting two months in fact. I started out pretty sure I would be leading an adventure tour for teenagers through California but as things work out I get to spend the summer on my own in the rugged Entiat and Sawtooth Ranges of the North Cascades.
At the beginning of June, I packed up my truck in New Jersey, picked up my girlfriend Rachel in Michigan and headed to the great state of Washington. After a brief stop in Trout Lake, Washington to visit the headquarters of the Mt. Adams Institute in order to officially enroll in AmerCorps, we headed north to the U.S. Forest Service Entiat Ranger Station. There we met the staff, got a tour of the Entiat valley, and moved into our new home, Steliko.
Steliko is a small Forest Service Compound about 10 miles up the valley from the town of Entiat. We are living in a historic two story house built by the CCC. We have a roommate Rebecca, who is incredibly friendly but is on the hotshot fire crew and has been out fighting fires most of the time we have been in the house. The remainder of the first week was an amalgam of paper work, meet & greet sessions and seminars with the rest of the Forest Service.
Our first official patrol was last weekend, Rachel and I hiked in to Myrtle Lake, set up our base camp for the weekend and spent most of the first day cleaning up and rehabbing the small campsites near the lake. After that we spent a good bit of time chatting with some friendly boy scouts who would be spending the weekend fishing and hiking in the area.
On Saturday we hiked toward Cow Creek Meadows and then to Larch Lakes in order to determine where the snow line ended, after two steep climbs and numerous switchbacks we found snow just before our final destination. On our way back to camp we cut some trees from the trail and fixed numerous drainage problems. Sunday, the last day of patrol, was spent finalizing our cleaning and rehab of the sites around Myrtle Lake. We then packed up for our hike out — incredibly the trash we hiked out made our packs heavier than they were on the way in. On the way out we also met numerous hikers who were on their way to the lake for day-hikes and even for a week-long get away with the family. I’m sure our clean-up efforts were appreciated. After a long weekend and a full week of work before that Rachel and I are taking a few days to relax and get caught up on laundry and other typical things here around the house. We also have plans to explore the area and are looking forward to drive scenic highway 20 through the North Cascades National Park.
Stay tuned for more updates as our season progresses.