Over the weekend of August 12-14, in partnership with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 6 MT BHA volunteers ventured into the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness with picks, shovels, saws and Pulaski's. Under the direction of Josh Lattin from the Pintler Ranger District the group left basecamp at upper Carpp Creek trailhead and made our way past Carpp Lake on the Hi Line Trail towards Tamarack Lake. At Mile 5, we started our work of clearing trail of loose rock and debris, digging out water bars and removing deadfall. This work makes for better and safer hiking for people and stock alike. Additionally, by controlling erosion, waterbars help to limit sedimentation of nearby streams. Working back towards the trailhead, it was hot, sweaty and dirty labor but with the guidance of Josh (who spent the first day with us), good progress was made.Lunch came with a nice break alongside a cool creek to wash off and resupply with water. There was even some Gastro Gnome hot lunch spotted. The work continued after lunch without much shade as we were in a burn section. Dinner that night was venison tacos and lots of cold water to rehydrate for the next day. There was a choice of beverages for all. As we sat around the fire that night we reflected on the work we did, told hunting and fishing stories, and made our plan for the next day.Day two started with early morning coffee and breakfast of wild huckleberry pancakes made by BHA Southwest MT chapter leader Scott Desena. It was another hot day of productive work digging water bars, placing large stones to divert water off trail, and clearing large deadfalls that were blocking the trail. The group made a goal of lunch at Carpp Lake with epic views of Warren Peak.
Our lunch break meant refueling and also a little fishing; we kept a few westslope cutthroat and foraged for King Bolete mushrooms for dinner. Back at camp while dinner was being prepared there was time to shoot bows and do a little fly fishing in the nearby creek. We sat around the campfire digesting and telling more stories of conservation, hunting and yeah, you guessed it, more fishing tales.While coffee and breakfast were being prepared on our third day, there was an early morning yoga session to stretch those sore muscles! We started our work at the trailhead and continued up the trail until noon. As we turned around and headed out we all felt good about the work we accomplished and were already planning on another project in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness.
All in all we cleared 4 miles of trail, dugout dozens of water bars and cleared a half dozen deadfalls. The AP Wilderness has been the background for so many great memories including my first archery kill, many backpacking trips into high mountain lakes fly fishing and a epic family trip with llamas into the high country. It felt so good to give back to the public lands that have given me so much.
A whole-hearted "thank you!" to our strong, sweaty and tireless volunteers, and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest for assisting on this project. If you are interested in getting your hands dirty and boots muddy you can find our stewardship efforts here. If you have a project to help wildlife and habitat you can suggest a project here.