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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Saturday, August 17
View
Mike Murphy scales a jack (buck and rail) fence while hiking.

Mike Murphy scales a jack (buck and rail) fence while hiking.
Courtesy Bob Ashley

View
Jack fencing (also called buck and rail) stretches out into the distance.

Jack fencing (also called buck and rail) stretches out into the distance.
Courtesy Bob Ashley

Saturday, August 17. 7:00 p.m. Mullan Pass

Today was my turn to be a trekker. Actually, except for that day hike two weeks ago, I have not been with the Trek Team. It was a relatively easy day today, only 8+ miles. There were a few hills that caused my heartbeat to accelerate, but most of the hike was on gentle pine needle-covered trails in the dense lodgepole pine forest and through grassy areas higher up that Ranger Curt Cuneo called “primary grazing lands.” Grazing permits allow area ranchers to run their livestock in some areas, although the number of acres necessary to support a single head of livestock is large. Ranchers are responsible for any improvements, mostly fencing. We encountered cattle only infrequently, though it was evident that they were free to roam throughout most of the area we hiked.
I saw several examples of the “jack fence” I had looked for unsuccessfully yesterday. In fact, it was necessary to climb a fence at a corner post of the odd checkerboard land ownership pattern so that the trekkers could stay on public land.
The lodgepole pine is not highly prized, but it is still logged and sawed into 2x4s. This particular variety requires very high temperatures to open the seed, so it is called “disturbance dependent.” For example, a fire may destroy a whole stand of trees, but the heat will assure that the seeds will open. Consequently, lodgepole stands tend have trees mostly the same age. Some of the areas we walked through today have accumulated much “fuel” in the form of fallen trees.
We had lunch at Sawmill Creek, although I could see no evidence of a sawmill operation. Along Dog Creek (pronounced “crick”) ran an electric fence to keep cattle out of the water, home to the coveted cutthroat trout. Several hikers saw an elk, but it was gone before I got there. The only other wild creatures we saw were a murder of crows, several hawks, and a badger.
Tonight we are camping at Mullan Pass, another primitive site with spectacular views. Far below a train emerges from Mullan Tunnel and continues through the valley. A man and woman are camped about a half-mile away. Just before supper two people rode by on their ATVs. It’s still hard to believe that people can use these vast areas as they please. I’m gaining a much greater appreciation for public lands.
for Saturday, August 17
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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