Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association

China Ridge Trail

July 16-23, 2022

Two trail-clearing volunteers and one shuttle volunteer set up a long through-hike, starting at Pole Creek Trailhead and ending at Moss Springs Trailhead. The two trail volunteers spent a day and a half clearing the trail up to their campsite at the Sand Pass Creek crossing, and another two and a half days clearing a large patch of fire-killed deadfall. They went on to camp a couple more nights at different points along the trail while they worked their way out. They forded creeks and trekked along ridgetop trails, capturing pictures of blue skies, dramatic slopes, and flowering meadows. On day seven they switched to reconnaissance mode, counting another 490(!) downed trees yet to be done.

Meanwhile, a fourth volunteer made his way up to the Moss Springs Trailhead, and started in on that end, in a move to clear as much of the trail as possible before the other weary volunteers came through. He camped for two nights while clearing about a mile of trail, as well as a quarter mile of thick alder brush on the Lackey's Hole trail.

In total, 191 logs were removed and 15 miles of trail cleared. Copious photos were taken and notes made about the state of the trails and signage, some of which was hardly there. This beautiful stretch of country will need extra help if access is to be maintained. Thanks to the volunteers for a bold start!

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