Wilderness whoops, plans change

On June 22, SMC volunteers woke up at 6am to the sound of rain pattering on the textile of their tents.

"It wasn't bad in Brookings when we left for Vulcan Lake. The rain was light, and it seemed like it might let up," says Gabe Howe, the SMC's field coordinator and trail crew leader. But the forecast said different. It was calling for more than an inch of rain over the next 24 hours, and Howe and his volunteers were planning on camping at about 4000' on an exposed ridge.

"But we went to the trailhead anyway," says Howe. But from the Vulcan Lake Trailhead, an inch of rain seemed very real.  "People don't get hypothermia when it's snowing and 28 -- people get hypothermia when they're wet, it's 40 and they can't get dry," says Howe. 

The temperature was dropping and everyone was already soaked. Worried about the safety of himself and his volunteers, Howe called the trip -- well, sort of. 

Instead, volunteers slated to work between the Box Canyon Area to Taggart's Bar June 22 - 30 will hike into Carter Creek from Babyfoot Lake Trailhead on June 25 and attack the route from the other side.

"I can't look back and wonder if I always make perfect decisions" he says, "but I can always look back and know I made safe decisions."