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Siskiyou Mountain Club | Long live the backwoods trails


Doe Notes: the diary of a 2019 intern (PART 1/5)

for the Siskiyou Hiker by Leah Doeden, 2019 Intern. Photos by Trevor Meyer

Doe Notes are a five part installation of field notes taken by 2019 intern Leah Doeden. They are unedited and include strong language. In this first installation, Leah writes about her week-long field orientation in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. You can follow Leah’s Instagram account: @leahdoeden


Day 1

Thought there would be more trees in the Kalmiopsis despite all the warnings.
Seems there is plenty of beautiful views everywhere to make up for the tree situation. I like beargrass a lot. My pack is heavy. Walking is rough. Blisters. Was not even sure if I was physically capable of carrying it.

Some guy quit already, he didn’t even try. I sorta felt like quitting, but since he quit, probably shouldn’t. Luckily made it to Chetco Pass. It’s windy. Hills don’t seem so bad if you take them step by step. Hope I am not as sore as tomorrow as I think I will be. Very dusty and dirty. Don’t bring synthetic shirts anymore, they get sour quick.

Day 2

I am as sore as I thought I would be. Today was harsh. I think I might be a yuppy. I am the only one who tried to wash their pot with soap after dinner. We hiked over three whole mountains today. Was rough, for sure counted every step. Played a game on the uphills where I would count to fifty steps then stop and collect myself. Fun game. Would love a shower but seems unlikely. I’m nasty out here already. Got bit to death by mosquitos. Little fuckers.


Day 3

First full work day. I really enjoy work. It was cool to see the progress of the trail on the way back to camp after the day. Still not sure if I will ever like hiking with such a heavy pack. Already thought up my Instagram post for when we get back to Goldhill.


My feet smell rancid, very well could get trench foot or something out here. Foot blisters are feeling better though or maybe my feet are just numb. Got A certified on the crosscut. Can’t wait to add that one to the resume. Want a shower. Saw remains of the Kalmiopsis Leachiana. Wish I could have seen it in its prime.


Day 4

Camped in a cool spot with an excellent view of Mt. Billingslea. My tent is finally on flat ground. Tomorrow we are going to crush it and make it all the way to the top of that darn mountain. Work was hard today. I feel like I am kinda bad at everything. Planning on getting better. I feel stronger and my feet don’t hurt. Made potatoes and tea for dinner. Wish I would have snapped a pic of the tea. It was my best glass of tea yet.

Doeden and her crew mates atop Mt. Billingslea

Really appreciate how the leaders aren’t condescending and just expect you to figure things out on your own. Way better than those stupid assholes that led my overnight trip for the backpacking class I had to take in college. They really thought they were all that. If I ever saw them again I would love to let them to know that I’m probably doing something harder than they will ever do in their life.


Day 5

Brushed all the way to the top of Mt. Billingslea. Feet really hurt. Cool pictures at the top and views.


Day 6

(written a day later)
That day fucking sucked. Long hike. Hurt knees. Big mountains. Rain. Fell asleep very early. Cold.


Day 7

Woke up to rain. Hardest hike ever. Blood, sweat, tears, and snot. Love the van. 


Read Part 2


Leah Doeden was a 2019 Wilderness Conservation Corps intern and 2024 Assistant Crew Leader. She’s from Silverton, OR. and a graduate of Oregon State University. 

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