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Siskiyou Mountain Club | Long live the backwoods trails


Doe Notes: the diary of a 2019 intern (PART 4/5)

Read part 3 here

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 the fourth installment of 2019 Doe Notes, Leah gains more confidence and the tone of her narrative shifts. She writes pick up lines, sees another bear, and watches her crew leader brought to tears at the Dillon Divide. You can follow Leah’s Instagram account: @leahdoeden


Day 1

For getting stung by a bee first thing in the morning in the house on my hand and being on Benadryl, today was pretty good. Shorter hike in than I was expecting. This was great because I was really getting antsy because of the last day one hike.

There was a group of people bumping music by the lake we camped at, which was honestly pretty lit. I wrote down some of the lyrics and plan on downloading a few of the songs. The water source sucked. Pretty sunset.


Day 2

Camped at a beautiful pond. This hitch has prettier scenery.

Sitting at a cool lookout rock where you can only see mountains all around you. The sun is setting. Looking to the east so there is a melting pot of pink, turning to purple, and fading into dark blue. It is sure pretty. I really love being outside with all these people. I appreciate this experience a lot.
I’ve decided I have been focusing too hard on the negatives in my journaling. Mostly because I think it provides more entertaining content.

As much as I focus on the negatives I know deep down that I truly love what I am getting to do out here every day. Hardly anyone will get to have an experience quite like this to look back on in their life.
Anyway, I find negatives pretty fun to rant and read about. But I also know that being a negative person gets really draining to you and all the people around you to some extent. Going to try and focus on positive things.

I am pretty scared of every bug, mouse, and reptile thing out here. Which is funny that I can push through this. Bears though do not scare me one bit. I would go snuggle a baby bear right in front of its mommy if it meant never seeing a snake again.

Kalani and I made up some great trail pickup lines today every time we bumped passed each other we would have a new one.

I’m most proud of, “Are you an ant? Because I’d let you invade my tent any day.” That one really hits home. I also plan on telling everyone one the last day, “Are you the junction to Devils Punchbowl? Because I’m going to miss you.”

I am really glad I decided to apply and got hired.


Day 3

Did feel a bit tired and burnt out today during work. That happens when you brush for like 10 hours. Really enjoyed Aaron’s life story.

Although he did not end up going into detail on his days as a frat boy. For being a “quiet person” he can really talk. I hope my life story is interesting one day. Water source isn’t the greatest. Liked reading about the Native American history that surrounds the Boundary Trail. So cool to think these mountains are sacred places to so many people.


Day 4

Camped under the stars at the Dillon Divide on a lot of rocks. I had one position I could sleep in where I was not on top of any annoying rocks. Crazy cool sunset with clouds filling the valley beneath us, making the sunset do some wacky things.

I love thinking about the history of these trails. Boundary trail is worth going back to. Besides the shitty water sources. We all made a pact to do a 20 year reunion hike on the Boundary Trail. Cameron might be dead by then though. We shall see.


Day 5

Started the day with Trevor crying. I cried too at his story.

We did the longest tread section of all time but it really looks great. I enjoy treading for some reason. I cannot imagine the work the people that built these trails put into it and tread lines that would go on for miles and miles. Can’t believe we are already at the halfway point. Goes by so fast when you don’t pay attention to the days and have great snacks.

Worked all the way to Harrington Lake and are camping by the lake. It is certainly and unfortunately not swimmable for me. I smell a bit bad.

The water source situations this hitch are less than ideal. It took me like 10 minutes to find the courage to filter water from the lake while 40 salamanders stared at me. I face my worst fears on this trail almost daily. Maybe I am braver than I think. It’s raining right now but I am cozy in my tent under a tree. Rain fly on. Perfectly timed rain is blissful. Excited for day 6.

Saw a little bear and ate delicious berries throughout the entire trail. What a treat.
It is raining a bit harder now.


Day 6

Today flew by due to the overcast weather. I doubled with Haleigh.
Finally got to experience chunking. Took half the day but I did not hate it at all. And damn did my axe swinging skills improve. On and off rain.

My hair is so greasy. Wet greasy. I can’t imagine the sorority girls seeing me in this state. Need a swimmable body of water ASAP. Made it to the South Kelsey Trail. Good day. Rainy but my tent is oh so dry. It is 7pm and I am going to bed. Good night.


Day 7

Brushed all the way up to Baldy Peak and past it. Good day overall. Although boots were wet and we had to camp at Bear Wallows. The worst campsite of all time, and I will stand by that. Climbing down and up that hill was not worth it at all. Had a very nice moment after work on top of Baldy.

The old fire lookout up there is way cool and there is a lot of cool old stuff around it too. Purple bear poop is pretty cute, I am glad they are enjoying the berries. I still hike up mountains reluctantly.


Day 8

Finished brushing on the South Kelsey. Tyler has some cool sandals, I laugh every time, they were from the lady’s section at Goodwill. Spent a long time on a big old log. Camped at Gunbarrel and was treated with cucumbers and cherries. Excited for the day off tomorrow.

Oops, I did it again. Fell in creek again. In front of Gabe. My ego is dented.


Day 9

Had the day off!
Slept in till 10. There was no way I was leaving my sleeping bag till there was sun touching me. Glad the hitch is almost done. Creek walked with Jack to a waterfall on Harrington Creek. Jack swore there was another waterfall. Ended up following his lead and continuing past the first one. There was no other waterfall. Just as I suspected. I am smarter. Just kidding.
Hiked with Gabe most of the way to Eight Mile Creek. Asked why he hired me. He said I was scrappy in a good way. I like that word.


Day 10

Made it again. Thought the night would never end. Rose and Sasha and I all decided to zip our sleeping bags together. It was a good idea, but my quality of sleep really declined. Also a freaking mouse chewed through my food bag. I saw the mouse in the morning. Mice are my worst fear. Cried a little.

I feel like at this point I know what’s up when it comes to backpacking, which is pretty cool. Love the dang van. 


Read Part 5 here


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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