Hitch 4: Wind, Wind, More Wind, and Jawbone!

If one word could summarize the experience of the Owens Peak Wilderness Crew in this most recent hitch, the word would be “rugged”. “Extreme” would be a close second. “Formidable” would get the bronze. Mother Nature put the crew’s mettle to the test this hitch, throwing everything their way from wind speeds reaching triple digits to temperatures ranging from pleasant 70 degree sunshine to cold. And by cold I mean teeth chattering, yes your breath is visible and your water is frozen, well into the 20’s cold. But the PB&Js perservered, of course, and laughed merrily all along the way (except for one time that wasn’t very funny which you’ll read about a few paragraphs down).

Camped in the way way back of Short Canyon, a place that is generally agreed upon within the crew as the coolest canyon for miles around, the Owens crew felt rejuvenated by their newfound, blissful solitude. Bounded only by boulders and the great blue sky, Short Canyon is a place of immense natural beauty and an excellent escape from the anxieties of modern living. The bulk of their work took place in this canyon and another lovely canyon, Sand Canyon (which is in fact a bit of a misnomer. There are many sandier places than Sand Canyon within its vicinity). These settings in and of themselves were great contributors to the crew’s morale in tough times.

Work, for the crew, varied from place to place. The PBJs finished up some masterful restoration in Sand Canyon, while simultaneously serving justice to a couple of ne’erdowells who had violated the laws of the Land (specifically land belonging to BLM, and as we all know you don’t fool with those guys. They’re tough on crime). The crew built their muscles by carrying straw bales up a tall and steep hillside, to heights that the average man may call “ridiculous”. But the Owens have proved themselves time and time again above average and that hill looked like Cinderella after Fairy Godmother got through with her; straight up beautiful.

Speaking of above average and straight up beautiful, the crew celebrated the birth anniversary of Michigan’s pride and joy, Miriam “Slow Robot” Maier, who on the 30th of November reached the divisible by 11 age of 22. At midnight under the full moon Miriam somehow became more awesome than she already was. This was made evident by her luminescent green eyes, which began to shoot lightning bolts that turned whatever they touched into awesome. This was an awesome spectacle.

The smooth joyousness that flowed throughout the first half of the hitch was abruptly disrupted, however, by a thing we have come to know as WIND. We are all familiar with wind. However, WIND (notice the capitalization) is a beast far more cunning, and terrible in its cruelty. WIND will make military surplus tents explode. WIND will take clothing and toss it any which way, not caring if it’s a favorite hat, or a last clean pair of underwear. WIND will tear kitchens to pieces and make even the bravest of humans cower in search of shelter from its wrath. Owens experienced WIND, and the examples presented above are not fictitious. Such trials did the crew endure.

After a sleepless night thanks to WIND, and after realizing that their kitchen tent, the Green Monster, had succombed to the pressures of WIND (as so many hardy tents before her had. R.I.P.) the Owens realized they needed to formulate a new plan. They set out to work, while their fearless leader Dawn “Diesel” Scheckman set off to the land outside of the canyon to seek aid. Not long had she been gone before the crew’s prayers were answered. The crew packed up the tattered remnants of their camp to escape the wrath of WIND and move into the sweet respite offered in the refuge of in the land of Jawbone.

Joining forces with the Jawboners was exactly what the Owens crew needed. Who needs sleep when companionship is present? Sharing food, laughter, labor, music and a functional kitchen tent, the crews finished off their hitches together in near connubial bliss. Together the crews lasted through bitter cold that came with the night. And in the end they rejoiced together in their triumph, the endurance of another hitch, the celebration of the diverse forces of nature, and the power of friendship!

-Clayton Buffer