Ho Ho Ho you crazies…Christmas came early for Golden Valley this hitch. Four days of scheduled trainings kept us working out of the house. Although we were terribly upset to not be camping out in the freezing cold nights, we enjoyed coming back to a warm nest everyday.
We started things off with a good ole’ kick in the pants..barbed wire fence takedown was ﬁrst on our agenda. The project took us on a 6 hour car trip to the mysterious corridor road in the southern part of Grass Valley Wilderness. An old grazing fence had been causing some problems with the land and an order for its removal had been placed. The crew managed to take down a good chunk of the barbed wire before calling it a day and heading home.
Next we headed into 3 days of chainsaw training at the BLM Fire Station with the “Owen’s Peak” crew (look em’ up). We learned all about chainsaw safety, maintenance and the right way to cut down trees. Training days were long and intensive, especially for Owens as they struggled to comprehend the information being fed to them, but in the end both crews managed to come out with some chainsaw training certiﬁcations.
The long awaited ATV training day had ﬁnally come upon us and needless to say, we were all stoked. We picked up some ATV’s from the BLM ﬁeld oﬃce and headed out to Teagle Wash. Once there, the instructors showed us the fundamentals of driving ATV’s and shared some horriﬁc stories about people dying on these grizzlies. The Golden crew was the least bit intimidated and after hours of perfecting our hill climbs and backﬂips, everyone walked away with yet another certiﬁcation.
The remainder of Hitch 5 was spent ﬂagging the Southwestern boundary of Grass Valley. A proposed fence for the area will be installed next year and it was our task to sniff out the exact location of the boundary and ﬂag it in order for the pros to make sure the ground is ready for such a project. The next 3 days were devoted to this and our favorite person, Marty Dickes, hung out with us for the ﬁrst day helping us hone in our compass and orienteering skills. The whole process pretty much involved us using GPS coordinates and marching through the desert ﬂagging bushes every 6 to 9 meters or so indicating the wilderness perimeter.
Perhaps the crew’s only weakness this hitch was fruit cake. A challenge was set up before the start of Hitch 5 and those who accepted had to eat half a loaf of fruit cake in 5 minutes or less in order to receive a prize. Everyone started off strong, but by the halfway point, the candied fruit bread proved too much for people to handle as stomachs began to turn and pain quickly set in. I won’t share with you the details of the nauseating aftermath, but let’s just say I considered calling in the the rescue choppers.
Despite some upset stomachs, the Golden Valley crew once again achieved great success this hitch. Could you possibly expect any less from the best?