Hitch 9

What a diverse hitch! The first six days of the hitch were devoted to the wonders of site-effectiveness monitoring. We split up into two crews and monitored incursions that were completed by the Jawbone crew in 2004. It literally consisted of us driving to each incursion and taking a point on the Trimble. Although it was very monotonous, Matt, Emlyn, and I were fortunate enough to monitor in a very beautiful area consisting of seas of Joshua Trees and some pinion pines. The other crew was not so lucky and was in an area that had been decimated by OHV use and on one occasion had to work near power lines. Hopefully, their exposure to radiation was limited. This hitch provided us with some of the most powerful winds that we have endured this year. The climax of the wind was returning to camp one day. Just before we arrived to camp, we saw someone’s Thermarest mattress in a bush a few hundred yards from camp. We knew this was not a good sign. Once we got back to camp, we had the realization that Corinne’s tent had literally exploded as well as her personal bin leaving the camp littered with her belongings. After an hour of search and rescue, we were able to round up most of Corinne’s items, undergarments and all. The saving grace of site-effectiveness monitoring was being graced with the presence of Keith and his ranch. Keith is an 88 year old man that lives on a beautiful ranch in a pristine area of the Mojave Desert. His house was filled with hundreds of books on birds, and although he hated technology and computers, he had a flat screen television and Direct TV. Matt described Keith as a mixture of Aldo Leopold and Henry David Thoreau. We really enjoyed his company and the time on his ranch taking in the scenery of trees, birds, and the creek that ran through his property. This short blog post does not do Keith justice. The last part of our hitch involved the crew being certified to teach Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. LNT training took place in Joshua Tree National Park under the leadership of the almighty Matt Duarte. This consisted of us backpacking through Joshua Tree with each crew member presenting on an LNT principle. Since my last blog post, I have acquired all 151 Pokémon. They are my best friends in a world we must defend! Love, Jason