So it’s back to Golden Valley for our second adventure in the wilderness area that is slowly becoming home. This time our journey begins at the north end of the wilderness, an area with new sights to see and miles of fence line to monitor. Our camp was nestled into some hills dotted with Joshua Trees. Everything was business as usual for the Golden Valley Crew. We started off the hitch with some trash pick-up at the northwest boundary quickly followed by some fence monitoring. We were walking along the northern boundary headed from west to east in hopes of ﬁnding that the fence was intact and there were no vehicular trespasses in the interior of Golden Valley. For the most part the fence looked great! There were some t-post clips missing from time to time and occasional staples that needed replacing but our perimeter was mostly secure. We did ﬁnd one breach into what we thought was our impenetrable wilderness but our worries were quickly subdued with some quick fence ﬁxing.
The monitoring was good exposure to the area we are protecting but we had really only seen it from the fence line. Halloween Day gave us the opportunity to explore the interior of Golden Valley. Our mission was to walk into the wilderness to see if we could ﬁnd any recent signs of illegal trespass in the area. We crossed the boundary at a step over along the northern boundary and started walking along an old vehicle incursion towards the western boundary. Our goal was laid out by Marty, our trusty companion and supervisor from the Bureau of Land Management. She wanted us to see if people were taking their vehicles into the wilderness through the western part of the boundary, an area which has no physical barrier. On our quest for trespass evidence, we found nothing, which is GREAT NEWS! We also made incredible time and decided to use the rest of the day to venture further into the Lava Mountains. Our new goal was to climb Dome Mountain, the tallest peak in the range. The cross country excursion was exhausting but extremely rewarding. The views of the surrounding areas were rather prodigious and the entire crew was able to get a feel for the land we work so hard to protect. It was a full day of exhausting hiking but by the end of the day everyone was in a fantastic mood and it’s a safe assumption to say the day certainly left a lasting impression on most of the crew.
The next day it was time to pack up camp and head to the south boundary of the wilderness, the same campsite we camped at for our ﬁrst hitch. Marty has an insider by the name of Tom who can give us all the deets on OHV activity in the wilderness because he is always hiking around in it. He said there were fresh OHV tracks running along some old routes and washes throughout the south western part of the wilderness. We had our calling, our mission was laid out. We had no other choice but to ﬁnd these tracks and terminate them.
The journey to ﬁnd these OHV tracks was not easy. Mother Nature seemed to be trying to thwart us with hurricane force winds through the nights, monsoon like rains one morning, artic temperatures, bees, and a mountain lion. She even froze our water supply, which makes it incredibly hard to mix Kool-Aid in our nalgenes. Despite the obstacles, we conquered the tracks, found where they were entering and exiting the wilderness, and noticed that the OHVers were probably scoping out the existing guzzlers (water caches) in the wilderness for hunting purposes. With this intel and our prestigious stealth and restoration skills, our crew will make this wilderness truly wild.
The food was also grand- some of the favorite dishes were burritos, pumpkin soup, green chile stew, a veggie stirfry, and pancakes one morning.
All in all Hitch 2 was a great success! We felt like Kings of the Castle atop Dome MTN. Can’t wait to be back out in the ﬁeld!
Keeping it real since 2011
The Golden Valley Crew