Wild50 2014 Crew
Hitch 3 led the Wildcorps crew to our southernmost destinations yet—El Centro and Yuma, where we hiked throughout the Indian Pass and Picacho Peak Wilderness Areas as well as North Algodones Dunes. This was the first hitch in which we wouldn’t be swinging any tools but our feet. Our job seemed simple: hike a couple miles or more each day into a specific patch of desert to find “Guzzlers,” or manmade water tanks that collect yearly rainfall to provide drinking water for local fauna. Following some hurdles in the work plan, we were able to locate nine of the fifteen or so tanks that we set out to monitor. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Though the direction in which to walk into the arid wilderness was sometimes unclear and the sun blazed overhead as we enjoyed our after work no-pants hitch (because it’s always shorts weather in brown town, or the desert, if you will), we were lucky enough to experience glorious wildlife sightings, incredible landscapes, and the delight of Cowboy Camping almost everywhere we ventured.
While hiking to the Indian Pass Arches, we saw our first Desert Tortoise! His shell grazed my boot as I logged his position on our Trimble—it was magical. Another day, while commuting back from one of our hikes, we stopped to move another majestic Tortoise out of the road and he was so grateful. There were multiple sightings of Burro packs (including a few sweet Burritos pequeños) throughout our travels, and one lone Burro gave us all a scare by sprinting across the road in front of the rig as we drove to that day’s work site.
During this hitch WildCorps worked in the Colorado Desert, which allowed us to see different plants and land than we are used to seeing in the Mojave. We hiked on rocks, mini mountains, and sandy dunes, through canyons, next to blooming Ocotillo, Beavertail Cactus, and Desert Mallow, near the Colorado River, and by the light of a full moon. All things considered, Hitch 3 showed us that the desert is an amazing place, whether or not you know where to walk.