Project Leader: Shannon Y. Waldron Project Dates: August 8,2010-May 17,2011 Email Address: email@example.com
Heeere we go!! Mario resounded in my head as we drove the dirt road out to Golden Valley Wilderness for the first time. I bet driving an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) is fun, but probably not when you easily get car sick. The drive to Golden Valley is around an hour, but it’s only thirty miles away. Once you hit wilderness area you average under ten miles an hour.
Hitch numero uno started on Wednesday the 27th where we prepped food and bought the extra supplies we would need. We made the dough for five loaves of bread and made both peanut butter AND hummus from scratch. I must say, this was my first foray into using a pressure cooker and it was pretty scary. At one point Shannon told us had we let it go much longer the pressure cooker could have blown up the house. Captain Falco and I got to know the employees of the Home Depot pretty well after running there TWICE in order to get the proper supplies necessary (and still need to make another run since the power inverter we bought isn’t working).
On the 28th we drove out to and got our first glimpse of the area we’ll be working in. I’ve got one word for you: breathtaking. Now I’m from Wisconsin and there isn’t much in the way of altitude so seeing mountains is a pretty big deal. While we are at work we camp out IN the Summit Mountain Range (right on the edge though, so not anything hardcore). Every morning we wake to the brilliant colors of the sunrise and a pot of hot water just waiting to be mixed with coffee. I have to say, it’s not a bad existence.
Over the rest of the hitch we did what we came here to do: desert restoration. We learned Fencing 101, how to build H-braces, how to pull tension in a fence, and how to do basic fence maintenance. Darren Gruetze, the program coordinator, came down and spent a night with us and showed us most of these things. The majority of our time spent during this hitch was walking the fenceline. While doing this we looked for areas that have been damaged by either nature or OHVers looking for a way into the Wilderness.
The whole IDEA of a fence is employed only because people don’t listen to signs. A fence is the last ditch effort used when nothing else works. Aesthetically it’s about as pleasing as vomit on a busy street corner. Crazy enough though, it works, at least to a point. Fencing is our main project while in Golden Valley. The first Golden Valley crew built the north fence, and soon we’ll be building the south fence.
Along with the fencing we did a little bit of “trail erasing” where we ripped up ground and tried to erase trails that had been made entering our wilderness. Normally we would employ vertical mulch but the terrain coupled with a lack of vertical mulch material led us to use rocks instead. Other miscellaneous projects we completed include building a rubble wall in a wash area to deter OHVers from driving their vehicles under the fence, adding T-posts to reinforce potential weak areas, and trail scouting to see where work needs to be done.
Overall the hitch was very successful. I feel that every day I spend in the desert makes me love it that much more. I can’t wait to get out and do it all over again!