Project Dates: September 28, 2010-May 17, 2011 Project Leader: Emily Frankel Email: email@example.com Phone: 760-780-8039 Address: 57087 Yucca Trail, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Field Office: Palm Springs
Report Prepared by Emily Frankel and Sam Wright
Corps Members Present: Sara Tamler, Leah Edwards, Sam Wright
10/30/10 Arrival in the Beauty Mountains at Adobe Springs, around 4 pm. Lock on gate was cut and replaced.
10/31/10 2 sites of fence repairs.
11/1/10 Met Kevin, Palm Springs contact, at Twin Lakes for Tamarisk removal and treatment. Knocked down a motorcycle jump, visible from the legal route.
11/2/10 Began fence and gate work at Twin Lakes with Chris. Dug 4 holes, leveled and erected the gate, and cemented it into place. Also leveled and cemented the horse step over. Jen Taylor came later, and helped with the fence construction and removal of old fence line.
11/3/10 Started restoration at the North OHV site. Moved rocks into place, collected mulch, decompacted, and planted two vertical mulch.
Continued fence work. Dug 7 holes with an auger and jack hammer. Leveled and cemented the metal poles.
11/4/10 Strung cable and made stress panels on one side while holes were dug, poles were leveled, and cemented on the other. Finished stringing cables and contrusting stress panels. Removed fire rings.
Continued and finished the North OHV Restoration site.
Repaired 103.82 m of fence line.
Removed 3307.16 m2 of tamarisk.
Removed 19.61 m of fenceline.
Constructed 30.63 m of fence and gate.
Removed 2 fire rings.
Removed 1 motorcycle jump
Removed 1 sign.
Installed 1 sign.
Restored 147.93 m line of sight with 9 vertical mulch and 6 m of rocks.
What up ya'll! Hello and welcome to the crew post for the first Wildcorps IX hitch, whoot woo! So we were, as the title implies, stationed in the beautiful Beauty Mountains wilderness this hitch working on everything from tamarisk removal to jackhammering holes for fence posts, pretty sweet eh. But, first came business, in the form of a BLM orientation.
Now, I am not going to say that the orientation was not fun, because it was, in a way, just that when your itching to get out in the field an office meeting room just does not cut it, no matter how many powerpoints or how much food the hosts throw at you. The orientation was, however, very informative, and we learned much about the regions we will be working in and what to expect. My personal favorite was the hydrologist, who gave us a nice little summary of the region's water usage and told us about the danger awaiting the pup-fish if something is not done to conserve water more efficiently. The archaeologist was also a blast, because she brought in some toys, in the form of lithics, for us to play with. Yes the BLM office was fun, but we all slept a little better that night knowing that the following day we would get to.
The next day was preparation day, and what a day it was. There was food to be packed, tools to be inventoried, gear to be gathered and loaded, and plenty of administrative and technological material to keep Emily busy for most of the day. It was fairly stressful, but very rewarding to see everything slowly but surely fall into place as the day went by. We slept even better that night knowing that the next day we would actually be on the move!
The drive down to Beauty Mtns was quite an experience. We set off in plenty of time, and made our way south speedily enough, but were struck by some serious ill fortune when we got close to where we would be stationed, for there was no gas for miles. (Gas? My apologies, I meant Diesel). Well, the lack of a service station sent us on an epic odyssey to the town of Anza to try and find the elusive lifeblood of our Dodge 2500 monster of a Ram. We did, finally, find the fuel we were looking for, but only after wasting a good hour or so in the truck, but once we were stocked on the diesel we were ready to hit the dirt road, which would take us to our humble abode for the next few days.
Our campsite was fantabulous. We were in a grassy field with plenty of flat area for the trailer and group tent and a sloping hill behind for our personal sleeping arrangements, tents or otherwise. There was a lone tree standing guardian near to where we set up camp, and he became quite the companion over the days. We set up camp in the near dark and were happy to escape into the warm of the ‘white tent’ (synonymous with group tent) and cook up a delicious meal or Spanish rice and Carribean black beans, a symbolic reconciliation of the old kingdom and its long lost colonies.
The following day we were up with the crack of dawn and rip roaring to get out and do some work. We spent the day playing with sharp metal and expensive GPS toys, aka doing fence work and taking data. It was a delight to be out working again and the entire crew responded to the opportunity to get their hands duty with great enthusiasms and intensity. We replaced a fair number of wires in a fence marking the wilderness boundary that some vexed user had had the decency to dice up for us. The work took the whole day, but was most rewarding and seeing it completed was quite satisfying.
The following day was tamarisk day with Kevin, the delightful BLM specialist of weeds from Minnesoooooooota. He was quite the fellow, very jolly and friendly and more than happy to follow us around with blue dyed herbicide as we went through the area chopping up the vicious invasive. We focused our attention around a small pond about a half-hour from our campsite, half-hour by dirt road, so only about two miles, and did an impressive job chopping up and neutralizing the tamarisk, aka salt cedar. By the end of the day we were tired, happy, and speckled with blue, from where we had come into contact with the blue herbicide (no worries, it is non-toxic).
The following day brought new excitement in the form of Chris, another BLM employee, who was using us to put in a gate and section of fencing to block off a pond from the road, the same pond we had rescued from tamarisk. He brought plenty of toys, aka power tools, for us to play with. My personal favourite was the electric jackhammer with which we dug holes for the fence poles. It was an experience to be holding that heavy piece of equipment and driving it slowly but surely into the solid earth, knowing that each inch you dug out was another inch of solid concrete to secure the fence we were placing. His other toy was a two-person auger, which was used for drilling the initial portion of the hole, also a blast to use. We got a fair amount done that first day, and were able to set the gate up and concrete in some posts along with it.
The next day brought a morning of restoration and afternoon through evening of fence work. Chris was unable to get out to us until mid-day, so we spent the first half of the day working on an incursion into wilderness. We collected plenty of vertical mulch and rocks, but only had time to plant a few pieces before we galloped off to continue working on the fence. It was a long afternoon, but very rewarding, including plenty of hole digging and much concrete mixing. We set seven or eight posts through which we were to string the cable that made up the fence. The jackhammer ran almost non-stop from midday till five, and we were right there along with it. It was tough going, and we did not start heading home until past sunset, but though tired, everyone was quite satisfied with what we had accomplished and were ready for the coming day. The final day was a race to the finish for the fence. We had to finish setting posts, pour concrete, and string cable through it all. And once again the Wildcorp crew stepped up to the plate and smashed the ball miles out of the park. By the time we left that day, not only was the gate set, the cable strung out on either side, but also the restoration we had left off the day before was complete and we removed two fire-rings, never to be seen again. It was another full, but rewarding day, and we all went back to our humble campsite tired but happy and ready for the break to come.
Post-hitch day went so smoothly I am still not sure if it was a dream. We were packed and ready to leave by eight and home before mid-day (no diesel detour this drive). While Emily and Sara tackled the stacks of dishes to be cleaned and piles of food to be sort, Sam cleaned and inventoried tools and gear, and Leah ran all over Yucca in the truck, doing everything from refilling propane tanks to emptying out the sump toilette. (Funny story about that toilette. So Sam (aka me) and Leah went to dump it at the campground in Joshua tree and, it turns out, were not sufficiently equipped to do so, for we were missing a hose attachment. The result was fairly graphic and I will spare the details, but the point being, bring hoses to dump excrement with or things can get pretty messy pretty fast!)
After the long days of hitch and the final epic clean up the gang felt like giving itself a little treat. We decided that the time had come to finally visit the notorious Harriett and Pappy’s Pioneertown Palace! We spent a few hours there, shooting pool, taking in the atmosphere, chatting with the locals (plenty of whom will not likely remember ever meeting us, but they were a fun crowd), and generally relaxing and enjoying ourselves. It felt good.