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
The thirteen sites monitored were: Clapp, JP, Hidden, Willow, Carrizo, Ewe, Hawk, Noel, Cripple, Trap, Indian, Winter, and Chemgo.
1. Clapp (Sara, Leah, Andrew): 6
2. JP (Emily, Sam): 5
3. Willow & Hidden (Emily, Sam, Andrew): 8
4. Hawk & Noel (Sara, Leah): 8
5. Carrizo Spring (All): 3
6. Ewe, Trap, & Cripple (All but Emily): 8
7. Indian, Winter, & Cripple (All but Emily): 8
8. Trap & Ewe (All but Emily): 8
9. Chemgo Guzzler (All but Emily): 5
Well, that was a fun hitch! So our job description for the past few days was essentially to walk around in a beautiful wilderness area and look for water in the desert, sweet. We headed south out of Yucca Valley on the twelfth of December in the year twenty-ten on our way to the El Centro district, which is on the Mexican border for all intents and purposes. The downside was that it meant a multiple hour car ride, the upside was that it was gonna be warm, real warm.
Partly because of that warmth and partly because of our transient nature this hitch, we moved campsites almost everyday, we decided to leave our white tent, a DRC staple, sitting in the garage. Turns out that leaving the tent was a great decision. There was far more room in the trailer for packing stuff and it meant we did not have to go through the whole set up and break down process multiple times during the hitch, which was a major time saver.
The weather was beautiful and, as I said, warm, with daily temperatures in the upper seventies and nights as warm as the fifties, just idyllic. The work also seemed too good to be true. We literally hiked around in the wilderness following little arrows on GPS devices, functioning as modern divining rods, which led us to various water points within the desert. Ok, so it was not quite so simple, mostly because technology has a way of not always doing what one wants it to. The Trimbles and the Garmins, our two forms of GPS, were finicky at times. The Trimbles had a program on them for monitoring water sources, essentially a form to fill out, and decided that they would stop letting us use this program, on the first day that is. Then, praise be to some god, one of the Trimbles allowed us to resume use of the program, rendering us mere cripples instead of completely infirm. The other main techno problem was the coordinate systems we were using. There are two primary systems that we use, one from 1927 and the other from 1983. We started out in the 1983 setting, which was leading us to blank rock faces and empty stream beds. Even when we changed the setting to 1927, which is a time consuming process, we were still finding these useless sites. Then, on the fourth day, I tried something new, entering the coordinates after switching the system, turns out that was the ticket! We immediately began finding water, where before all we were led to was bare rock. It was quite a morale booster, even if it did mean revisiting places we had already been to. My only wish is that I had figured out the trick earlier in the hitch, which would have allowed us to find an monitor more of these sites, however, hopefully next hitch we will be able use what we have learned and knock out the remainder of the sites.
The other really cool thing about this hitch was our wildlife encounters. We saw a rattlesnake, a coyote, multiple tarantulas, more burros than I care to think about, and a 30 pound catfish! The rattlesnake was a big guy, at least three feet long, although we only saw him when he was all coiled up, and thankfully we saw him when it was cold and rainy, so all he did was sit there and stick his black tongue out at us. The coyote was also quite impressive. We saw him in the middle of the day, as he went streaking across the wash right in front of us. He had a big bushy tail and all the elegance and beauty one would expect of a wild beast. The tarantulas were, as always, hairy and gargantuan. The burros were, in my opinion, one of the coolest things, at least the first few times I saw them. They had this majesty about them that one would not expect from a donkey, or relative thereof, at least not after encountering domesticated ones. These creatures, unlike their servile cousins, held themselves erect with honor and dignity and gazed with a sense of superiority and self-assurance across the desert washes they call home. Of course they scattered like bunnies the second we came within half a mile, but from a distance they put on a very good show. The catfish was a treat. We met two campers who were posted up next to the Colorado River, did I mention that we drove by that on our way to work most days, and doing some sport fishing. They were a delightful couple, Linda and, since we can not remember his name, ‘Catfish Man’, who regaled us with stories of their youth and adventures in the region for a good while. He had caught a big, thirty pounder the night before we dropped by and was more than happy to drag the struggling ball of muscle out of the water for us to gape at. Sadly, however, this story has no fairytale ending and upon returning to their campsite the following day, under invitation of course, we discovered that the big guy had got away. Apparently he bent open a welded steel ring and made for the hills, or the depths of the river as it were. It was sad, but Catfish Man took it all in stride, merely saying that the next one he caught would certainly not be given that choice of escape!
All in all a very successful hitch, and as soon as we finish cleaning up here we will begin parting ways and heading out for the Christmas holidays!