Project Leader: Scott Nordquist Project Dates: August 8, 2010 - May 17, 2011 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feeling refreshed from a ten-day holiday vacation, the Owens Peak crew was ready to return to their home in southern California. Little did they know they would be greeted by a desert snowstorm powerful enough to leave two crew members stranded on their way home from the airport due to closed highways. Fortunately, this setback did not dampen the spirits of the rest of the crew, who, even with heads clouded by lack of sleep, pressed on with pre-hitch chores, picking up supplies and creating all the delicious foods that are essential to a successful hitch.
The following day, the crew, complete with all members and much needed sleep, set out to their greatly-missed wilderness area of Owens Peak. The morning appeared to be dreary, with a thick layer of fog encasing the Ridgecrest vicinity. Entering Indian Wells Valley, the crew ascended in elevation, climbing into the sunshine, and looked down upon the blanket of clouds, truly feeling what it means to be on an island in the sky. The crew was greeted by BLM Wilderness Coordinator Marty Dickes and set off to investigate and flag the proposed site of a fence that will be the work project of many future hitches. The day was complete with snowball fights and the discovery of an archeological site containing possible remnants of the construction of the LA Aqueduct.
The rest of the hitch brought the crew back to the Golden Valley Wilderness to continue the work on the fence line that was started before the holidays. Days were spent hauling materials via fire line the ¼ mile to the worksite and constructing 1 ½ miles of fence, creating the boundary between private property and wilderness. Crew members jumped back not only into work but also work-out routines with 14 person stretch circles involving pushups and ab workouts, and managed to squeeze work-outs even into the workday by spending time between material loads doing curls with T-posts, dropping to the ground for more pushups, or holding plank pose for more ab strengthening. Work days were followed by running the dirt roads, hills, and mountains of the region. Of course the health of the crew would not be complete without an array of delicious meals, including seitan gyros, sesame peanut noodles, and stromboli created by experimentation with the Dutch oven. The meals were finished off by the typical supply of close to one hundred cookies.
The weather of the hitch took on a much brighter hue than the previous one, as the crew was greeted by the warmth of the sun each afternoon. However, come dusk, the temperatures dropped dramatically, reaching lows well below freezing each night. Mornings resulted in frosty tents and sleeping bags, frozen fingers, toes, water spouts and soap bottles, not to mention the wilderness bathroom, the rocket box. Luckily everyone knew the sun would soon arrive, allowing all to thaw and in some cases even burn.
During free time, when not exercising, the crews enjoyed sharing stories and playing games with each other, challenging each other’s vocabulary with matches of Bananagrams. Evenings were spent watching the beautiful sunsets, followed by stargazing, when not hiding from the cold. Some of the crew members made use of evenings huddled up in the large army tent, the Green Monster, by learning how to make friendship bracelets and catching up on reading.
Although the company of another crew was enjoyable, the crew members cannot wait to return to their rightful home of Owens Peak. Next hitch will bring them back to higher elevations and fencing projects of their own.