Project Leader: Scott Nordquist Project Dates: August 8, 2010 - May 17, 2011 E-mail address: email@example.com
After a short-lived break, the Owens Peak crew was off to their home in the mountains. It’s funny how much the crew began to miss our snowcapped peaks and rugged Five Fingers views. With over a month’s hiatus from Owens Peak, it was good to be back.
Saturday the crew set out to start the first section of a 3-mile fence building project. Digging holes, building H-braces, and stringing wire have now become routine for the crew, but the attention to detail and quality of our work has only grown. Sunday the crew got a welcome visit from our comrades at Jawbone. They came eager to learn fencing, and with their help we advanced on a lengthy and technical portion of fence. A low-flying helicopter and a military cargo plane passed overhead and supplied some added entertainment throughout the day.
There was a constant flowing stream near camp, and the trickling sound of the aqueduct as LA’s water rushed by us during work provided some memorable desert irony. The warmer weather has also been an added benefit to this hitch, allowing us to enjoy comfortable evenings outside under a fire-toned sky. The desert creatures seemed to be enjoying the beautiful weather as well. The nearby creek has fostered a plethora of frogs (possibly toads) which provided a pleasant calming tune as we lay down to rest for the night. This led to an unsuccessful frog hunt conducted by Michelle, Brogan and Matt. It turns out the frogs were too coy for the out-of-place hunters. Their croaks that night most likely consisted of snide jabs aimed towards the clumsy humans.
On Wednesday the crew went on a road trip to the Forest Service District in Riverside, CA. Sally Haase and company gave an interesting talk about prescribed fire and effects of soil chemistry/vegetation recovery after wildfires. The crew got to see just how tough this job can be. The primary priority of their program is to prevent erosion, which is greatly increased after a wildfire. Erosion can cause massive landslides that can damage infrastructure and threaten human lives. Luckily, with a relatively recent development in erosion control called Hydro Mulch, groups have been able to recover burn areas faster than ever before. Some have suspected that the runoff from the Hydro Mulch can have harmful side effects to nearby waterways because of the chemicals used in the substance. This left some of us somewhat skeptical of the technique.
Thursday was ATV training. It was a bittersweet day filled with fun but also sadness with the loss of a fellow crew member due to illness. It might seem counterintuitive to be training us on the very vessels that create the tracks we are employed to destroy, but it was an ABSOLUTE BLAST nonetheless! Our animated instructor taught us valuable techniques to keeping all four wheels of the ATV safely engaged with the ground. Some of us caught on quicker than others—some never attempted.
The rest of the hitch was spent building more fence. A brief intervention stalled our progress for some time when the crew was informed of a previously unknown archeological site too close to the fence. We immediately conducted surgery, leaving the archeological site with plenty of room for any spectacular finds the crew is sure it will produce.
The DRC Program Manager, Jamie Weleber, paid us a visit for our last couple days in the field. He came bearing gifts of cookies and offered his practical wisdom. He merged into our crew rather nicely, and we were glad to have him. Our greatly-missed crew member Ryan got to join us for our last night in the field. We ended the hitch in high spirits and excited anticipation to reunite with old friends at next hitch’s All-Corps event.