If you are reading this, than the December 21st wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t the end of the world, but an alteration of thinking. Our way of thinking changed to making us more sensitive to incursion restoring.
Hitch 4 started off joining the other crews; Jawbone and Kiavah suited up in Tyvex body suits to enter a cabin clean up event with the BLM staff. We all got prepared with the proper PPE to dive into this burnt down cabin. Dressed in a blue hazmat suit, hard hat, safety glasses, and of course blue latex gloves to match our outfit. We were able to fill a huge dumpster full of burned railroad ties, sheets of metal, and a ton of soot. The soot we wore very well if I might add. Zoe had a very distinctive mustache going on. We worked on cleaning up 3 cabins; Edith E and Mingusville are the names I remember. These cabins were fit for a king hauling 3 full couches, a love seat, and a rat poop infested mattress out to the dumpster. On the upside Kiavah was able to find an extra green monster to patch up their own green monster. We finished the day cooking and putting our creativity to the test.
Our first night in the desert in a while KNIFE (Matt Duarte) joined us for a few days. So in our crew tends to be jinxed. That night we were talking about how likely a flash flood was and how often it rains. Hmm… Next thing we know were all heading to bed and its sleeting. Rain in the desert is seriously unheard of. We all thought it would stop in 2 hours or so, but NO we were all proved wrong it stopped at 3am. Most of us ended up waking up in a puddle wet and cold then on top of that worked the whole next day in the extreme weather. Jeff and Zoe decided to hang their sleeping bags from the ceiling of the green monster to dry out for the day. KNIFE, Teddy, and Zoe even competed in a decompaction of soil challenge of one of our incursions. We all succeeded and finished 40 foot stretch by 4 pm. We ended up restoring far more land than we had thought before. This entailed a few more bollard signs and lining the 400m surrounding the campsite with rocks and at least 50 vertical mulch bushes. On a vertical mulch run Lizzie stumbled upon what we think was a Mojave green snake, which was one of the highlights of our hitch.
After a few days of camping in the desert we were brainstorming ideas to keep warm. We came up with ‘if only we had those blue Tyvex hazmat suits to sleep in.’ Also, Cat came back to the field from her Mexico trip and to our surprise she bought us doughnuts!!!!!!
So on Dec 17th we finally finished the 2 campsites that were on the priority list in Golden Valley. Cat, Erica, and Teddy went into town for Admin day. So we were left with the FAB FOUR! The Fab Four (Lizzie, Zoe, Matt, and Jeff) happily finished the rock lining of the designated route and sweeping out OHV tracks. Rock lining was very relaxing because we thought of kindergarten playing with blocks. Hey, it got us through the long work day of moving mountains…it worked.
Zoe had her Environmental Education (EE) Presentation on Renewable Energy, and she arranged for a field trip to Terra-Gen, which was the Wind Facility right near Mojave, CA. The group was able to see up close these massive turbines that create energy to be used as electricity. Todd Dobbins, the Terra Gen site supervisor gave us the grand tour of their facility along with a brief power point presentation on various projects they have going on. Terra Gen has about 5,000 turbines on their property. Just picture it, WIND Turbines for miles. Although, during Zoe’s EE there was some debate about why Wind Turbines are such a controversial issue, we all enjoyed discussing the pros and cons. It was exciting to listen to everyone’s thoughts about such environmental subject we knew very little about.
We spent our last nights in the desert, which were some of the coldest nights we have had yet. Jeff looked up the forecast which was in the high teens/ low twenties. Burrrr… Seriously, the Desert gets COLD???? We all had some difficulties staying warm this hitch. We all have Zero degree sleeping bags now and wool socks, but we still can’t keep our toes warm. We wake up with toe-cicles! There has got to be a science to layering properly and keeping warm at night in the desert. If anyone has any suggestions they would be appreciated!!! By this point some of us started doing laps around the green monster to warm up then head to bed warm. We tried almost everything to stay warm. The January hitch we can brainstorm more ideas and hopefully overcome this dilemma.
T’was our last day of work in the desert; everyone is happily working together to get our last incursion completed and monitoring the southern boundary fence line. We had our favorite falafel for dinner and finished our chores. We sat around the lantern telling stories, while Lizzie and I had a read 100 page challenge… WHICH DIDN’T HAPPEN! December 21st, the day the Mayan calendar ends. We’re all alive. We wake up pack up camp and were all ready to go. There has been a change, a change of thinking, formally known as Grass Valley Crew, woke up and “WE ARE GOLDEN.”
Sadly, on December 21st 2012 Vin Diesel didn’t make it through the night. Our truck had the same security light on as last time we got stranded in the field. Golden Valley-2, VIN Diesel-0. Cat stayed in the field for 5 hours waiting for a tow truck to tow Vin Diesel out. Vin Diesel and our entire crews working gloves didn’t make it past the December 21st.
Highlights of Hitch 4:
• We dug our last hole for vertical mulch and bollards.
• We planted our last vertical mulch of 2012.
• We went on our last vertical mulch run of 2012.
• We have placed our last rock lining the road for 2012.
• We survived December 21st 2012
We are all looking forward to start fencing hopefully in January with NEW WORKING GLOVES!
“WE ARE GOLDEN!”