It was the first day of All-corps. WildCorps pulled up into the makeshift campground on Tecopa public lands and were greeted by a line of eight Dodge Ram 2500s. Slowly, a familiar pack of desert rats retreated from the cabs and welcomed our arrival with stares and awkward waves. The mildercorps had arrived the previous evening. “Uhh... welcome to your event,” the other crews said. They climbed back into their masculine ruminant vehicles and took off to enjoy the local desert offerings of the sand and mud (dunes and hot springs), leaving WildCorps XII in a cloud of dust, alone, to erect their green monster of a tent and do some real work in preparation of the days ahead.
A short drive from the campsite led us through a remarkable canyon to the China Ranch Date Farm. BLM contacts from Barstow and Brian Brown, proprietor of the farm and member of the Amargosa Conservancy, met with us to plan out the upcoming five days of trail work along the Amargosa River. We hiked out to an overlook where we could view the river. The wind picked up as our minds were blown by the beauty of Rainbow Mountain, the canyon, and the river. A quick Trimble talk was given by DRC guru Matt (The Knife) Duarte, and with that, WildCorps XII was prepared to co-lead pods of corps members with BLM partners.
The following days were a whirlwind of hard work and the chaos of group camp life. The hot days were spent working on various river trail projects, such as battling an infinite thicket of mesquite (the mesquite won), building bridges and rerouting and improving trails. The WildCorps crew enjoyed being bossy leaders and helping direct projects and take GPS data with our slightly temperamental Juno Trimbles. By night, WildCorps shined as culinary gods during the hectic themed potluck nights where we received rave reviews for our fried mini calzones and night of deep fried things (including deep-fried cabbage, pistachios, and avocado slices). The company and commotion of camp life was an enjoyable change from the usual quiet camp of our quad (now quint).
After saying goodbye to Rands and Jawbone, we moved camp to the town of Shoshone, population 10, to attend a two-day conference, The Sierra Club Desert Committee Meeting. We listened to many speakers and learned the hidden horrors of solar and wind farms in the desert. At the end on the day, WildCorps got to lighten the mood as we presented about the work we have been doing and our daily crew life.
We explored the quirky town of Shoshone during our free time. Our campsite was a surprising glamping experience for the DRC. Our ammenities included flush toilets, hot showers, a swimming pool heated by a hot spring, and a cozy library room filled with juicy novels. We made friends with the locals and some members were interviewed by Susan, the owner of the town, for a local paper.
This hitch was also our introduction with our new leader Sterling. We had a great time with him and we are looking forward to getting to know him better on our future hitches.