On September 28th, 2010, the crew members of WildCorps IX slowly trickled in the door of 57087 Yucca Trail. Introductions were made, histories were shared, stories of their ventures were told. That evening, the task before us was bulk food. It was a beautiful site, piles of spices, teas, beans, pasta, flours, nuts, dried fruits, dark chocolate. We repacked and labeled the hundreds of pounds of tasty goodness, and day dreamed of the concoctions to come.
We sat around the dining room table later that night for dinner, slowly absorbing and realizing that these are going to be the faces that we will see for the next eight months. As we ate our Moroccan Tagine, we learned that Sara does not enjoy dried fruits cooked in her food, but more cherries for the rest of us!
We took a tour of the new residence, and rooms were picked. Sam took the Bob Marley Room, as he likes to call it, and Leah and Sara buddied up in the Master Suite. The character and history of the crew house is apparent, with its collection of games, paintings, knick knacks and sage, didgeridoo, and dvds. The crew slowly unpacked and settled in.
The following day we got to work, sorting through the abundant gear, testing out stoves and water buffaloes, and packing up for the field. As we were working away in the garage, clouds slowly moved in and sprinkled on us, a hint of what was to come.
On the 30th, we geared up to head out to Whitewater Preserve, outside of Palm Springs. Whitewater is managed by the Wildlands Conservancy and the BLM, and has had many SCA crews and volunteers perform invaluable work in the area. We set up at the Ranger Station, where we were warned of incoming storms and the effects flashfloods have had in the past. We took a short hike, joining up with the PCT after crossing the Whitewater River. What a treat, a riparian refuge in the middle of the desert! While the weather held out throughout dinner and dishes, after lying in our sleeping bags for maybe half an hour, the clouds let loose. Thunder and lightning entertained us throughout the night.
The following morning we geared up to get on the trail and spend a night out. The sky had cleared, and gave us a taste of the harsh desert sun. After hiking for a while through the canyon, we treated ourselves by dunking our shirts in the river and finding a little shade. We crossed the river after spending some time talking about our community and values. The clouds again rolled in, and we quickly ascended the pass to another canyon. Lightning strikes were seen in the distance, and we took refuge in an old stone house at Mission Creek.
A little before sunset, the crew decided they wanted to see the brilliant sky from atop the ridge. We braved the weather to peak and reach the overlook, where we witnessed a beautiful pink sky overlooking the San Gorgonios, the San Jacintos, and Palm Springs. It was well worth the trip!
We experienced only a slight drizzle that night, and slept soundly after our long day. The following morning we headed out of the backcountry, crossed the river, and towards our awaiting truck.
Other highlights and points of discussion included DRC history, the Member Handbook review, Take 5, Drive Safe Drive Smart, and Food.
After saddling back up and piling into the truck, we made the trip back to Yucca Valley for our first post hitch. We pre-packed for training at Great Falls Basin, which will be our next venture to share.
Those first five days and nights have contributed to the excitement and anticipation of the season that is to come, and the people with which we will share it with.