Miles hiked: appx. 61
Water sources monitored: 6
Sites core monitored: 34
Miles boundary monitored: 24
Sites effectiveness monitored: 59
Signs installed: 7 (5 carsonite and 2 bollard)
Trash removed: appx. 10
First things first, when you have a crew of but five members do not let two of them get sick at the same time, especially if they are two of the three drivers and you have to do wilderness boundary monitoring and effectiveness monitoring (aka: drive-fest). Sadly, though, that happened to us this past hitch. On the day of travel both Sara and Emily (our project leader) showed signs of some form of stomach bug or food poisoning and were both put out of commission for the next few days. Sara had come into the field with us, but was too unwell to spend the night out. Luckily, Ridgecrest was less than half an hour away and we were able to take her to the Rands’ house where she spent the next few days recuperating. Emily had opted out of traveling with us and had planned to meet us in the field. However, she too began to feel ill and ended up staying in Yucca Valley a few extra days until her condition improved. That left only three of us (Leah, Andrew, and Sam [me]) fit to work those first couple days. We did the best we could with the reduced numbers and lack of a second rig (which was pretty crucial for the work we were doing). We were able to do a fair amount of work and were able to monitor all the old restoration sites and most of the border in our time alone, as well as install two bollard signs with Marty (our BLM contact from the Ridgecrest Field Office). Sara returned that evening and we spent the next two days hiking Little Dixie Wash, the largest wash in the wilderness, monitoring it for incursions. Our fearless crew-leader returned to us on the morning of the seventh day and we were able to really set to and work. Thanks to her arrival and the arrival of the second rig we were able to split up. Three of us (Emily, Andrew, and Sara) headed to the south-west corner of the boundary and began monitoring illegal trails in that portion of the wilderness. They spent their time hiking the routes while tracking their progress using Trimbles (GPS devices). The data they took will be turned into a GIS map of the illegal trails and roads in that portion of the boundary. They continued to perform this monitoring for the next two days. Leah and Sam, meanwhile, headed to the eastern side of the boundary and completed monitoring the perimeter for incursions. After they had finished monitoring the border they began hiking to water sources in the interior of the boundary, a much more pleasant task than driving the boundary of the wilderness. The hitch was a blast, and to top it off we spent a pleasant evening with the Jawbone crew. They were camped relatively close to us, so we took dinner over there one night and sat around in their white tent, ate, chatted, and generally had a good time.