Our first stop on hitch one was the Ridgecrest BLM Office. The crew headed down the road for a grand orientation to our public lands partner, a gathering spearheaded by our agency contact, Marty Dickes. Marty arranged for several employees from this local branch to speak about their roles, and in doing so, shed light on the plethora of management concerns facing the office. After gaining perspective on the reach of the BLM, as well as eating tons of pizza for lunch, Marty held a focused discussion with our crew about our upcoming work projects. There’s a lot work to be done, and there’s a crew ripe for the job!
The following day, after nearly a month of training, the crew finally ventured out to Golden Valley Wilderness to throw some dust on our Carharrts. We were greeted by an abundance of wildlife on the drive into our basecamp including kit foxes, a tarantula, and believe or not, our first desert tortoise sighting of the season. That night provided pleasant temperatures, as well as a spectacular sunset over Red Mountain.
Our work projects were varied and provided a solid foundation for future service. The hitch was centered on monitoring and reinforcing a long fence along the southern boundary of the wilderness, a fence constructed by the 2010-11 SCA Golden Valley Crew. We scraped the bottom of post-holes with camp mugs to construct h-braces, used the bocce ball method of placing rocks alongside foot paths, and sited some seriously awesome vertical mulch bushes (this crew has got a knack for the creosotes). All in all, the many miles of fence monitored were in great shape, which is a nod to the previous season’s crew, although the wilderness is all the better for our recent efforts.
Other highlights of the hitch included celebrating Kelsey’s birthday with songs and a delicious, even if slightly burnt, chocolate cake; playing four-square on the concrete pad at our campsite; listening to a crazy barn owl that hunted at a nearby mine shaft each night; and feasting on many amazing meals (crowd favorites included seitan and broccoli with homemade bbq sauce, as well as a rendition of an Indian classic, chana masala).
A great season is brewing, and we’re stoked to get back out!