This hitch started out with the Grass Valley, Kiavah and Jawbone crews meeting in one of the local parks in Ridgecrest. From there we caravanned to the location were All-Corps was being held in the Ibex Wilderness Area. We made a few stops along the way to see what kind of cool things there are to find. Once at the Ibex wilderness, each crew set up their camp and sleeping areas. It was a small community made up of White Walls, Green Monsters and tents.
The next day was a very relaxed, corps members were able to socialize with one another, while waiting for Wild Corps to arrive. We were able to spend the day checking out, hiking up and down, playing in the sand over at Dumont Dunes. After we had our fun and fill at the Dunes, the group was able to get refreshed at the Tecopa Hot Springs where we were able to enjoy some hot water and got to mingle with one another.
Once we started to get into the work rhythm, All-Corps was held over at the China Ranch Date Farm outside of Tecopa, California. This was led by members of Wild-Corps as well as BLM officials and the owner of China Ranch; Tim, Rose, David and Brian. Most of the work at China Ranch consisted of trail building and trail maintenance. These were fun filled days, where we did all of our work filled with joy. We had the opportunity to blaze and build new trails through Mesquite forests, widen trails by trimming the shrubs back, clearing trails of dirt and rocks due to the force of erosion, as well as build bridges over creeks, creating staircases along the sides of rocky hills, creating rock retaining walls, as well as marking the trails by lining them with rocks. It was good hard work; at the end of the day we were all able to relax at camp, socialize with friends, play games and eat a good variety of food since each night was a potluck with a different dinner theme.
Once All-Corps was over, Grass Valley, Kiavah and Wild-Corps packed up camp in the Ibex Wilderness and caravanned five miles down the street to the City of Shoshone. This was a real treat for us, since we spend a good amount of our time living in the wilderness without running water and no electricity. Camping in Shoshone, not only were we within walking distance of the conference center, but we also had flush toilets, showers, electricity, library, a store within walking distance, a swimming pool heated by a local hot spring and some good hiking areas that brought us to petroglyphs as well as other early man sites. So you can say, we got spoiled and pampered during our time in the City of Shoshone.
The Shoshone Conference was hosted by the Sierra Club, members from different Chapters and other environmental organizations, as well as BLM and NPS officials from California and Nevada. Members and officials came together to discuss environmental issues concerning the desert. There were many presentations followed by Q and A sessions, the members of Wild-Corps had the opportunity to give a presentation on the type of work that they do and all the members of DRC were present really enjoyed it.
Once the conference was over, Grass and Kiavah packed up camp and started heading back to Ridgecrest and took the opportunity to check out Death Valley since it was along the way. We checked out Badwater Basin (the lowest point on the continent), Artist Drive, Salt Creek Trail where we saw a few pupfish, desert wildflowers, saw some standing water along the valley floor and the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. We were able to spend the day seeing and enjoying the hottest, driest and the largest National Park in the Lower Forty Eight on a nice comfortable day. It was truly an amazing way to end a great hitch.