The Scodies, Bro!
Never in my adult life have I been as terrifyingly close to soiling my pants as I was on that day during the first hitch.
I knew something wasn’t quite right as I buttoned up my tent for the night, but decided to sleep it off and reassess my condition in the morning. More than a couple of times that night I awoke and talked myself out of a violent explosion, end uncertain.
Too cold outside, I told myself. Better uncomfortable inside than cold and puking outside.
At breakfast everyone had the same look on their faces. A look that simultaneously conveyed both confusion and comfort; confusion at the war raging inside each of our bodies, comfort in solidarity. Pale-faced and weak, we headed out for the day’s work. I was a quarter mile from the work site, scouring the Scodies for vertical mulch, when the realization sank in that the war between brain and bowels was climaxing. Hastily I made my way to the truck, vertical mulch abandoned, to retrieve my weapons: shovel and toilet paper. I took a quick survey of the area, found a spot in a stand of pinyon pines that would allow for ample privacy while I figured out what alien life form had decided to occupy my insides, and made for the hills.
Here I break from my nearly-tragic narrative to provide the reader with an image of the Scodies.
Located in the Kiavah Wilderness, the Scodie Mountains are part of the southern Sierras that occupy a unique transition area between the desert and the mountains. As such, the Scodies contain the best of both ecosystems. The Mojave’s characteristic Joshua trees exist in abundance here, and as you climb in elevation their numbers decline, passing the torch to pinyon and eventually grey pines. In the Scodies, the ravens and pinyon jays and rock wrens keep you company from above, while the rabbitbrush, saltbush ephedra, and cresosote cover the floor of the valley below.
As I strolled into battle that afternoon I saw none of these things.
I walked hurriedly toward the pines I’d picked out in the hills, legs shaking, knees buckling, quickly realizing I wasn’t going to make it quite that far. The Joshua trees would have to do. I sprinted to the nearest grove, ripped off my pants like I was coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, dug the worst cathole in history, and FREED myself of my insides’ assailants.
It was uncooked black beans, an honest mistake, cloaked inside of burgers.
It was uncooked black beans, easily undetected, and no one escaped their wrath.
1 stepover installed, with two signs installed.
735 square meters restored.
61 vertical mulch plants constructed.
4 pounds of seed spread into 61 seed pits.
893 hours of training and restoration.