Hitch # 2 for the Grass Valley crew is now in the books. Hitch 2 began in the El Paso Mountains and ended in Golden Valley. The Grass crew got the chance to perform a variety of duties. Responsibilities included site restoration, restoration effectiveness monitoring, guzzler monitoring, and fence monitoring. This allowed the Grass Valley team to obtain number of new skills for the 2012 – 2013 DRC season.
In the El Paso Mountains the team experienced some ‘bitter’ cold weather, with the temperatures dropping into the 20’s during the evenings. The team had the chance to hike near Sheep Springs, where petroglyphs can be found left by shaman of the Kaiwaiisu Native American tribe. Images of animals and other shapes can be found on the rocks in the area. It is believed that the shamans were just passing through the area at the time these petroglyphs were made, about 10,000 BP.
Once the Grass crew finished up in the El Paso Mountains, the team had the chance to move to Golden Valley to complete some guzzler and fence monitoring. The BLM contact for the Grass valley crew, Marty, joined the grass team for a day to show the team around the area and possible spots where restoration monitoring is necessary. As the team was attempting to monitor 9 miles of fence line one of the truck’s alarm system decided to malfunction, and put the truck into anti-theft mode. The crew was unable to start the truck due to the malfunction, and the truck needed be towed out of the area. A friendly “bear” of a tow truck driver was brave enough to come deep within the Golden Valley wilderness and tow the truck out.
During the final couple days of the Hitch the team got the chance to leave the field a day early and learn a few things about desert plant life, which will be useful for future plant recognition for site monitoring. Carrie, the BLM wildlife biologist, took all the DRC teams on a short hike and assisted us in identifying some Mojave Desert plants, including the cheese bush, creosote bush, and the golden bush.
Overall, the hitch was a success, with a few bumps towards the mid-point of the hitch.