Our second hitch sent us out to Dumont Dunes located north of Baker, California bordering on the Kingston Wilderness and managed by the Barstow BLM field office. On our way out to the Dunes we stopped off at the field office to meet our BLM contacts and were treated to some interesting presentations on the history of BLM lands, some large and impressive mustaches, and an up close and personal meet-and-greet with some rescued desert creatures including scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, chuckwallas and a large desert tortoise named Zeus.
Our first couple of days coincided with the first big weekend of the OHV riding season, and we were stationed in unaccustomed luxury at command central in two spacious RVs and were serenaded day and night with the dulcet tones of OHV engines. Our project for the area is to create a fence separating the Dumont Dunes open area from the bordering Kingston wilderness area along the historic remains of the Tonopah and Tidewater railroad track. Days 1 through 6 saw us manually pounding hundreds of fence posts into the sand alongside our BLM contact, Tim. On the 6th day something wonderful called a pneumatic post pounder came to us and showed us again what an impact power tools can have on our lives. We put up about a mile and a half of fence line and are raring to go back to continue the job.
Our hitch didn’t end up being all work and no play. We fully took advantage of the amazing natural resources all around us. We made the time to drive out to the nearby Tecopah Hot Springs where we were able to relax and take a long and incredibly hot soak. By day 4 the OHV traffic had petered to a stop and after a few days the wind had erased all of the tire tracks and we were able to see the dunes in all of their glory. Seeing this we decided to fulfill the goal of more than one Wild Corps member to climb and roll down a sand dune. We managed to climb Competition Hill, the tallest and most dangerous dune in the area at 1,200 feet, for a stunning view and then proceeded to sprint, frolic, roll and tumble back down. Dan won the competition for longest continuous roll!
Luckily this won’t be our last goodbye to Dumont Dunes. We will get the chance to get back out there and explore some more during our next 2 hitches during which we will be putting in many more miles of fence line. WE POUND POSTS!!