We are back from another delightful hitch of pounding fence posts at Dumont Dunes! With one hitch of fence-building already under our belts, we were able to fine-tune our process and work with even greater efficiency. Some of the most satisfying moments of this hitch were the times when we seemed to be working in perfect lockstep as one fence-building machine. Between the two hitches, we put up just under 4 miles of fence posts marking the boundary between the Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area and the Kingston Wilderness. To make sure we were producing quality (i.e. straightness) as well as quantity, we set a straight tensioned wire to act as our guide for each section and also leveled and adjusted posts along the way. I am proud that we remained perfectionists and I think it will be quite the good-looking fence when all is said and done.
Though most of the hitch was marked by post-pounding routine with our friendly power tool the Pneumatic, there were also some breaks in the regular action. On our first day back at the Dunes, we went into the nearby town of Tecopa to do some outreach at a community festival and check out some of the local attractions. The festival featured friendly vendors, pork chops on sticks, and a rockin’ band called Earth Blues. We also browsed the Shoshone Museum where we learned some local history and viewed mammoth remains. Our day of fun ended with a visit to the China Ranch Date Farm. The drive down to the farm was spectacular, with dramatic rock faces on each side, and the “date shakes” (aka milk shakes with dates mixed in) sold at the gift shop were equally spectacular. Other memorable excursions were a night-time swim in a community pool in Shoshone (complete with underwater photos, a few of which actually turned out!) and a return visit to the natural hot springs near Tecopa. For our second stint, we were feeling a little more adventurous and explored the marshy channel coming out of the main spring. We felt like alligators trudging through the mucky water with tall grass on either side. At times the muck far outweighed the water, but the heartier members of our crew (Caitlin and I) pressed on army crawling through the mud. A final unplanned moment of excitement came when one of our trucks got stuck in the sand. We got to break out the shovels and our ferocious hand-digging skills to successfully recover the vehicle. Though a little stressful in the moment, it was certainly a crew-bonding highlight. Luckily we don’t have to say goodbye to the Dumont area yet as we’ll be back for part of next hitch stringing cable along the fence line!