So began Hitch 5: our first hitch leaving to and from the field as scheduled!
We packed up our food and tools and began our hitch as usual, but alas, all was calm and quiet in Bonerland… too quiet. It had been 2 nights out in the field and nothing had gone awry, then suddenly our BLM contact Steve Gomez floated down as a messenger from the sky! “Behold!” said he, “I come bearing word of a winter storm arriving, 6-10 inches of snow in the El Pasos and 1-4 inches in the lowlands where ye dwell. If you want to escape you must do so tonight!” We decided it best to take his advice (after all he did fall from the sky), and retreated to our humble abode in Crumville.
The next day the storm warning was still in effect, but did a little “extreme winter storm warning” stop us? Nay! We decided to head out anyway and lo and behold, it was a pleasant, warm, sunny day! So we continued working. Emily and I vegged together for a while discussing what all young women contemplate while wandering around in the middle of the desert, the satire in Katherina’s closing speech in The Taming of the Shrew… or maybe it was just boys. Anywho, at one point Emily stopped because she’d heard something strange, ’twas a baby coyote sending out a distress call to its pack! With eyes searching for creatures unseen we howled along with intentions simply to communicate, to state our presence and welcome their break in the still, silent air. Soon after hearing a response, we howled again, as if conversing with our fellow desert dwellers on some mystical level unknown to either side.
Our next day was one we’d all been looking forward to. Hold on Baby, it’s ATV TRAINING!! We arrived at the BLM office bright and early and soon headed off to the Spangler Hills open area for our training. There, we were graciously given a free safety course by Eddie and Karen, both certified ASI safety Institute instructors (we thank you both kindly). We learned quick swerves, stops, 2WD and 4WD, riding over obstacles, up hills, and much much more! At the end we got to go on a trail ride which was loads of fun. We also got to see a few coyotes, a kit fox, and some jets!
The next day we were back off to Bonerland for a few more days of restoration, or so we thought. After an entire morning of my eye irritating me and soon being unable to open my eyes at all we finally decided to call up Amelyne about getting me to the hospital. The doctor numbed my eyeball which gave me great relief, but then he put a fluorescent dye in it to check for scrapes which counteracted said relief and felt like my eyeball was being branded. He turned the lights off and shined a black light in my eye which according to Nico made my eye glow yellow (pretty nifty). After all these exciting experiments on my eyeball, it turned out I had conjunctivitis. After a good fight I’ve finally lost the battle of contacts in the field. Unfortunately, I had to spend the next few days at the house doing absolutely nothing considering I couldn’t open my eyes, while the rest of the crew went back out to the field.
While I was bedridden, the crew finished up our first polygon and began our next one! Thankfully, I was able to return the field for the last day. We did some work on our next polygon, had dinner, packed up and gave our farewells to the desert until next year. That is, of course, until we got home and I realized that I left my backpack at camp.
Well, there’s another hitch in the books folks. We’ll see you again in January with 2 new members!
Meters restored: 2900 meters sq
Incursions completed: 5
Polygons completed: 1
Death toll: 2 (our sincerest apologies Mr. Jack Rabbit and Sir Sidewinder, may you both rest in peace)
Karina’s bad luck: 2
Emily face-planting: 2