Ahh, hitch 7: marking the middle of our term of service with the DRC. In order to commemorate this halfway point we had our first ALL CORPS!!! Wohoo! It was the first time all the crews have worked together since Septoberfest, and spirits were high. The mid-season All Corps extravaganza was hosted down south by the elusive Wild Corps in the Big Marias near the mighty cold Colorado River.
A caravan of the four Ridgecrest crews set off mid afternoon on Pre-hitch, heading south for the big event. After a few bathroom breaks and lots of noxious yet delicious gas station food, we made it to Yucca Valley where we camped out for the night in a lovely dirt field. Early the next morning we packed up camp and set off again for the Big Marias to kick off All Corps. We rolled into camp around noon, set up our tents and then spent a relaxing afternoon swimming, talking, and playing in the sand on the banks of the Colorado River. However, the next day was back to business, and we set out for our first day of work on the treacherous sand dunes…
We were given plenty of warning and instruction from Wild Corps, but it wasn’t quite enough to prepare us for what was coming: sand. Lots and lots of sand. Aired down tires and vigorous sawing wasn’t doing the trick for the Rands and Golden Valley’s gas powered trucks to make it up the dune. Helpers were sent out from each truck and the rest of us waited patiently as Golden Valley changed a shredded tire and Rands struggled to get out of the sand and out of the way so other trucks could have a go at the dune. The Boners were able to gun it up the hill, and so were we, the valiant Owen’s Peak crew in good ol’ Lee Roy Brown. A few other trucks followed, but the gas trucks had to be left at the bottom. The second day everyone was more prepared and there was a much larger success rate for trucks making it up the dune. That is, for everyone except us. Due to unexpected high tire pressure, ol’ Lee Roy Brown was half eaten by the dunes. However, a vehicle recovery team was able to save him and make it up the hill later on. Luckily, the third and final day of work all the trucks were able to conquer the dunes (except the gas trucks, which were still left at the bottom).
The work at All Corps consisted of some fencing projects, some restoration, and lots of rock work. The crews were split into five different pods that each worked on different projects. Three different fence lines were built in the first two days using railroad tie wooden posts, quikrete, and wire. Many holes were dug and some re-dug after wall collapses and sand avalanches filled them in. Several incursions were successfully restored, and a small rock wall was also built. The third day brought all the pods together to work on a massive hill climb. Unfortunately, the restoration of the hill involved moving rocks from one area to another. This meant the we spent a whole day fire lining bags and buckets full of rocks. Nonetheless, the crews made the most of it and were still able to have a good time playing Contact and 20 questions or just making weird noises and nonsensical conversation.
The best part about All Corps was probably the food. Each meal was a potluck between all five crews. Luckily we have some fantastic cooks. Each night’s dinner had a theme starting off with items that can be placed between two pieces of bread and eaten with the hands, followed by Seitan Warship, Breakfast for Dinner, and Crew Favorites. Every meal produced sounds of enjoyment and content followed soon after by an orchestra of human flatulence and moans of, “Oh man, I ate WAY too much food tonight.” However, despite a food coma, the crews still enjoyed themselves in the evenings and were even able to get dressed up and have a rockin’ dance party one night.
The 6th day of hitch brought the end of All Corps. The crews were sad to leave each other, but the Owen’s crew was ready to get back to our beloved Owen’s Peak Wilderness area. It was a long day of driving back to Ridgecrest, and despite getting separated from the caravan and lost for a bit, the Owen’s Peak crew made it back in time for a delicious dinner of tempeh tacos at the crew house. Due to the nature of the work for the rest of hitch, we decided to spend it living at the house instead of in the field. We were all thankful for that when day 7 at Owen’s produced lots of rain and wind. After many tweaks and changes to our work plans, we ended up transporting hay bales to Grass Valley with the Golden Valley Crew, moving 20,000 lbs of fencing material to the fire station, and spending many hours driving in between.
So, now the Owen’s Peak Crew is looking forward to putting all that fencing material to use next hitch when we embark on some of our first real fencing projects. Hoorah! Tune in again next time to hear all about it.
Emily the Eviscerator