Hitch 8: Back to Owens, Fence building & Shoshone!


60% through the season, whoa. Less than 100 days left in the season, double whoa.

We finally made it back to the homeland, Owens Peak Wilderness Area. The sun was shining, the frogs were chirping (in the swimming hole), and the fencing was on!

The first two days we spent with our trusted BLM contact, Marty. We learned the ins and outs of a simple rock supported fence, and the ways around doing a standard H brace supported fence. With more thoughts than seconds in the day, Marty filled our brains with every little trick she could think of.

The next two days (hitch days 4&5) we spent learning the finer details of fencing from Alex The Laughmatic Thompson. Specifically, we were schooled in the finer points of placing H braces, bollard angles and the ways to keep a fence as straight as possible. Working in 9 mile canyon, across a dirt road from the LA aqueduct, we were able to have contact with other government agencies of LA DWP and a few BLM rangers. With lots of questions, and many more laughs we were able to string and complete our first fencing section. This gave Alex the comfort to take off the training wheels, and all of Owens was ready to cruise.

Days 6-8, still fencing. Still working out the details of our 9 mile canyon fence. Splitting into two teams, we worked faster than jackrabbits. Finishing another 4 sections of fence, we were finally able to put down the barbwire that we all love so much.

Day 9 – We embark to Shoshone! This year we were granted the experience of visiting our Sierra Club friends at the annual spring Shoshone meeting. Being a part of the Desert Restoration Crew, we obviously had to take the desert route to Shoshone, Aka through Death Valley National Park. The drive was long, it was tough, and it made our diesel engines purr like tickled kittens.
Stopping in Stovepipe Wells, we were able to make a lasting impression on the other visitors with our antics, our handstands, and our overall rambunctious moods (in no way enhanced by our 4+ hour drive).

Days 10 & 11 – the Shoshone fun festival. Cramped within the repurposed chicken coop called the flower building, the desert activists gathered and discussed the issues that are threatening the desert wilderness. Large scale solar and wind projects were the main focus of the talks. It was encouraging to see that people outside of the DRC care for desert tortoises. It was also encouraging to see a large spread group of people that enjoy the work that the DRC is doing.
Everything was quite normal, as far as the desert goes, until Richard’s ashes were placed on the head table during the meeting…

We said our good byes, we packed up the trucks and said farewell to the quaint little town of Shoshone. Now we are home, looking forward to taking a trip south and perfecting our LNT skills.

– Luke