Hitch nine was yet another great hitch for the Golden Valley crew. This hitch we added some new faces to the mix over the long, President’s Day, weekend. Five volunteers from the Sierra Club joined us in Grass Valley to help finish up the massive fence take down project. Not only did the extra hands make the take down move much faster, the volunteers were also great company. One night we even had a scrumptious potluck with the volunteers and our BLM contact Marty Dickes. The night was filled with tempeh stir-fry, pasta salad, chili and extremely tasty desserts of raspberry truffle brownies and seven layer bars. We somehow managed to squeeze all fourteen of us into our green monster tent, including Marty’s cat Skidoo.
After two days of pulling t-post out of the ground, we decided to take the volunteers on a hike. We ventured over to Golden Valley for a pleasant five mile hike though the now familiar wilderness. After our hike we drove into the historic mining town of Randsburg to grab some milk shakes and check out the sites. If it wasn’t for the paved roads, and cars and OHVs roaming around, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t the late 1800s. The streets are still lined with hitching post for horses, and the buildings are straight out of an old western movie. Our first stop was the Desert Museum. The two room building was filled with pictures and facts about the desert mining towns. Rocks and precious metal samples also lined the walls. The yard of the museum held a rusty steam engine, dilapidated mining carts and various other mining contraptions. Next we headed to the general store for their raved about milkshakes. We happily sipped our shakes while admiring the witty sayings and autographed posters of celebrities on the walls, including Clint Eastwood. After our visit to the general store it was time to say goodbye to our volunteers and thank them once again for coming out in the field with us.
Our next day was spent racing to finish our fence take down. We spooled the last quarter mile of rusty barbed wire and yanked the mile of t-posts out of the ground. It felt so good when we finally removed the last stubborn t-post. Now all we had to do was haul out all the barbed wire and t-posts. This task consumed the rest of our hitch. We grabbed some trailers from the BLM office and headed back to the field for fence material pickup. At first it was slow moving, but we eventually found a rhythm and managed to haul out about half of the fencing material. We were even able to put our chainsaw training to good use. We suited up in our bright orange chaps and hard hat and felled large wooden support posts. Once we hauled out the material we took it all to a salvage yard where we scraped all the t-posts.