Wild50 2014 Crew
The Wild50 made history this hitch. We made our last left on the 395. That might not seem like much to you, but it’s pretty significant to us. The 395, aka Highway 395, is much like the spine of California. It’s THE road to be on if you are travelling the span of California east of the Sierra Nevada. Making our last left signifies a new leg in our Wild50 experience. Up until this hitch we have headed south, working in the deserts of the Colorado and Mojave. We are what our company refers to as a “roving” crew, traveling around CA, and soon to be NM. This turn has finally marked the point where the Wild50 crew will now start exploring areas where we will be a little less prone to heat stroke. We are desert graduates ready to explore and apply our skills to new areas. It’s bittersweet for me. I am stoked to explore new areas of California, but there’s something about the desert that I will miss. The cotton-candy sunrises and pastel sunsets, the bitter nights followed by scorching days, the sand stuck in-between my teeth (and elsewhere). Like everywhere I have lived before, the Mojave has become part of me and will continue to shape me. There is beauty and solace in these harsh conditions, and I am happy to have gained a deeper appreciation for desert life. Anyways, I feel like I’m getting too sappy. Let me tell you what happened on this hitch already!
The Ridgecrest BLM set up multiple projects for us this hitch. It was nice to have some variety and chances to travel around our home base. Like I said before, we started off the hitch heading left towards Randsburg. There, we installed two desert tortoise interpretive signs in with Jeff and two BLM interns, Leah and Marcus. These signs will promote tortoise education right on the front lines! We finished relatively fast and headed over to Indian Wells Canyon to prep for our next assignment, installing a gate near the trailhead to Owen’s Peak. Again, that was a one-day project, and soon we were getting ready to head off on our next assignment. Thanks Jeff for helping us complete the projects and braving the high winds with us. We really enjoyed your company!
On day 3 Leslie and I headed up to Piper Wilderness with Marty. We are very grateful that Marty took time out of her very busy schedule to help ensure the crew was set up for success. Our task for Piper was to gather information on the status of the wilderness. The BLM intends to use this data to create projects for next year’s DRC crews. For any of you future Corps members out there, don’t worry, we did a solid job. During this part of the hitch we made camp in a beautiful valley near Deep Springs. While we were cooking on our first night we noticed some ominous dust clouds. Slowly, we watched the behemoth cloud make its way toward us. The dust storm was carried in by a (bone-chilling) cold front. Leslie slept in the trailer while I opted for the car (it’s not cheating, it’s using our resources). We survived the night, gaining a nice layer of dirt on everything and enjoyed exploring Piper Wilderness.
The Wild50 team rendezvoused at a secret location somewhere along the 395 to get our Indiana Jones on with archeologists from the Ridgecrest and Bishop offices. As a precursor to AllCorps, we were able to survey a stretch of land for Paiute Shoshone cultural artifacts with our DRC buddies. Since we were relatively close to an obsidian source, we found many obsidian tools. We also found pieces of pottery and beads made of seashells that were traded for obsidian items. Just so you know we are withholding the exact location at the request of our contacts, Ashely and Greg, lest cultural poachers use this blog to figure out where indigenous artifacts are located. Secrets are fun! It was interesting to see the beginning stages of an archeological survey, and we were very fortunate to be part of the experience. Ashely and Greg were super knowledgeable and we were happy to work with them. See you in Bishop, Greg!
The lineup for next hitch is pretty amazing. We’ll get our first taste of Bishop residency at Mule Days. There we will be working hard reppin’ SCA and droppin’ knowledge on the behalf of the BLM. Afterwards, we’ll head down to the Ridgecrest area to hang out with the DRC crews at AllCorps. Stay tuned for Leslie’s report and all the awesome happenings!