We have officially finished our first hitch, and boy do we feel spoiled so far! We spent the last ten days getting to know each other in one of the most beautiful locations with some of the nicest agency contacts in America! I know you may thinking, boy Leah… that is a mighty big exaggeration, but I’m here to tell you how true this statement is. We want to start this blog off by giving a BIG HUGE thank you to the lovely people who keep the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve up and running. These wonderful individuals are- Mr. Dee Zeller, his lovely wife Betty, Bob and Tom. The camping accommodations, the trail work, and the lovely lunch you took us out for was what made our hitch so wonderful. Your kind and genuine ways made our first hitch one that will be unforgettable for sure. We also want to send a big thank you out to Julie Ferris, who is interning with The SCA and the BLM in the area. She came out for a week to help with the trail work, and it really helped make a difference having her helping us with the trail work.
We spent ten days working on the beautiful trail system out here in the canyon. This area is known for its special desert oasis getaway where birders from around the world come to see the many species that call this area their home. We even were lucky enough to join in on a weekly birding event, which made for an excellent environmental education lesson. The knowledge these lovely people had sure filled our brains with new and exciting facts of different birds. This area is also known for its geological features, and unusual rocks in the area. Not many SCA crews can say they stood right on the San Andreas Fault, but we are sure excited to say we did!
The crew worked hard all hitch on the Marsh trail, which is handicapped accessible, upkeeping the trail, and cutting it back to ensure people could safely maneuver and hike through. We were able to build a new bench, fix some signs, fix the edging of the boardwalk, (which is meant to help someone who is blind walk through) and remove some of the overgrown shrubs in the trail. Mr. Zeller informed us that he would chip the brush piles we created and re-use it to mulch his trails. This made us excited and had some of us thinking about our own personal conservation ethics! We spent our nights cooking dinner by headlamps, and diving deep into some riveting Leave No Trace lessons.
We can’t wait to continue our travel through California, as our crew is what is referred to as a “roving” crew. What this means, is that we will be travelling for hitches starting as far south as El Centro, California, and ending as far north as the Oregon border! We are looking forward to meeting more lovely people and can’t wait to get down and dirty doing more trail and restoration work.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks to hear about our next hitch from Ms. Jennifer Renier’s perspective. She will detail our adventures at All Corps, (where we will join forces with our DRC friends) the Sierra Club Desert Committee in Shoshone, and to Salt Creek ACEC for some trail work! Thanks for reading!