This hitch took all four members of Wildcorps to the far reaches of eastern California, Arizona, and for a short while even south of Mexico. Amidst our journey through the far east we were able to monitor 14 water sources, which required on the fly differentiation between old data sets rife with projection error. The sites we monitored required intense 4×4 driving, many miles of hiking, and an overnight backpacking trek. The “roads” (I use the term very loosely) in this area were so washed out and harrowing that at one point our beloved work truck became incapable of traversing a wash which happened to cut right through a designated route. After approximately 7 hours of intense road building, rock moving, and failed attempts at videoing our escape from the clutches of Julian Wash, we managed to turn around and make our way back out through the mouth of the beast.
It was the end of the day and to our dismay less than a klick away we became stuck in the gray. Our tired mount was beaten alas, this vertical washout too steep to surpass—up, up, karumph and down on its ass, a driveshaft sheared by the heft of our mass. Now seriously stuck alone in this wood we tried our best we did what we could, but sticks nor stones could splint the bones of our metal steed, now graciously digging us holes without need—deep, deep in the wash. So we slept in the truck a cold winter night and awoke the next morning without much delight, til o’er the horizon somebody spied two white trucks, blue triangles aside, come to rescue us— save our crippled ride.
Once we were reunited with our remaining truck and trailer, we decided to hoof it to the other side of the mountain to Senator Wash Reservoir North Shore Campground. Other than an obscenely long name, the campground did not offer much more than a vault toilet, amazing sunrises over a lake, and a quizzical look into the life of generally older people who camp in RV’s in areas designated by signs picturing a roadrunner over a snowflake… apparently the BLM takes its snow birds pretty seriously. Mr. Matt Duarte joined us for some backpackage and monitoring in the Indian Pass, Picacho Peak, and Little Picacho Wilderness areas just in time to catch a massive cold front sweeping over the new south from way up in Alaska. Fortunately, the front fronted forty mph winds for only a fraction of a fortnight, and the rest of our monitoring proved relatively uneventful other than the sightings of several owls, a large mountain cat, burros, jackrabbits, lizards, and snowbirds. We were also treated to a hike with BLM ranger Joya to see several natural rock arches and learn about the BLM’s youth initiative in California.
Until next time,