The Beginning and the End in the Middle- Hitch Six

Hitch Six brought the Rands crew to a milestone in the DRC season, reaching the midpoint of our time in the Mojave as well as the last hitch in cooperation with the Transitional Habitat Conservancy(THC) . A move to a new campsite North of Freemont Peak provided breathtaking sunrises which a few hours later melted away the chilling January mornings. After only two days of restoration the work plan was completed, leaving the crew to revisit all of the polygons to monitor the sites for restoration effectiveness. Equipped with our rugged Dodge Ram 2500’s the Rands crew set out to visit the 16 THC polygon land parcels where restoration had closed incursions as part of a multi-crew effort in conjunction with the Jawbone crew. In the process the crew had the opportunity to visit a number of areas where only Jawbone had completed work, invigorating the spirit of adventure or as the crew would say, “ ‘sploring”. Rands found ways to make the days of long, jostling, and sometimes hair-raising commutes to the incursion sites enjoyable. We even discovered some curious desert souvenirs along the way. 73 Effectiveness Monitoring points later and the Rands crew completed the monitoring component of hitch and work in the THC was in the books. Evaluating restoration provided insights into how the work fared over time and ultimately validated the months of hard work. The analysis required the crew to take a step back from the paradigm of restoration and see the sites as components of a greater area and envision OHV traffic from a different perspective. While the work in the THC took the Rands crew away from its home in the Rands Mountains Management Area , it provided new challenges and strengthened the work skills in different terrain and vegetation. As the crew packed up camp and made its final trip to California 395 on Fremont-Peak road the story of the Rands 2012-2013 was half written, with great anticipation to return “home” to the Rands area and the opportunity to work with the other crews at the All-Corps hitches. -By Noah Creany