An Englishman Visits the Mojave
Disclaimer: These journal entries are an exaggerated account of the hardships faced by the DRC. Contrary to the following passages, we do in fact have fun on hitch (look at the pictures).
And here we are again. Five brave and foolish souls cast out to the very edge of the Mojave Desert. Upon our arrival we are immediately bombarded with sweltering temperatures, a carpet of bushes and cacti brandishing thorns and spines as big as railroad spikes, and enough venomous rattlesnakes hiding behind every rock to make one feel as though they are in the bowels of heck itself. We hastily set up our one and only shelter. Albeit quite paltry, you must understand that this canvas tent is our singular safe-haven in the center of an abyss of death. We attempt to sleep, but are haunted with post-traumatic nightmares of wind, violently swirling around in our restless minds.
The work begins. We try to force our bodies to adjust to the environment, but we soon realize that we are no match for the Mojave. The day crawls along and just when we think we can’t take any more heat, the sun climbs higher in the sky and beats down harder every minute. Sometimes I feel as though we are in some covert experiment to test the limits of the human body. We weren’t people that day, just ants, compelled by forces unknown, laboring endlessly under the broiler of a boundless oven.
The work continues. I am too tired to write.
There is mercy in this cruel desert. Today we were graced by cloud cover, allowing us to enjoy bearable temperatures for at least a few hours. Alas, nothing goes unpunished here. The winds begin to show signs of movement, and there is little doubt in my mind that tonight will bring us an abrupt awaking to the double edged sword that is the Mojave Desert. Sleep will not come.
To my grateful surprise, the winds were relatively tolerable last night, bringing in another day of soul crushing heat. As I have come to learn though, this was probably just the warning shot before indescribable heat is unleashed across this landscape. It is unnaturally calm as I close my eyes tonight.
The wind came in the middle of the night. Pounding at my tent and relentlessly swirling a layer of sand and dust over my face and sleeping bag. The wind has remained steady throughout the day. We attempt to work but only find ourselves tumbling every which way to the whims of the desert gales.
Can it be that today is my birthday? That is what my crew members tell me at least. Perhaps it is just a lie we tell ourselves to bring us back to the reality of an amiable life from long ago. Thankfully, we are surprise visited by the other crew of wretched souls who have been enduring a few canyons over. We celebrate as best we can. They head back to their camp just as the desert releases all of its fury.
To attempt to put into words the horrors of the wrath of lasts night’s wind would be pointless. I feel weak and frightened. Today I have cringed at every gust of wind I hear in the distance. How can one feel bearable in a place that pasteurizes itself of life during the day and blows away their remains at night?
We have only one more day out here and words fail me. All I have left is a glimmer of hope at the end of this nightmare.
I have never felt so relieved in my life. Last night we witnessed a Godsend. A breathtaking lunar eclipse was the desert’s consolation prize. At first it seemed like a reward for surviving it’s ferocity for ten days, but I eventually realized it was a mere warning for us to get out today, or to never get out at all.
Somehow through all this torment we were still able to get our work accomplished:
Sites Restored – 7
Square Meters Restored – 2608
Vertical Mulch Planted – 536