Wild50 2014 Crew
Hitch 8 was our ﬁnal time working in the desert! The Wildcorps crew was lucky enough to spend the ﬁrst half of the hitch hanging out with mules in Bishop, CA before performing our ﬁnal days of work in the desert alongside all of our DRC friends.
We were all extremely stoked to work at Bishop’s annual Mule Days, which attracts thousands of people to the area each Memorial Day weekend. The festival features competitions that show off the skills, agility and characteristics of mules, public outreach activities that aim to educate children and young adults about the wonders of mule packing, one of the longest non-motorized parades in the world, and, of course, gastronomic delicacies galore. While in Bishop, our crew worked with Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service at a booth, where we conducted public outreach on SCA opportunities and mission, Wildcorps projects, and the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. We even got to walk in the parade, carrying tools to represent the SCA while sandwiched between two Forest Service mule trains. Some other fun and interesting experiences we had involved wearing a full body Pronghorn Antelope costume and assisting kids with crosscut saws as they cut “cookies” from a Jeffrey Pine and Lodgepole Pine at a booth led by the Backcountry Horsemen of California and partnered with crew leaders from the American Conservation Experience. Being in Bishop for Mule Days made the crew even more excited to move up to the area for our ﬁrst month of trail season!
For the second half of hitch 8, we joined our friends from the other DRC crews in the Rands Mountain Wilderness for the end of season Allcorps ‘Restorathlete Olympics.’ The Wildcorps crew was dispersed among ﬁve teams representing various “countries.” I led the bonny people of Ireland, which included Dan, Matt, and Anne. Some highlights from Allcorps include creating a garish ﬂag for our team that included the Lucky Charms marshmallow shapes and an “Amateur Sketch” of a leprechaun (Anybody who seen a leprechaun say YEAAAHH!), cooking “ethnic” foods each night to share with the DRC masses, and competing in various activities that tested our athletic skills to a certain extent each day.
As far as work goes, the crews spent each day performing restoration work on OHV incursions in the wilderness. Many a dead plant was re-planted that week. After work, we all ventured back to the DRC camp to escape the heat under the shade of a large yucca that was a little too friendly with more than a few people. Some were poked in various places, but everyone appreciated the respite from the sunlight.
My personal favorite parts of Allcorps involved playing all sorts of songs on guitars, ukeleles, banjo, tin whistle, harmonica, vocal chords with some of the lovely people I’ve had the good fortune to meet through this program. The jams were legendary, as per usual, and I will not soon forget the joy they brought me.
While at Allcorps, we all enjoyed our last nights under the desert sky, which was clear and full of stars each night, and meteorites too! In my opinion, one of the nicest ways to fall asleep in the desert involves looking at the night sky, searching for meteorites and satellites, with the silhouette of yuccas on the horizon. Now we DRCers will split up and head to our respective summer trail season locales. As I mentioned earlier, Wildcorps will begin our summer season in one of our collective favorite places, Bishop, California, which is one of the most beautiful and recreationally diverse parts of the Eastern Sierra. Though we aren’t completely certain what speciﬁc types of work the next few hitches will include, we are so excited to work and play in and around Bishop for the next month before heading to the coast!