Into the Field and Out of the Field. Desert Crew Hitch 4

Restoration and Chainsaw Training

Back at it! 

The wilderness crew was all back in Ridgecrest save for Elisa who had been waylaid by Hercules, that bitter winter storm, likely bitter because we were all returning to 60 degree days of sunshine. While we lamented Elisa’s absence, we jumped right into a work meeting with our BLM to discuss our plans to work with the Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP).  Next day we headed toward the southern boundary of Grass Valley to repair some signs and do some restoration. 

Into the Field: We finished repainting the two cleverly vandalized ‘Grass Valley Wilderness’ signs on the southern boundary, and started restoring around the second one before having to call it for the day to start on dinner.  We were on a tight timeline to get back to Ridgecrest to prepare for the S212 Wildland Fire Chainsaws course. We cooked dinner under the open sky and had breakfast at 6 AM. We polished off that incursion in the morning, took lunch and put a band aid of restoration on the other end of it to hide it from any quick glances before heading home to Ridgecrest for dinner.

Out of the Field: The next 4 days were spent learning how to maintain our chainsaws, bucking and felling trees smaller than 12 inches in diameter and hanging out with the adorable cat that lives at the Salt Wells Fire Station.  We were on a very different schedule than our typical field days, having a later start and an earlier end to the training.  We made good use of the extra time at the end of the days to fix our trailer lighting and getting the field caches more organized. Our next stint in the field would only be two nights long. 

Into the Field: Hercules was finally willing to say goodbye to Elisa and part ways with her on the last day of chainsaw training, perfect timing for her to come out to the field with us and finish our restoration at the sign, paint another cleverly vandalized sign, and do more effectiveness monitoring in the Golden Valley Wilderness Area. 

The restoration went by much quicker with our fifth member back on the crew, and we were able to knock out a large denuded area between our first 2 incursions the first day of our minicamp adventure.  We swept away all traces of our steps and vehicle tracks, collected some GPS data, and headed towards Golden Valley while pounding some “Fence Ahead” signs as we drove along our fence repairs from hitch 2. 

The Golden Valley effectiveness monitoring sites turned out to all be in excellent condition, but we touched up the aging Wilderness Area sign to make it look as pretty as possible despite the mandatory bullet holes that seem to appear in signs. 

Out of the field: We headed back home this morning, to clean up and become civilized once again.  This hitch has been an odd one for the wilderness crew; like fish out of water we were a crew out of wilderness.  We learned some useful skills and worked hard when we could, but we all missed being simple in the desert. 

 

The hitch 4 Desert crew consisted of Rurik as Hitch Leader, Pat, Georgia, Maryanne, and Elisa.  We monitored 11 sites for restoration effectiveness, restored 1,344 m2 of incursions, and four of us received our S212 Wildland Chainsaw training.  Good hitch. 

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