WE ALL WORKED IN RANDS! This hitch was especially special because it was the first hitch we spent the majority of our time doing restoration! Yes!
It started with Thanksgiving. We spent the day in the field, a morning and afternoon of restoration. The Rands mountain area is a big wide place; the air is clear and crisp; the ground is full of colorful rock. So how could we not feel thankful for and humbled by such Happy November? We returned to Ridgecrest in the evening, and fed our bodies a feast of favorite family recipes: stuﬃng, potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casseroles, green bean casseroles, rolls, turkeys, cranberry sauces, roasted vegetables, macaroni and cheese, pies, more pies, and chocolate-covered strawberries! So much love and heart sparkles and so many full stomachs! The day—from morning to night—felt like a grateful celebration for the earth and for each other, and it was a beautiful start to the hitch.
Tradition brings families of OHV riders out each Thanksgiving. During our first weekend of hitch, the Rands area was crowded with OHVers. On Black Friday, our team split into small groups and did public outreach with the BLM. In a day of passing out permits and educating riders about the importance of staying on designated roads, we talked to more than 400 people. These introductions were important since, for many of us, they were our first personal interactions with the people that use these lands. They learned about us while we learned about them and we all bonded over the stunning landscape we share. Back to the field for the remainder of hitch, we arrived with a broadened perspective on the work we do and the people it affects.
In the field the next six days, we felt November turn into December. Winter came with strong winds and dust and below-freezing temperatures. We kept warm and maintained a Thanksgiving mindset. We restored ten incursions, and worked on an eleventh. Gifts from the “Rands Gods” abounded. (We found lots of whole plants already uprooted and we put those ones right back in the ground— See picture below.) Through all the blasts of wind, our meals wouldn’t have been complete without a sprinkling of desert seasoning, aka sand. Despite, we ate very, very well. Undeniably, “Muy deliciouso.”
The tail of hitch ended with a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, where we attended a volunteer event. We, and maybe 20 other volunteers, helped plant 250 live plants in only a morning’s work. Hoorah!
Written by Grace Graham