We just got back from Hitch 3, where we found ourselves on our own for the ﬁrst time – just the ﬁve of us in the Rands! It was our ﬁrst time experiencing peer leadership and its new freedoms and challenges, as well as the new dynamics of a small crew. On the Rands crew was Dan, Hailee, Tori, Kyle, and me, Natalie, as Hitch-Leader. We started off pre-hitch by cooking some last-minute foods, grocery shopping, navigating through a few small bumps in the road, and ﬁnally setting up camp. We spent our ﬁrst ﬁeld day ﬁnishing up an incursion from hitch 2; a huge hill-climb that was already shaping up to look pretty awesome when we left the ﬁeld!
After our ﬁrst long day in the ﬁeld, we cooked one of many delicious meals. Our CSA boxes were loaded with broccoli, carrots, acorn and butternut squashes, green beans, chard, turnips, and other delicious vegetables. Hailee roasted turnips and made a fantastic carrot soup, Dan cooked a spicy veggie chili, Tori toasted cheesy vegetable sandwiches, Kyle killed it with pita pizzas, and I conquered quesadillas.
Our ﬁrst new incursion was pretty intimidating: another long hill-climb that met up with a previous incursion at the top of the hill. The view from up there never gets old! There’s a clear view of red, sandy mountains and deep valleys, as well as some faraway snow-capped peaks. Stunning! I presented my environmental education topic (Erosion) once Stephanie arrived so that we could all make sure we had a ﬁrm grasp on building the erosion-control structures necessary for the steep slopes we’re working with. We spent two days working our little Desert Rat tails off on some steep incursions doing erosion control, resulting in a total of 3 rock water bars and 6 grade reversals! Our last day in the ﬁeld was also extremely productive. We ﬁnished three incursions in just one day, and we all felt awesome!
In addition to working super hard to conceal our incursions and learning a lot about erosion, we had an unfortunate incident where a cheesebush impaled our truck tire. Luckily, 4x4 training prepared us for just this moment. Once we changed the tire, we plugged the hole, and it’s been holding air ever since. We also made some changes to our basic calendar. For the next 8 months, there’s no such thing as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday; there’s Marchday, Aprilday, Mayday, Juneday, Julyday, Augustday, Septemberday, Octoberday, Novemberday, Decemberday, Saturdays, and Sunday. This new schedule much more accurately reﬂects our 10-day on, 5-day off work schedule. With that said, we’re all really looking forward to our long Saturdays for the winter break. Most of us will be going home and spending a well-deserved break with our families and friends from home!