Twenty Two Days of Randal

— Fast Five and Septoberfest — The story of the 2011-12 Rands Crew has begun in grand style. The six volunteers converged on the desert from all ends of the Western Hemisphere on the thirteenth of September and got right into the swing of things. The crewmembers introduced themselves and moved into their rooms; then we started the long and exciting process of getting to know each other and creating this community we’ll all share for the next nine months. Once everyone was settled, we headed out into the Rand Mountains for a few nights to get acquainted with our new home away from home away from home. We had fantastic weather, camped out under copious stars at night and hiked around during the day. We even discovered a new recipe while we were out there; gado gado – the corps favorite composed of stir fry in a spicy peanut sauce – only now served over pan fried potatoes. It was a big hit and is sure to be repeated throughout the season. We also got some solid work done, including ratifying our crew’s community contract and learning about our vehicles and the norms of camp life. Who knew you had to be taught how to go to the bathroom in the desert? After our first five days of orientation, we all packed up our tools and gear and headed up to Great Falls Basin for corps member training. All the DRC crews were in attendance; the Ridgecrest crews of Owens Peak, Golden/Grass Valley, Jawbone, and the Randals, plus Wildcorps came all the way up from Yucca Valley to join in the fun. The crew members were trained in DRC field operating standards, off road 4x4 driving and constructive community dynamics. Then began a nine day course with Aerie EMT trainers to certify the members as wilderness first responders (and CPR!). After those intense seventeen days of camping out and training together, the crews came together to share another minute together and come together in a sweet and stinky group hug. At that point, each crew packed up camp and scattered to the winds to begin their seasons for real. Jack