Project Leader: Natalie R. Wilson Project Dates: Sept. 28, 2010 to May 17, 2011 Email: email@example.com Phone: 760-608-2256 Address: 300 S. Richmond Ave, Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Our hitch began, like every other, with a list of tasks and duties to fulfill and complete-food packing, shopping for additional food items, preparing food for the field, and packing our personal items and trailer with all the necessary gear and equipment needed for 10 days out. Additionally, we replaced a valve stem on our Suburban, which had been causing us problems. Unlike a typical hitch however, once all of our duties and tasks were completed, we did not head directly into the Rand Mountains, but instead made our way south toward Yucca Valley, where we stayed at the Wildcorps House for the night. The next couple of days ahead of us were to be devoted to Leave No Trace (LNT) Training in Joshua Tree National Park.
Day two marked day one of LNT Training. We spent the better part of the day in a classroom setting, going over logistics and getting tips from our instructors, Jamie Weleber and Darren Gruetze, on how to give an engaging and effective lesson. Out LNT training, which covers seven different LNT principles, was divided among us, each with a topic to teach to the group. Day two consisted of further instruction on how to teach effectively and also gave each of us additional time to fine tune and work on our LNT presentations. The weather was warm and our spirits were high. After a presentation of the first LNT principle, Plan Ahead and Prepare, by our Project Leader Natalie Wilson, we finally made our way out and into Joshua Tree National Park, where we set up camp under the mid-afternoon sun. Shortly there-after Jordan Albright presented her LNT principle: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. The remaining daylight hours were ours to explore, rest, read, and spend as we wish.
Among the calling birds and the rising sun we stirred from our slumbers and began the final day of LNT Training. Sadly, it was our last day in Joshua Tree National Park. The entire day was spent covering the remaining LNT principles. The morning started with Jack Fahey’s principle: Dispose of Waste Properly. Leading into the next, Michael Marchetti gave his presentation on: Leaving What You Find. From this point we packed up camp and moved farther up the road to Rattle Snake Canyon, where Sarah Brown presented her topic: Minimize Campfire Impacts. Around the noon hour we had some down time and so we all used the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. A stream, to our surprise, flowed nearby and in it croaking frogs could be heard echoing their songs among the canyon walls.
The remaining hours of the day wrapped up the last LNT presentations: Respect Wildlife, presented by Sophia Good and finally, Be Considerate of Others, presented by Jut Canniff. Before calling it a day, we circled up and had a discussion about Wildland Ethics-What it means and how we as a group might define the term. By evening we were back in Yucca Valley, for one more night in the Wildcorps House.
Day four was mostly travel. Three hours north into the El Paso Mountains, we made a stop at the Burrow Schmidt Tunnel, where Jut Canniff presented Part I of his Environment Education piece, titled: Mining History in the Northern Mojave Region. Due to a late return back to Ridgecrest it was decided we would sleep in house and head back out into the Rand Mountains first thing the next morning.
Day five began with one crew member sick. Because Natalie needed to stay in town for 2 days, it was decided that the five of us would head out, giving Sophia time to rest. Our day got interesting from here. Before we arrived at our new camp site we found ourselves stuck in sand and had to use the High-lift Jack and some ingenuity to get ourselves out. Finally we made our way to a new campsite, set up camp, and spent the rest of the afternoon breaking ground on a new incursion site, off R83.
Days six through eight were more of the same. Natalie and Sophia returned to the join us on day seven, along with Steve Gomez from the BLM, and by the end of day eight, we had completed 4 incursions as a crew. Glenn Harris visited us in the morning on day eight to share his wealth of knowledge about the natural and human history of the area, joined by Steve Gomez as well, each employees of the BLM.
Our final day of work was spent monitoring 18 miles of fence line and exploring a fault line on the south side of the El Paso Mountains.
Hitch Nine was a great experience, full of surprises and adventure, work and play. The desert community is coming alive. The wildflowers are blooming, creatures are stirring from a long winters slumber, and the weather couldn’t be more pleasant (despite the two days of heavy, cooler wind we received). Spring has sprung and all of us are elated and happy to see the desert show us Her colors.
Incursions Completed: 4
Linear Meters Restored: 407
Area Restored (m2): 729 sq. m
Vertical Mulch: 45
Seed Pits: 38