Hitch 6 could not come soon enough as Wild Corps began work out of the long anticipated Palm Springs district office. Not only is Palm Springs the closest office to our humble abode in Yucca Valley, it also offers stunning views, outstanding weather, and (debatably) the crew’s favorite vegan restaurant—Native Foods. Before heading out into the field, we spent two days at home preparing for the spectacle that will be the All-Corps Olympics, aka hitch 7. To prepare the other Ridgecrest crews for the games, we bestowed upon them the first film to have ever been nominated for 21 Oscars in the genre-bending phenomenon entitled “The Invitation.” [See below for exclusive behind the scenes shots.]
This hitch, the DubCee had the privilege of doing trail rehabilitation in, yes, I am not kidding, a ZOO. The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden in Palm Desert offers the surrounding communities access to thousands of diverse desert plant species, miles of beautiful hiking trails, and sand cats. In case you didn’t know, the sand cat is like a regular house cat, but with a boxy head and stocky legs, and two million times cuter. While not kicking and screaming because we could not have one of those sand cats for ourselves, we were using our McLeods and rock bars to polish up some of the washed out sections of the 3.5 mile Wilderness Loop (Eisenhower Trail Wilderness Loop)
Historically, the Wilderness Loop has been a popular hiking destination among the Palm Desert community; built about fifty years ago by a group of Boy Scouts with questionable trail building decisions, the trail has long been suffering from heavy erosive forces. So with clear eyes and full hearts, we put our bodies to work to turn severely cupped trails with 2 foot high berms into the sweetest trail you’ve ever laid your Asolos on. From backfilling to backsloping to outsloping to sauerkrautsloping, the Wilderness Loop will now hopefully stand the test of flash floods and heavy use. While the implementation of knicks will help with non-erosive water runoff, the installment of steps will mitigate berm build-up as well as improve safety for the public. I bet your Grammy could even hike this trail in her flippy-floppies.
On the home front, we were fortunate enough to stay at the Ritz-Carlton of all Forest Service campsites: the (read in your head like an old British woman, think Judy Dench in Skyfall) Ribbonwood Equestrian Campground. While previous hitches have involved camping under large power lines in the Palo Verde Mountains Wilderness, or a different set of large power lines in the Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness, Ribbonwood had a stunning array tables, fire pits, and yes, again, I kid you not, a bathroom with hot showers. Although most members only indulged in the controlled deluge once or twice, we were grateful for the option, and forever thankful to those kind BLM souls who convinced someone to let us desert rats sleep on their fine soil.
The inauguration of the President coincided with Wild Corps’ inauguration of The Green Monster, an animal whose picture should be placed on the walls of every government building right next to the big man himself. The Green Monster, to all ye front country folk, is a large 10-man-Army-Surplus-Arctic tent that can very comfortably fit 4 people in the cold desert night. After the whirlwind rain-dance required to set up the Monstruo Verde under the leadership of DRC pro Matt Duarte, Wild Corps rejoiced in a week long inaugural ball that involved a hearty buffet of peanut-based dishes, Joni Mitchell’s “California” on repeat, and philosophical discussions about the mythology behind the Celtic cave-dwelling creature Anna Kendrick Lamar.
Some other highlights of hitch 6 include: opening up one’s pup tent to a snowy winter wonderland after working in the hot desert sun the previous day, Kettle brand Honey Dijon chips, sand cats, dried mango, the wonderful Canadian woman who called us “Angels” for improving the Wilderness Loop, all the other Canadian women who commended us for our work, aaaand sand cats.
Wild Corps Peace Out
SIDEWINDER aka Scottie