For All-Corps, every crew banded together east of Death Valley, in the wonderful area of Shoshone. We were right next to Tecopa, home of hot springs and a date farm. The day after pre-hitch, we struck out through the desert towards our destination, going south through Barstow and then back up to Tecopa.
Day One consisted of visiting the nearby Dumont sand dunes and a wonderful little hot springs. We walked all over the dunes, and tried (unsuccessfully) to slide down them on cooler lids. After we got all sandy, it was time to sink down and relax at the hot springs. We talked with some of the locals (very nice people), and had a mini-mud fight. Getting out of the water wasn’t fun, though.
On Day Two, we trekked over to the China Ranch Date Farm where we would be working for the next five days. We got a brief introduction, and then got down to business. We were divided into groups of six people, mostly from different crews, and we were all lead by a WildCorps personnel and a member of the Barstow BLM. There were a few different things that each individual crew was doing. We hiked around the perimeter of the date farm clearing the trail up, did trail work along the Amargosa from the north end of Slot Canyon down to the date farm, cleaned up a small trail along the front side of the date farm, and cut back mesquite to make a new trail. It was hard going, but we were rewarded with date shakes at the end of the five days we spent there (go try their date shakes, they’re delicious).
Then, it was time for Jawbone and Rands to go home. Kiavah, Grass Valley, and WildCorps stayed for the Shoshone conference, a group of wilderness activists, members of the BLM, and national park workers. It was a very informative two days, full of different concerns and cheers. For instance, I never knew that wind farms were so problematic!
We got to camp out on a lawn not far from the conference center (grass, sweet grass beneath my feet). They had a library and a hot water pool! It was very fun hanging out with Grass Valley and WildCorps for two extra days, and all too soon, it was time to go home.
Kiavah and Grass Valley drove through the Death Valley National Park, and stopped at Badwater Basin (lowest place in the United States, wow!), the visitor’s center (they had a nice film about Death Valley and its history), Salt Water interpretive trail, and the Artist’s Palette. We even visited a ghost town! Not quite what we thought it would be, but very cool nonetheless.
Finally, we arrived back at home for post-hitch. Everyone’s worn out from a long hitch, but we all had a ton of fun! I can’t wait for next hitch.