Season Review During the 2012-2013 season, the Jawbone crew completed a whopping 16,140 square meters of restoration across three polygons in Jawbone. The crew restored 76 incursion sites and planted 3703 vertical mulch bushes over the season. The crew also Site effeteness monitored over 250 sites of past restoration. The crew also spent three hitches working near the Fremont/Kramer Junction Area doing restoration for the Transition Habitat Conservancy. Restoration work in Jawbone can be both physically and mentally challenging due to the unpredictability and intensity of the weather as well as potential for monotony in the work, but the crew did a great job of managing these circumstances.<br>Thank Yous On behalf of the Jawbone crew, I’d like to thank all the BLM Ridgecrest staff who contributed to our successful season. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the immense amount of time, support, effort, and tasty treats Dana Jacobs dedicated to the Jawbone and Rands crews this season. I’d also like to thank Craig Beck for overseeing the projects and being supportive of the needs of the crew. Many thanks to the Salt Wells Fire Station and Don Washington for S-212 Chainsaw training, and Jason Woods for ATV Safety Training. We are greatly appreciative of all that the BLM staff has done to make our season so wonderful. Conservation Work Totals Restoration Sites Restored 76 Sites Monitored 80 Line of Site Meters Restored 7447 Square Meters Restored 16140 Polygons Restored 0 Vertical Mulch (#) 3703 Seed Pits (#) 3703
Welcome to hitch #11! Our final hitch before the end of the season and Chorefest. We were all very excited to victoriously end our season by meeting both our restoration and effectiveness monitoring quotas. We celebrated with a trip to Sand Canyon to hike around, hunt for, and identify wildflowers. During the hike, we found some obsidian arrowheads and stopped for lunch under a lone pine tree with ample shade. Silly Corinne got pine needles stuck in her pants, which was quite a sight. After our hike, the boys went to the water hole for a swim to cool off. The next day was spent in Portuguese Canyon assisting Ashley, the BLM archaeologist, in recording data about milling sites and obsidian artifacts that were used for tools by Native Americans. The big event, however, of this hitch was the final Allcorps hosted by the grassholes on their turf. With only two hitches left in the season, the grassholes were given a ginormous fencing project, a whopping 3.5 miles! The entire DRC was called upon to come to their rescue, like Rohan to Gondor. The days were long and hot, the sun tested our strength with temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s. Our BLM contact, Dana Jacobs, was kind enough to relieve us with everything from ice to Gatorade to keep us safe and comfortable. She even jumped in to give us some hands-on help with the fencing project. For the Jawbone crew, fencing was an entirely new experience but it was a welcome change to our usual restoration. Although we were new to the fencing game, we still managed to learn quickly and helped out as much as we could. You’re welcome, grassholes.By the end of the four days in the heat, we were sweaty and dusty from the dry lake bed. After getting back home and having a welcome shower, we all gathered at Dana’s house for a pizza and a pool party. She was kind enough to open her home to 30-some desert dirtbags. Thank you, Dana. It was a refreshing end to the work we did at Allcorps.XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO,Suradee Thongkiattikul and Corinne Dagmar Erickson
Hitch 10 
Our planned work has nearly run out for us, but luckily we had several other events to occupy us this hitch. The first was helping with the Sand Canyon Environmental Education Program (SEEP). Over several weeks, fourth grade students from area schools have a field to visit Sand Canyon to learn about the natural history of the area. Groups of students rotate through several stations set up in the canyon. In them, students learn about birds, plants, aquatics, and archaeology. Most students were especially thrilled to catch a glimpse of the Red-tailed Hawk that was nesting in the canyon.
Soon after SEEP, all of the DRC crews united to see the petroglyphs on the China Lake Naval Base. After undergoing a thorough search by military police, we were allowed onto the base. An hour long drive brought us to the canyon where all of the petroglyphs were located. Immediately upon entering the canyon, we were surrounded by petroglyphs. Every rock face seemed to have something chiseled into it. Our guides offered many explanations as to what the images were. These ranged from aliens to shamans to rams to medicine bags. Many were definitely aliens.
Our final foray was to the Maturango Museum for the annual wildflower festival. Docents of the museum had travelled all over nearby canyons to gather specimens of everything in bloom. We had seen many of them during work, but now we could put a name and family to the flowers; definitely the most helpful way to learn plants. We were also told by the docents that flowers this year are even worse than last year. The desert seems to be getting drier and drier.
The rest of our days on hitch were spent attending to the usual tasks of restoration and effectiveness monitoring. However, after closing an incursion that was already half finished, we reached our goal outlined in the grant. One of the trucks also had an exhilarating ride while monitoring. While marveling at the rampant destruction caused by OHV use in the Dove Springs Area, Andy began to tell us a tale of his 4x4 training. Pointing out the steep hill climbs, he told us of his instructor who tried to drive up a similarly steep hill and failed. Not even halfway up, his jeep began to slide down. Later on, Matt was descending a hill that at first seemed very manageable and nothing to worry about. Luckily, Andy suggested putting the truck in 4 low. A very wise call since the road seemed to drop off the side of cliff. As the wheels dropped, everything in the truck slid down with gravity. It felt as though the truck would flip over if the road became any steeper. This did not happen though and we survived only losing control of the truck and sliding off the road for a moment. Turns out, this was same hill that the 4x4 instructor failed to climb. Earlier in the hitch, we had another terrifying and exciting encounter with a Mojave Green Rattlesnake. Matt nearly ran it over, but Corinne spotted it basking in the road just in time.
Hitch was a success; we all survived and are ready for the final All-Corps that is on the way.
Hitch 9 
What a diverse hitch! The first six days of the hitch were devoted to the wonders of site-effectiveness monitoring. We split up into two crews and monitored incursions that were completed by the Jawbone crew in 2004. It literally consisted of us driving to each incursion and taking a point on the Trimble. Although it was very monotonous, Matt, Emlyn, and I were fortunate enough to monitor in a very beautiful area consisting of seas of Joshua Trees and some pinion pines. The other crew was not so lucky and was in an area that had been decimated by OHV use and on one occasion had to work near power lines. Hopefully, their exposure to radiation was limited.
This hitch provided us with some of the most powerful winds that we have endured this year. The climax of the wind was returning to camp one day. Just before we arrived to camp, we saw someone’s Thermarest mattress in a bush a few hundred yards from camp. We knew this was not a good sign. Once we got back to camp, we had the realization that Corinne’s tent had literally exploded as well as her personal bin leaving the camp littered with her belongings. After an hour of search and rescue, we were able to round up most of Corinne’s items, undergarments and all.
The saving grace of site-effectiveness monitoring was being graced with the presence of Keith and his ranch. Keith is an 88 year old man that lives on a beautiful ranch in a pristine area of the Mojave Desert. His house was filled with hundreds of books on birds, and although he hated technology and computers, he had a flat screen television and Direct TV. Matt described Keith as a mixture of Aldo Leopold and Henry David Thoreau. We really enjoyed his company and the time on his ranch taking in the scenery of trees, birds, and the creek that ran through his property. This short blog post does not do Keith justice.
The last part of our hitch involved the crew being certified to teach Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. LNT training took place in Joshua Tree National Park under the leadership of the almighty Matt Duarte. This consisted of us backpacking through Joshua Tree with each crew member presenting on an LNT principle.
Since my last blog post, I have acquired all 151 Pokémon. They are my best friends in a world we must defend!
Hitch 8 
The Mojave has been in the midst of a grand flux these last months. The winter’s determined silence has been finally broken by bird song and the thumpings and rustlings of those amongst the shrubs. The lizards were perhaps the first to join the birds in spring celebrations, pattering from their subterranean abodes to luxuriate in the sunshine and all seventy of the degrees. Jack rabbits have returned to quiver beneath the white bursage, poised to explode from invisibility at full tilt at the approach of clumsy steps. Even the darkling beetles have surfaced to continue their endless wanderings, butts ever pointed skyward. There is new grass beneath the hop sage, and a subtle green has settled onto the plain.
All of this nature business sets quite a stage for our daily restoration. After six sweet days in Jawbone we had come to the very end of our work schedule, such efficiency! We hiked Bird Springs Pass in celebration, getting our first glimpse of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Canada to Mexico. Grandiose thoughts and dreams inspired by that historic route were shattered by a two day enslavement in the Rands Mountains. In a final desperate act of rebellion we fled to the Panamint Valley at dawn of the third day. Looking out for our winged friends, the Inyo California Towhee, we hiked the wind-torn Southern slopes capping mining pipes that are enticing but deadly nesting places for native birds. Matt then led us to a retired onyx mind for some rock hounding, what a blast!
Our display of solidarity made quite an impression on our oppressors and on our third and final day in the Rands area we actually had the privilege of working in conjunction with the dastardly crew. On the subject of evil men, Jawbone watched Polansky’s Chinatown and delved into the world of Western water politics this rainy Friday. All’s well that ends well.
Hitch 7- Allcorps 
For mid-season Allcorps, all five crews camped together outside of the tiny town of Tecopa (population 10, according to the road sign). Jawbone caravanned with Kiavah and Grass Valley for the four hour journey to the campsite. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a desert wetland site where we took some time to stretch our legs and explore the seemingly oxymoronic landscape. That evening upon arriving at our campsite, a flat area surrounded by two ravines, the crews set up whitewalls, green monsters, and personal tents. One challenge of this flat area with little vegetation, where the line of site goes on for miles, was finding places to put the rocket boxes. A clever team of members was able to hide them down in the wash beside the road, a ten minute walk from the crowded camp. The system was so clever that some felt we needed a treasure map in order to locate the latrines.
The day after we arrived we went on a couple field trips. First we went to the Dumont Dunes, deposited on a dry lake bed between lines of mountains. The great white mounds seem out of place and surreal standing in contrast to the surrounding mountains. Here we climbed and rolled, burrowed and buried, sledded and Frisbee-ed. We emerged covered in sand and ready to rinse off at the Tecopa hot springs. The springs were luxuriously warm in comparison to the brisk air and there were only a few naked people at this spring. Some chose to go all out and cover their entire bodies with the muddy substrate from the bottom of the pool, and for those of us who attempted to avoid mud to face contact as much as possible were out of luck. Mud fights soon broke out, and no bystander was spared hits from the crossfire. In true dirtbag form, we kicked off the week of not showering by rolling in sand then bathing in the thick sulfurous mud of the springs.
On Monday we started work at the China Ranch Date Farm, a farm with hiking trails that lead onto BLM land. We scrambled crews, dividing into pods that rotated throughout the week so that everyone had an opportunity to work on a variety of different trail projects. The trail projects included building foot bridges over a submerged, mucky trail; building rock erosion-control walls on hillsides; building rock staircases in hillsides; and everyone’s favorite project, the mesquite “tunnel of love”. The mesquite tunnel involved forging a new trail through a solid tangled web of thorny mesquite tree branches. Two groups worked on either end of the trail clearing the thorny webs of strong wood, trying to link up the two sides of the trail and meet in the middle. Each day, the pods who’d been battling with the mesquite were known by the fresh scratches riddling their forearms and faces. For those on the front line swamping behind the chainsaws, the scratches were worse and the level of exhaustion higher. But at the end of the day, they were hailed as brave heroes. The trail work for the week was a new brand of work for many of us- more physical than we’re used to, but very satisfying in that there’s a very visible product at the end of the long day.
Life at camp during Allcorps was a lively change for the Jawbone crew. This was the first time the entire Corps was back together since Septoberfest, and four months into the program the group feels small and the atmosphere familiar, in contrast to the whirlwind of new faces from the first days of training. Members spent evenings after work playing hacky-sack, making music, exercising, playing cribbage, and reading. The themed dinners planned by Wildcorps were potluck style, with members travelling from tent to tent to sample the creations from all five crews. Some were able to master the art of hitting all five tents- a careful balance of eating while travelling and collecting the most popular meals before they were ravaged. Some found the ordeal entirely too stressful and stuck to visiting just a couple tents each night. One theme night for dinner was a chili cook-off between four crews with Wildcorps members judging. Chef Matt and sou chef Cee brought home the gold for Jawbone, a free stay at the Yucca Valley crew house resort as long as we do Scott’s laundry, with their expert culinary skills.
We left the Allcorps site on the morning of the 15th and drove back to Ridgecrest with the Rands crew. On the return journey, we took the scenic route through Death Valley National Park. Driving through the vast, breathtaking landscape was a great way to conclude the Allcorps experience. We were able to drive by some famous sites, such as the lowest elevation point in the country, Telescope Peak, and the mesquite sand dunes.
For the last couple days of our hitch, we underwent the stark transition from boulder heaving and tree limb-dragging to outreach with the BLM. President’s weekend is a very popular time for families to camp and enjoy a couple days of riding, so it is a prime time for outreach. We teamed up with the Rands crew and BLM officers at stations in the Jawbone and Rands recreation areas handing out maps of the area and signing OHV permits. It was a good way to rest our aching muscles after a week of hard trail work.
Hitch 6 
The halfway hitch, or Hitch #6, was different from day one. We found ourselves back at our old SC88 campsite, which was familiar from both First Five and Septoberfest. Ensconced with us at the rocky site was the Kiavah Crew, who also had work in the area. We enjoyed their rambunctious company throughout hitch; sharing cookie recipes, playing Hide-and-Seek and Cards Against Humanity, and shamelessly borrowing numerous kitchen necessities. To cement our friendship we also helped each other with work! One day, Kiavah aided us in completing restoration on two obscenely long hill climbs, and a few days later we learnt how to do hard barriers and set up bollards with them.
Weather was a significant factor in these 12 days. The climate gods, indecisive as ever, threw first a few frigid nights at us. Nothing we couldn’t handle, as a crew situated in such a volatile place as Jawbone. This was followed by two days of rain, which on the last night froze into snow. All of that was seemingly forgotten, as the next days were remembered only for the vicious, bitter winds that tore through fleeces and turned vegging trips into full-on chilly battles with dead branches. And, in the last two days, the gods mocked our traumatised, confused selves with bright, cloudless skies and temperatures almost hitting 70.
We all struggled to cope, but our beloved truck 9005 was having the most serious issues. After work one day, one of its tyres decided to deflate for no apparent reason. Battling the wind and cold, four Jawbone members bravely put their tyre-changing abilities to the test. It was successful, but poor 9005’s problems were far from over. A few days later, we were excited to spend a day volunteering at the Audubon Society Preserve and then visit some hot springs. We sat in the trucks at an early hour, defying the cold weather with our enthusiasm, when 9005 decided it did not feel like starting. After an attempt at jump-starting it, the problem was revealed to be more complex. Our self-sacrificing PL Andy bravely stayed with our truck, while the six members piled into 9001 for our day of fun.
At the Audubon Preserve, we got to experience live restoration, which was something of a revelation to such vertical mulch experts. We also implemented irrigation, which was definitely new material for us. Our work, already interesting, and in such a beautiful area (trees!) was only improved by the two boxes of snacks provided. After a pleasant time and many promises of returning, we headed out to the elusive hot springs supposedly in the area. Most of us had never visited any sort of hot springs, so it was with excitement and apprehension that we examined the rough map and somewhat bizarre directions, following winding roads and searching for landmarks like a power plant and a telephone pole you could drive around. Eventually, we parked in a lot with a fabulously painted school bus, and walked down to the springs. Situated directly next to a river, the springs themselves were quite enjoyable, although it is true that any immersion in water seems nice for desert-dwellers like us. The experience was made somewhat bizarre by the abundance of naked hippies present, one of whom we aptly called demented Santa. He decided to lecture us about our current volunteer positions, and eventually attempted to goad us into an argument about whether or not there are more roads now than 30 years ago. It was a day to remember.
We ended our hitch with good weather and better spirits. A headlight strobe rave broke out after our lantern was temperamental, and was followed by a highly amusing session of star tipping. A campfire with Kiavah made our hitch complete, and we left feeling dirty, exhausted, ready for break, and satisfied with our work. Or in other words, like the best sort of dirtbags there are.
Hitch 5 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
This was our first hitch of 2013 after coming back from a nice Christmas break. This hitch was slightly different from our other ones; we actually got to stay in our house eveHry night! You know what that means? Nice warm showers, a cozy kitchen to cook in that doesn’t require lighting the lantern, indoor plumbing, and the handy dandy internet that provides hours of entertainment and a way to keep in touch with our family and friends.
The incursions we had to restore were at Robbers Roost, an area where we went as a crew for our First Five way back in September. Here’s a quick summary of our typical “house hitch” workday: breakfast at 7:00, leave the house at 8:00, the commute to work takes about half an hour or so, we have snack at 10:30, lunch at 12:30, pack up and leave the work site by 3:10, dinner’s at 5:30, and then the rest of the day is ours to enjoy. If we were out in the field, most of us would probably be reading after work. Since we have the luxury of the house and the town, our list of things to do after work has increased. We could go to the local park to exercise, run around the entire block while the Ridgecrest dogs are viciously barking at you, go to the nearest burger place because you’re simply craving it, stay up late to play The Settlers of Catan with your crew, watch hours and hours of Netflix, spontaneously bake some brownies, Youtube something funny just because you can, Facetime and Skype your family, do a quick run to the store to buy some cookie dough ice cream, and even play the dice game called Farkle.
This was a house hitch because we had three days of chainsaw training with the BLM firefighters at Salt-Wells Station. The Kiavah crew was also there taking the classes with us, as always, we enjoy their company. The first day of training was mainly about chainsaw safety and learning different cuts, second day we finally got to start the chainsaw and learn about the maintenance that is involved and we all took turns sharpening the chains, the last day we all got to do a “pie cut” and “buckling” on wooden poles. By the end of that day, everyone received a certificate saying we have successfully completed “S-212 Wildfire Powersaws” training.
One of my favorite highlights from this hitch would probably be our unofficial hair salon in the backyard. We save a lot of money by cutting one another’s hair, though we’re not professionals, the results have turned out fairly well. If you want the whole “business in front, party in the back” mullet or merely just trimming your split ends, the Jawbone crew can do that for you.
Overall, this hitch was a nice change of pace. We are really grateful that we didn’t have to stay out in the field overnight because the temperature definitely dropped and it was quite frigid. I’ve learned to appreciate the simple things that the average person would take for granted, such as the fridge and washing machine. I hope that 2013 would bring great changes for all of us and yesterday (1/13) was officially our halfway mark through the DRC program. 4 more months together and we will be parting ways to begin our next adventures and go wherever life takes us.
Hitch 4 
This hitch has aptly been described as an odyssey. The journey seemed long, yet the adventure was always changing. We began with expectations of cleaning up trash around a historic cabin. Except we later found out that this cabin was actually burnt to the ground. A fine piece of vernacular architecture, complete with bottle walls, was lost by some unknown cause. And so, Jawbone, along with the other crews, suited up in gloves, respirators, and tyvek suits to dump all the rubble in an RV sized dumpster. The task was quickly completed and the rest of the day was spent preparing for our coming days in the desert.
The drive to our campsite aroused a bit of nostalgia as we drove by the familiar mountains that enveloped us during our 17 day training in September. We continued past them to what would be a new area for us. Our campsite was nestled in a wide wash complete with boulders, Joshua trees, creosote, and the occasional Sage Sparrow. In a couple of hours, the pup tents and white wall had been erected and staked into the sand. We were ready for tomorrow to come and start restoration.
The drive to the incursions was like a rollercoaster. The trucks crested over ridges and for a brief moment only the sky was visible in the front windshield. The incursions here offered a new experience. Formerly, creosote had been the primary plant species present. Here, the hills were densely dotted with small bushes, and the occasional Joshua tree could be seen in the distance. Some incursions had over 100 vertical mulch. Others had Joshua trees that took four of us to haul to the incursion. Restoration was not all we were up to though.
One night we had some visitors in our white wall. Kangaroo rats came hopping in to search for any crumb we may have left behind. The fearless rodents were nearly stepped on multiple times. The next night we visited some of our extended family, the Kiavah crew, for dinner. Soon after our odyssey took us all the way back down to Ridgecrest to join the Rands crew and our BLM contact for a feast at the Pizza Factory. Some feasted more than others, but no one managed to eat more than 10 slices of pizza. With full bellies, we headed back to our warm home and waved farewell to the Rands crew as they drove back to the desert.
The next day, we awoke excited to attend ATV training. All day the wind was fiercely blowing and sending clouds of dust over us. By the end of the training, our faces looked a few shades lighter. In spite of the wind, we all had a joyous time riding in the dusty cloud that engulfed the coned training course. However, it was especially thrilling to take the ATVs out of the course during the trail ride at the end of the day. Our day didn’t end here though; we dined out at a Vietnamese restaurant. The service was superb; hot bowls of pho and plates of chow mein quickly appeared before us. We savored every last bite as we readied our minds to once again return to the desert the next day.
In no time we were back to restoring incursions for the remainder of the hitch. We began where we left off planting as many dead bushes as it took to cover any sign of a trail. Our most notable incursion went down a steep hill then up the other side. Once we were finished there wasn’t any sign of the trail. Our program coordinator, Matt Duarte, also came to visit for the remaining days. Not only did he supply some exquisite mulch to be used, but he also brought Irish soda bread with cheese and butter. It paired excellently with the copious amount of garbanzo bean salad we had for dinner.
The next nights became quite frigid. Soon after dinner was over, the temperatures began to plummet into the low twenties, and our feet became blocks of ice. The coldest morning that we awoke to was 12°F. Our greatest respite from the cold was going to bed with a hot water bottle. But, hitch quickly came to a close and we made a final drive out of the field, back to Ridgecrest.
We spent our final day unpacking and cleaning hitch supplies. Then we began the process of repacking our possessions and preparing our minds for our trip home. Living in the desert can really change a person. You get used to rising with the sun and going to sleep when the air becomes too chilling. You get used to not showering, to sleeping on the ground, to eating a little dirt, to dry hands, to silence, to the slowness of the desert. All things we’ll have to forget for a bit as we return to our old lives at our former homes.
Hitch 3 
Although we are called Jawbone we spent our third straight hitch not in but in the THC land once again, our last time working there. We camped at a different site than our previous two hitches. Our campsite was situated behind a knoll that hid us from the main road. Contrasting with the campsite from our first two hitches where we would see amazing sunrises, this campsite let us view marvelous sunsets of beautiful colors.
Some shocking, bizarre, and unfortunate things occurred on this hitch. Our first day of arrival was the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving weekend is a haven for OHVers. When we turned on the main road that led us into the THC land, the landscape was littered with white dots from RVs and a cloud of dust hung over the area from the OHV use. They prominently left on Sunday to return to civilization.
For the first time on hitch we experienced the wonder that is called rain. Some of us had forgotten what rain actually was. At midnight of one of the nights we heard the magical raindrops on our tent. None of our belongings got wet due to the durability of our pup tents. The rain provided the morning with tremendous fog. Vegging (where we go out and get dead branches for vertical mulch) in the morning was like walking in a horror movie; we could hardly see our surroundings. It did not rain the rest of the hitch, but the desert would be coated with a layer of moisture in the morning and the morning skies would be dark, cloudy, and ominous. Hopefully, this will lead to beautiful wildflowers in the spring. Even with the rain and cloudy days, the weather was much warmer than our previous two hitches. It never got below freezing which was a blessing and provided for some nice nights of rest.
One of the most bizarre and unusual encounters happened on the evening of day 10. Coming back from a long day of work, we saw a Toyota Prius on the side of the road and remarked how odd that was. Later that evening, the Prius was parked near or rocket box and eventually the Prius rolled up to our camp site. Andy and Emlyn were the first to talk to him and the rest of us were soon to follow. This man loved hearing himself talk. He was out there to hunt coyotes by attracting them with various animal calls. When asked if he ate the meat, he claimed that he didn’t but he hangs the pelt on the wall and says to himself “well there’s one less coyote.” Then he proceeded to bust out a few packs of cards and show us magic tricks for at least 20 minutes. Some of things he talked about were how his wife and child were “weak,” prison wine, his experience on pain medication, and making fun of us for doing this job. He never gave us his name but I nicknamed him Magic Mike. He shall never be forgotten.
This hitch was plagued with sickness. I was the first one to get sick with a sore throat and the sickness spread to some of the other crew members. Because of the sickness, and because we were done with the work that the THC set out for us, we were able to leave the field a day early.
For the actual work part of our hitch we worked on incursions in the area for the first seven days. On day 8-11, we went back a check out previous incursions we worked on in our previous hitches. We found that some had been run over by OHVers which was a huge disappointment but most of the incursions we worked on were intact. The THC land was interesting and provided us with many bizarre moments but it will be comforting to return to Jawbone, a place we have not been since Septoberfest.
I started playing Pokemon Red to catch all 151 Pokemon. My Pokemon count is at 45.
View Larger Map 
Jawbone is situated under the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains in the Mojave Desert.
-Robbers Roust is situated on the North eastern side of Jawbone. It is a huge rock formation that serves as a Roust for large birds. It was also a former hiding place for Outlaws.
-Sage Canyon is one of the few places that has water in Jawbone. It is filled with lush vegetation and Cotton wood trees.
-Scodie Peak is the tallest mountain near Jawbone and extends out of the desert into the Sierras.
Most of where we work has Joshua trees in abundance as well as interesting rock formation. There are ravens, kangaroo rats, and Rabbits in abundance with the occasional howl of coyote in the mix.
Jawbone is a beautiful place to work and visit with all its extreme weather and gorgeous sun rises.
Hitch 2 
It’s the Mojave’s golden afternoons in total silence that still make me pause and revel in all that light and all those earthy tones. I find, in fact, that this period after the day’s labor and before the evening’s chill is home to many fine moments. Between two and three, Jawbone members might be found enjoying a persimmon over a classic novel, between three and four, a political discussion and an oatmeal cookie. Perhaps as a necessity of our environment, I find that we are a group about our fundamentals. These being: good eats, warmth, and literature. Little else seems of much importance.
It very suddenly became winter in the midst of hitch; twenty degree mornings and darkness settling in before five. Our warmth was threatened. You might now begin to understand our joy at having a lantern for the first time. A rather sad image, Jawbone could be found huddled around the Coleman morning and evening. From the outside, in the dark dawn and dusk, the whitewall tent bloomed with the light of the lantern. Our figures playing on the canvas like a grand shadow show.
One of the few things that could coerce a member from the tent was the harrowing call of the rocket box, our waste disposal system. On the subject, you might remember from last hitch the two artifacts in the red Isuzu that laid claim to sixteen rolls of our toilet paper. Little did we know, our rocket box woes were far from over. On Thursday the eighth the first of the Barstow Boy Scouts of America set up their camp a mere thirty yards from our white wall. Over the next twenty four hours a shanty town of tents and SUVs had spilled out onto the lake bed, encroaching even further on our small encampment. The following afternoon the pistols, rifles, and shot guns began to bark. That night they slept in their cars because of the cold, and the purr of their engines hung in the air. It was also noted that our bath room set up was regularly found oddly altered or not properly shut down, and shadowy suspicions began to cultivate in the backs of our minds. Matt Bristol, in all his genius, set a simple trap of a small stone placed on a corner of each of the three containers. When the next user found the pebbles missing, we had our answer. The scouts drove away the next morning, leaving many a shot gun shell, a dusting of clay pigeons over the lake bed, and seven bitter restorators.
In an effort to rid ourselves of such earthly plagues we looked to sky, and found plenty to marvel at. The desert puts on sunrises and sunsets of particular magnificence, and we had jets from the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station ever above our heads. Multiple times they flew literally two hundred feet over us, and the thunderous boom of the sound barrier being broken was a daily regular.
Thanks to Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Pleasures and the Ridgecrest CSA we ate like royalty; crepes with strawberries, polenta with cauliflower, tomatoes, and hot peppers, pumpkin and corn chowder with grilled cheese, and vegetable risotto to name but a few meals.
Such grand fare primed us for MW2-A, the Autobahn of incursions, which we tackled during our last days. The six meter wide site took over fifty vertical mulch installations. The area around this incursion was equally notable; traces of old settlements, massive craters, and perfect circles in the sand featuring strange scripture nearly twenty feet in diameter. What a wacky place.
As we drove across the expanse of the dry lake bed into camp on our second to last evening we spotted a familiar vehicle parked not twenty yards from our whitewall. We stared at the red Isuzu. The two grizzled old men were wandering about the boy scouts old camp salvaging metal bits, that golden afternoon sun drawn to their white and wispy crowns. We steppe d from the cars and stood for a while, waved to each other, and then retired to our tent, persimmons in hand.
By Emlyn Agnew
Hitch 1 
After a month of training the Jawbone Crew finally got our first solo taste of the desert. We drove out to the Fremont / Cramer Junction area and camped out on a dry lake bed just South East of Cuddie Back Lake.
The first three hitches we are not working in our designated Jawbone Butterbredtt Limited use area. Our services have been acquired by The Transition Habitat Conservancy (THC). They are buying land to protect “transition zones and wildlife corridors”. We are helping them buy camouflaging any illegal route an Off Highway vehicle user could use to enter their property.
The Fremont/Cramer Junction sounds like a place where cowboys meet to duel each other at high noon. It also feels like it. The road signs are not well labeled and the maps don’t always meet reality, on the weekends there is much more OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) use then in Jawbone and there are abandoned mines everywhere.
There was a tiny tracker jeep that drove by our camp real slow one afternoon. It had two very old men in the car. One waved back at me with a very different facial expression than a friendly wave is supposed to come with. They drove to our rocket box. Our rocket box is an ammo box with a waste disposal unit in it as well as a toilet seat on top of it. It is out outhouse. We place it out of our site for the sake of privacy. So when the old men drove up there we could not see them and had no idea what they were doing. I was especially confused after I heard there Tracker door slam. I did not give it much thought again until Matt and I went to pack everything up, Matt discovered that the old men had stolen all of our toilet paper!
The weekends are the only times we see OHV people, hunters and old men that steal toilet paper. During the week, the desert is the only thing that surrounds our seven person crew for miles. During one of our first days out in the field we got to go explore where an incursion (illegal road that we are going to restore) went. It took us on a 2 mile adventure through some beautiful sand dunes and geological marvels.
We dug many many holes to plant vertical mulch in. Vertical Mulch are bouquets of dead bushes made to look as realistic as possible. The desert is a place of extremes because of that the living plants don’t look full of life. That helps make our dead plants look like they are alive. This is done because whenever signs are put up that say “DO NOT GO HERE”, it blasts some OHV riders with an insatiable curiosity to figure out what they are barred access from. We camouflage the trails so they will not even know there was a trail there. Then we try to make the incursion as conducive with new plants growth as possible.
Desert time muddled with my head. I can’t tell if hitch was long, short or we took a time warp somewhere. I do know that hitch was very exciting. We saw 3 tarantula, kit foxes, a captive desert tortoise; I began to see dawn from the west as the purples and blues flow down Fremont peak; we got to eat good food and hang around with good company.
Suradee Thongkiattikul 
I’m currently in Massachusetts as part of the Army Corps team for SCA. My experience with SCA has been nothing but incredible, so I am looking forward to working with the Jawbone crew. My favorite part about this internship is the vast opportunity to go on adventures on your days off (i.e. Boston and NYC in my case). I’m done on September 10, so I get to fly home, see my family for a week, and then hop on another plane. That’ll total up to one entire year I’ll be gone from home, definitely something new for me.
I was born in Thailand but I grew up in Salt Lake City, where the mountains were our playground. My favorite pastimes include hiking, meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and widening my perspective on things. I believe that a little spontaneity always makes life much more interesting.
I’m excited to work with SCA again, and looking forward to meeting with the new crew!
Andy Mazur 
I was a member of the Jawbone crew last season. The desert sucked me in and I could not resist the opportunity to come back as Project Leader.
I am from the middle of Pennsylvania. I have lived there almost my entire life. I enjoy going on long bicycle trips, long runs and jumping off of things into water.
I am excited to get to know the desert better with its hidden abundance of life. I am also excited to share this experience with a bunch of people crazy enough to spend months in the Mojave doing restoration.
Jason Matott 
Hello, my name is Jason Matott. I’m from the St. Louis area. I just graduated from Missouri State University with a Geography degree. I’m very excited to be working in the Mojave Desert in California. I’ve never been to the desert before so it’s going to be a totally new experience for me. It will be nice to get away from Missouri for a while. I’m an avid sports fan, I love reading, I enjoy the outdoors, and I like to travel. I am most excited to get to meet new people.
Hannah Heyworth 
Hello! I'm Hannah Heyworth, and I just graduated from high school. I deferred my place at the University of Pennsylvania to take a gap year, and I am beyond excited to spend that time with the SCA.
Aside from biology, which I intend to major in, I love playing piano, writing, foreign food, my huge family and caves. I am lucky enough that travel is both a passion and a regular part of my life; I was raised in England, Canada, and the US, and I was an exchange student to India during my senior year.
Being outdoors makes me feel at peace, and I can’t stand staying inside for too long. I am dedicated to the cause of conservation, and I am intrigued by the idea of achieving it in a desert. The Mohave seems like an extraordinary place, and I can't wait to meet the rest of the Jawbone crew and get started!
Corinne Erickson 
After growing up and going to school in Michigan, where you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a lake, I’m excited to experience life in the desert with all the challenges and rewards it’ll bring.
I have an interest in both conservation and sustainable food, so I spent this summer working on an organic farm in Ann Arbor learning tons about food production, while looking for ways to get involved in conservation as my next adventure.
My only other excursion to the Southwest was this past spring, when I went to Utah’s Bryce Canyon for a week. The landscape was incredibly beautiful and so different from what I’m used to. I can’t wait to see more of what this region has to offer!
Matthew Bristol 
The SCA has long been a part of my life. My journey began in 2008 as a crew member on a national high school conservation crew in Denali National Park and Preserve where we rerouted an old hiking trail. Every year since that first crew, I have been involved with the SCA performing trail work in places all over the nation from California to Pennsylvania. However, I decided to take a break from the SCA after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in May of 2012. This past summer, I’ve been working with the Institute for Bird Populations as a bird bander to monitor avian productivity and survivorship in southern Indiana. The SCA’s allure couldn’t keep me away for too long though. I’m back and excited to take part in restoration efforts in the desert; a place I have not yet visited. I’m also thrilled to once again be a part of the SCA community.