Back from break and better than ever, Kiavah Crew jumped into the New Year and into a rather unusual hitch. Smack dab in the middle of our twelve day stint was nestled a three day Chainsaw Training Session put on by the BLM Firefighters at Salt Wells Fire Station. Realizing the inefficiency of setting up camp in the field for the first four days only to take it all down for the Chainsaw training and then doing it again for that last few days, Hitch 5 became Hitch Ridgecrest as the crew spent each night in town.
While sleeping in a warm house, 24 hour access to an actual oven, hot showers (note theme: warm things), and the disposal of the internet’s full entertainment value are certainly luxuries to relish, we refused to let these creature comforts make us soft. The crew took the opportunity to get good rest at night so as to perform quality work during the day, driving out to the Kiavah Wilderness and Owens Peak Wilderness while the sun shone. We continued our progression of restoration leading out of Horse Canyon, putting in hard barriers where needed to further protect the Wilderness spaces.
Of the work we did, not least of which was to completely update our Trimble GPS device with data of what we have accomplished so far. After having some setbacks with other devices earlier in the season it was great to have a fully functioning Trimble to get all our data in the right place. What this meant for us was that every day we would split into a Trimble Crew and a Restoration Crew, a one-two punch. After plugging in some steady days we’ve gotten everything recorded and put behind us (quite satisfying) and are now ready to keep chugging, Trimbling as we go.
Of course the hallmark of Hitch 5 was the Chainsaw training itself. Instructed by BLM Firefighter John Homer with added lessons from Chief Don Washington and firefighters Craig, Kenny, and Henry, Kiavah Crew joined Jawbone Crew for three days of class room and hands on training with the powersaws. We eased into what could be an intimidating enterprise with the Firefighters support and soon had a sound base for saw maintenance, saw safety, tree felling, limbing, and bucking, and H-brace/hard barrier construction. The lumberjack mythos has been kindled in our smoldering hearts!!