Greetings from the Grass Valley Wilderness! Hitch 6 has come to a close and we are more than halfway through with our time in the Mojave Desert. The Grass Valley crew finally made it to their homeland and we were able to camp in the wilderness, we voted it our favorite campsite yet! We definitely are getting better at the camp set up. Teddy lined the path to the rocketbox with flagging so we wouldn’t get lost when we really had to go and Jeff/Matt even got out the level when setting up the stove. Exciting things have returned to the desert during this hitch. Cheese is back in the game and we think spring is coming! We saw green grass, singing birds, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, beetles, lizards, sunburn, short sleeved shirts, and 3 days of steady rain. You know what they say, January showers bring February flowers??? We were also closer to the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) fire range so everyday was an air show from the jets and sonic booms that makes you shake in your boots.
We started off this hitch having a meeting with Marty, our BLM wilderness contact which involved lots of Starbucks coffee/muffins and discussion about Golden and Grass Valley wilderness areas. I educated the group on our waste disposal options while living in Ridgecrest and working in the field. We discussed landfills, recycling, and composting. We journeyed to the Ridgecrest Landfill to get a first-hand experience of where our trash goes and offered suggestions for how we could improve our compost buckets’ decomposition rate.
We spent most of the hitch protecting the Grass Valley wilderness from OHVers. We resigned all the northern, southern, and corridor routes with new wilderness carsonite signs. Lots of sweeping of tracks took place…..just keep sweeping. We monitored all the previous restoration sites and touched some up as well. Teddy and Erica were under the weather for a few days so the FAB FOUR (Zoe, Lizzie, Matt and Jeff) were back again tackling one large incursion that was previously restored with hay bales. The ground resembled desert pavement and after all the decompacting and rock barring, our shoulders could eat people. The hay provided us with some entertainment including Jeff Havey’s HAY-V jokes. Luckily, Erica and Teddy returned the last day to help us out. We planted 119 vertical mulch bushes and worked on it for 3 days….our largest incursion yet.
We did have an interesting run in with 6 dirt bikers. We were monitoring the fence and they were caught on the wilderness side of the fence where no motorized vehicles are allowed. We informed them of the boundary and where they could exit the fence while we snatched some sneaky photos of their license plates…..they may or may not get a ticket in the mail. We enjoyed being spies for that short while.
We are all looking forward to All Corps next hitch in Shoshone near Death Valley!
Peace, love, Hydroxycut
Lizzie and the Grass Valley Crew
P.S. Vin Diesel shined his light at us again….you know the rest.