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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Exploring the Southwest

Two hitches down,and finally done with hobos. this hitch went by so fast! the first week we did the same thing as last time pulling poles with hobos on them, downloading relaunching and re installing them in the ground. it was mostly fun to trek through the woods following GPSs that we not always reliable, but we all got really good at reading the maps. i say mostly for one main reason. the desert, things in the desert want to hurt you and they do. now just the snakes and spiders and bugs ( i haven't seen any of those) but the plants. Evil little things, sometimes you can tell they are dangerous by the 3 inch long spikes but sometimes they look nice and soft, so you choose that spot you change or something and for the one second that you have your shoes o

ff you step on one of those soft leaves and think nothing of it… AND THEN… you move you foot and realize that there are a thousand little needle hairs stabbing he sole of your foot like those glass shreds in insulation. Despite the vengeance the desert seems to feel for me i LOVE it. the southwest is amazing. it is so different than anything i have camped in before, it has a stark beauty. Some days i feel like i am livi

ng in a western movie and feel like maybe i should get a gun.

so far our work has been front country camping so we have a big suburban we all drive in and a trailer for all our stuff. we started this hitch in blithe california camping at a camp ground right on the colorado river. we had a dust storm and all our things we covered in a thick layer of light sand, it was so windy i was worried that our tents would blow off in to the colorado and we would have to go fetch them in mexico. While we were there we did a lot of running. we would get back from work and before dinner go for a run, at this point the sun was setting by the time we had our running shoes on. we would urn along a road with the colorado flowing to the left and the colorful desert sun setting over the dark brown mountains to the right. at this time of night the temp is amazing, the heat of the day is gone with the sun and its still warm enough to run in shorts. by the time we would get back it is dark and cold so we change right in to fleece pants and hoodies and the people on dinner get that started while the rest of us poke around collecting fire wood (NOT an easy task in the desert) and having jam sessions. we have 1 guitar, one ukulele and many harmonica (one that is mine and yes i play it and i am getting better under the tutelage of JR - who happened to be serenading me as i write)

WE have a chore chart that changes everyday for hitch and there are 2 people on dinner overnight. we have not had one bad meal yet. so many amazing foods and new things to try. since coming to Arizona i have eaten more mexican food than i have in my entire life! also i don't like beans but have grow out of that and we have them almost every meal. i also have eaten more donuts in the past month than i have in like 10 years, its a great reward after a long day of work.

After we finished the hobos in blithe and move up to Needles CA and got all those we went on to Boulder City Nevada "the town the built the

hoover dam". our first day there we had a Rec day, GREATEST DAY EVER! we got up had pancakes and went on a hike down this amazing wash that was sos so pretty and near the bottom there were hot springs so we went swimming, then we hiked back and walked around the hoover dam and got to see that and the new bridge that was just built. it was a great day and so relaxing. but then we got back to work, we spent a day working in the office identifying plant specimens using a dichotomous key and mounting tons of plants on paper to add to burrow of reclamations herbarium. this day almost killed us. My crew is full of very active fun loving people and a day in the office with no windows almost did us in. we got by by playing mash and making cootie catchers and foam crowns, yes it was like we reverted back to 3rd grade. the next day we pulled weeds…. ALL DAY LONG! they were an invasive species all around mead lake ( the largest man made lake in the states formed by the hoover dam) and the next day we took it easy, we hikes from our camp to the hoover da

m (only about 2 miles) and got a

tour of the power plant. itwas really really cool and i kinda geeked out about it. Around noon that day we started our drive back to Tucson. we stopped for the night in Surprise AZ at my crew leaders parents house. we were all shocked apron arrival to find acute little town full of retired snowbirds wintering here. We got to shower and watch movies like life of brian, ferris blears day off and blazing saddles. all wonderful classics. and then thursday we got back here and deriged.

Now let me explain our tucson life. as you may or may not know SCC does not provide housing for us on our weekends off. My wonderful father was determined not to have me living out of my car so found a friend of a friend who was willing to put me up. this turned in to the most wonderful discovery. Christy and alan vokel put me and my dad up when we got here and were so so so welcoming. before my first hitch Christy said i could have other crew members stay here to if they needed our first weekend off Danielle stayed with me at the Vokels, the guys got a really cheep crappy hotel (there is a hotel in tucson called the no-tell motel enough said) and Meghan went to Bisbee (a town 45 min south) and stayed with her sisters. but sunday we were all hanging out and Christy said they guys could just stay here too! sooooooo that brings me to this weekend!all 6 of us have a place to stay here where we can shower, do laundry and hang out. the Vokels are truly amazing people and if you ever come to tucson you shoal look them up. this weekend we have hung out cooked them dinner and hung around the fire place in the back yard. right now i am sitting outside on a little patio with a sink and cubers with cousins facing outdoor fire place beautifully made by alan with a mirror and tile mosaic on it. the sun is shinning and its really warm and the patio is surrounded by lemon trees. Meghan is on the other side of them reading in the sun and JR is across from me jamming away on the guitar. Pretty much my life right now is better than i ever imagined it would be. its February i have a tan and wonderful new friends, i have adventures and work really hard. i have gone to a church the past 2 weeks that i love the pastor already. i have been so incredibly blessed these days! a few months ago i found out i couldn't take the job in Australia and was distraught and frustrated not know what was next for me. God knew exactly what he was doing and so here i am today happy, warm and employed.

i know this is a long one, so thanks for reading it , but i gota go we are having a picnic lunch at the park :)