Monday, July 15, 2013

Dam Holes and Poles

This week was intense and challenging. Initially we thought we would be building informational
kiosks which tourists would walk by on a hiking trail. We did nothing of the sort. Instead we dug holes.

Our hitch took us to the Hoover Dam where we worked with the Bureau of Reclamation to build chain link fences. These fences are intended to enclose pieces of machinery that were used in the construction of the dam. This meant that we needed four separate fenced enclosure areas. The project partner unfortunately underestimated the difficulty of digging so many holes for the fence posts; we ended up using rock bars, trowels and our hands to dig about 40 holes (rock bars are in no way intended to dig holes). Since it is spring in the desert it was quite hot and there was absolutely no shade at the worksite, so spending three entire days digging holes and setting posts proved to be very trying, but we persevered nonetheless! By the end of our hitch, on day four, we were finally able to pull chain-link fence and complete one of four enclosures.

Although we did not complete the entire project, our project partner realized how difficult the
tasks were and stayed really positive, therefore kept us motivated and in high spirits. It is always nice to see a project partner who will get down in the dirt and dig holes alongside the crew. Additional, the BOR was the most appreciative sponsor I’ve ever encountered. We heard repeatedly, from many people, how much the work we do makes a difference. That’s why many of us are in this job and the positive reinforcement keeps us motivated. Additionally, the BOR worked really hard to make the week an “experience,” instead of just another work week. We got to walk on top of the Memorial Bridge over Hoover Dam to watch the sunrise. Then on the last day we took an exclusive tour inside the dam; only insiders and important people (like the president!) get to take such an in depth tour. It was undoubtedly the highlight of the hitch!

We had an extra person working with us all week; he was shadowing our supervisor, as he is
currently training to be a crew leader for the summer. It was really nice having extra hands in the holes!
He brought a lot of positivity to our group and it was great having another crew mate to converse with. There were a lot more jokes and laughter throughout the week simply because he broke the monotony that starts to set in this time of year. Overall, I think everyone finished this hitch feeling good about the work we had done, exhausted, and somehow still in very high spirits.

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