Monday, July 15, 2013

The Pleasantest Hitch!

As I arrived at work on Monday morning, the usual case of pre-hitch butterflies were
in full flight. Did I bring my headlamp? Would the amount of layers packed be sufficient for
the weather? Did I forget the grocery bag with the week’s supply of peanut butter? All were
thoughts that flitted through my mind as I unloaded the car and filed into the office for our
morning meeting. I knew that we were headed to Lovell Canyon Wilderness Area, and so I
chatted with fellow Crew Leaders in an effort to gauge what sort of week I was in for. The
results were a bit grim: the hike in was long and difficult, the weather had been getting into the
teens at night, and the project itself was strictly rough-cutting steep tread. And so I began to
mentally prepare myself for what I thought I would be in store for during the next four days.
Nothing that anyone told me could prepare me for what would actually happen though. It would,
in fact, be the PLEASANTEST hitch in the history of hitches. Just delightful…

We left the hot temperatures of Las Vegas behind as we drove into the mountains. There,
the wonderful spring air was filled with the scents of Ponderosa pine and Juniper. Hummingbirds
darted around camp as if part of a Disney film. The hike in, while difficult, was filled with some
of the most beautiful scenic vistas I have seen since being in Nevada. Our group of six Crew
Leaders, plus Amanda, worked as a well-oiled machine after training together for the past 3
months. The work days passed quickly as we joked with each other and listened to bluegrass on
Cal’s brilliant mini iPod player while cutting tread. We each had the chance to talk with Amanda
at length during our evaluations, giving everyone fresh perspective and goals for the upcoming
summer. After work, we all hung out together. We agreed that as a group, we got along
exceptionally well and very much enjoyed each other’s company. And to top it all off, we shared
delicious chocolate, caramel waffle wafers, and cheese that Guy had recently brought back from
Holland. It was the best.

There were multiple moments every day on this hitch that struck me as too good to be
true. Moments that left me thinking, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.” And while certainly
not every hitch goes nearly so well or is filled with the number of idyllic moments as this one
was, it is still the perfect example of why I love conservation work. I had worked hard, with a
great group of people, for a pretty cool cause, in the great outdoors. Like I said before: just the

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