I’m sorry for not updating sooner about my Grand Canyon Trust adventures. We only get access to internet once a week and last week was pretty crazy, as you can imagine.
We’ve done some awesome stuff here so far, and we’ve actually finished the first and second sections, or hitches, of our project. When we got here, the first thing we did was start on our orientation hitch. Our sponsors taught us so much about the area, including the history, environment and wildlife. The area is so amazingly beautiful and our more permanent housing is nestled in a valley among cliffs and canyons and plateaus. We are living in tents but we have access to this incredibly cozy little ranch house with a great kitchen and even a dining room table!
We’ve also completed our first work hitch: pronghorn fence restoration in the House Rock Valley. The pronghorn is a small antelope that also happens to be the fastest land animal in North America. They roam the valley, but have a hard time moving around due to the barbed wire cattle fences for the free-range cattle that ranchers keep all over. Because of this, they have limited access to water and encounter challenges when trying to escape from predators. So, we spent our work hitch removing the bottom layer of barbed wire fencing and replacing it with smooth wire, which we raised to 18 inches (studies show the pronghorn move much more freely when the wire is at this height) so that the pronghorn can move comfortably under the fences without being injured. We finished about a 1.5 mile stretch of fence, so that’s pretty awesome!
As for our next adventure, we have off until Wednesday, when we are splitting up to complete two separate tamarisk removal projects. My group will be backpacking 10 miles into the Paria Canyon, a slot canyon that is supposed to be incredible. We will stay there for about 7 days before we hike out. Needless to say, we’re all so excited about this (though the days off are nice).
After the Paria Canyon hitch, we have a few days off for spring break, when my team will be heading to Flagstaff (and some people to other places from there) for some rest, relaxation, and hopefully a lot of fun and exploration! Then we’ve got a hitch of road closures with camping on the Paria Plateau, and another with some rock moving, followed by some little things before we ship back to Denver and then who knows where. It’s amazing how quickly the project is going already (and the 10 months, to be honest). But, I’ve submitted my Team Leader application and I’m hoping for an interview some time in April and (hopefully) an acceptance some time in May.
Meanwhile, I’ll be doing things like hiking a slot canyon on my 23rd birthday (Wednesday, by the way). I don’t hate it. I’ll probably update when we’re out in flagstaff, so check back around the beginning of April. Until then, stay adventurous