By Harry Anderton, High Desert Committee Outings Leader
Have you ever hiked through a meadow, enjoying the sun and the breeze, only to be suddenly caught by a loose strand or barbed wire? When it happened to me in the Owyhees it completely spoiled the rest of my day –even though I had the necessary antibiotics in my first aid kit.
Soon after that happened the Steens Mountain became a Cooperative Wilderness area. The only problem was that it was still littered with over 100 years of barbed wire. In an effort to help clear offending strands from the area I have joined a group of Sierra Club volunteers and committed a week each year to the task of coiling up this old wire and making it possible for the BLM to remove it. It is the hottest, dirtiest and probably the most exhausting “job” I have ever done. But the sense of accomplishment on seeing an unencumbered meadow at the end of the day has been worth every minute of time and effort.
This year Heidi Dahlin (our Chapter’s Conservation Chair) and I plan to return at the end of July and again work the old fence lines. (Click here to read Heidi’s account of last year’s outing!) This is of course the hottest time of the year but it has turned out to be the time of year when we are available and can make it into the high ground. As we get farther into the task the the offending material is becoming more remote thus involving longer hikes and greater solitude. There is nothing like enjoying the night sky away from the city lights and above 6000 feet. So I hope you will consider joining us this year as we strand by strand return the wild to the wilderness.
This year’s Steens Mountain Fence Pull will be held from July 27 – August 1st.
Click here to learn more and see the full list of the Sierra Club’s 2012 High Desert Outings!