A long drive from Detroit, Michigan to Needles, California was made short with stops visiting friends in some beautiful places in Colorado. I camped out the first night in my truck outside town with a friend who happened to be near while travelling through. The morning revealed an amazing contrast of the blue waters of the Colorado river splitting the tan and brown desert mountains of the surrounding Mohave. With the thermometer reaching 100 degrees by 10:30 a.m., we immediately headed down to the river and lounged out in the shade of a cottonwood tree.
The first week of work consisted of meeting everyone in the office, learning about the field office area, learning the plant vegetation, and getting trained in off-road driving. The first day out in the field with our supervisor we saw what we believed to have been a Mohave green rattlesnake, potentially one of the most venomous snakes in North America. As we continued the walk up into the wash, getting acquainted with identifying the local vegetation, a white barn owl flew right over us. An exciting first day.
We spent the past few days driving out to different spring sites to monitor the water levels, check for invasives, document the surrounding flora and fauna, and begin looking for potential candidates to collect for the Seeds of Success Program. A quick glance at what looks like a desolate wasteland void of life has been drastically changing in our perspective, as we learn more and begin to see the diversity and life that is hidden to most passing by in cars along the famous route 66. While beautiful and intriguing, the extreme heat and lack of people in the Mojave desert will make for a challenging time, but one that is sure to build character.