Friday August 13, 19 people came out to Camp Cady to haul water and repair the flood damaged Big Gee wildlife drinker and I can tell you it was a great experience and an outstanding success.
Friday afternoon we loaded up the trucks with water tanks, tools, pipe and pipe fittings. After the tanks and trailer were full of water we headed to the bunk house and Steve cooked hamburgers and smoky links [editor’s correction: cooking duties were taken over by Sheriff Bob with this quote: “never let the skinny guy cook unless you want to starve”], John Nelson made the best beans I ever had and Wayne and Linda Snively came by with lemon sugar cookies for the group. Kathy Ridley with the San Bernardino Sheriff Rescue also came out and gave us a phone number to call if we need help in an emergency. After dinner went over what we hoped to accomplish the next day and then turned in as 4 o’clock comes early.
The next morning everyone was up at 4 but little Miss Sleepy Head who we all know but will remain nameless came into the kitchen and filled up on sweet rolls, cookies and coffee. I think a few were surprised, me the most, but we were on the road and out the gate by 5 AM and met Jeff and Le at Basin Road on time.
Steve led the 9 vehicle caravan in his Jeep and we made it up the wash to the first turn with out getting off track and lost. From there it was easy as the old road was still there ‘till we dropped in to the second wash. From there on we had to move a lot of rocks and find a new route up the canyon to Big Gee. The old route the last 5 miles was gone along with most of the trees and brush and this is where we had to drop the water trailers. Where there were once big boulders and brush was now a smooth wash and where an easy drive was we now had to move rocks, brush and fill in holes. The last bad spot where you go in to the upper canyon is still a tight turn but is better than it used to be.
Well, after 5 hours of driving we were there and started to pump water in the tanks and repair the pipes that were gone. Steve and John Roy took charge of cleaning the drinker box and replacing the pipe from the tank. Jim McGee and crew kicked butt clearing off the debris from the tank pad with round point shovels [square points – nah, we shouldn’t need those.] John Nelson and Jim Knybel went up the wash and started working on the pipe from the dam and rain mat and I kept the water trucks coming and pumping water. After we emptied the trucks Jeff, Le, Mike and I went back to the water trailers and came back with another 850 gallons of water for a total of 3,000 gallons.
By 2:30 we had the pipe repaired to the drinker and from the dam and rain mat to the tanks. Unless you were there you don’t know what a tough job it was in the 110 degree heat and what people that care about wildlife can do when we ask.
We had 7 new people show up for this project so a big thanks to Tom Barton, Art Figueroa, Jim Knybel, Joe Preiss, Mike Woods, Jeff Jones, and Andrew.
The dependable who always show up to help were there and they were Carlos Galinger, Le Hays, Mark LeCompte, Jim McGee, Steve and Debbie Marschke, John Nelson, John and Linda Roy, Joe Steinmetz, and John Vought.
If it wasn’t for people like these and many I didn’t list who come out to the desert in the middle of summer and give their time and money to help us keep water in the drinkers by hauling water and making repairs a lot of sheep would not be around in the fall.
So from me and all of us that cares about the wildlife a BIG GEE THANKS.