Left Austin yesterday morn at 0610, a cool 49 degrees. Rolled in to ANP today at 1525, a cool (for them) 84 degrees. I feel as if I am in a desolate foreign country, as nothing — not the weather, not the flora, not the fauna — resembles MN. My first sighting of the Klondike Bluffs left me trembling, trying to drive and crane my neck at the same time. The colors are surreal: deep red ochre that penetrates one’s pores, and odd blue-green wash the color of copper patina that is really iron (absent the O2).
As I walked through the front door of the Visitor Center my cell phone rang. It was Juliana Smith, Lead Interpreter, wondering where I might be. “Here! Right here!” I replied, and she came running up with a big hug to welcome me. Within moments I had been shown around to the other workers and introduced, and there seemed to be an excitement that I was here — as much on their parts as on mine. I kept looking around me, pinching myself mentally, saying… “It is happening. It really is happening.” The more people I met, the more it confirmed my understanding that I will really fit in here and will enjoy these people tremendously.
Nancy (lead person over both parks, Canyonlands and Arches) was working behind the Visitor Center (hereinafter VC) desk and I got to listen in on her next five conversations with guests. I can’t believe how much I don’t know. Yes, I can. When the first Junior Ranger came up, however, to be quizzed… she smiled at me and said, “Go ahead!”… and I winged it and then she gave me the “No more than five min max per jr ranger…” and sent me on my way. She reminds me so much of Josie: Animated, expressive, humorous, smiling with her face as well as her eyes, and full of life. I am going to like Nancy.
I got shown to my apartment, checked in by the ever-useful Kyle, who adjured me to ALWAYS put in a work order if I needed ANYTHING done here because, well, nothing gets done unless it goes through the proper channels. And he was gone. I unloaded my car, piling things high in the LR, and knew it was time for my first hike.