Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 16, 2009

Personal Best: 9 arches

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:02 pm

 

Barbie was careless, and an arch fell on her.

Barbie was careless, and an arch fell on her.

Nine arches in one hike!!  Do not let yourself think that once you have seen one arch, you have seen them all.  No, no.  Every arch has a different size, shape, thickness, name, height, color, and most of all FEEL.  Some are graceful and lithe, others massive and heavy and thick.  Today Jess, Amanda and I hiked the 5 miles of trail in Devil’s Garden.  We found one that we named Yardstick Arch, because it is but a horizontal crack in a fin that is about enough to pass a yardstick under.  In hundreds of years it might be big enough to crawl through.

 

At several points in this hike we were atop the large fins, hiking the backs of them as if we were traipsing up the back of a stegosaurus.  We reached what we called Pride Rock, giving us sweeping views of our entire Arches NP kingdom, which we surveyed with total amazement while eating trail mix and drinking Gatorade.  We could see for miles and miles in every direction, from the La Sal Mountains (with snow on top) to the Salt Valley.  I can’t get enough of this land.

SAR: Search & Rescue

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:48 pm

 

Search and Rescue training -- me on backboard

Search and Rescue training -- me on backboard

Practicing for a drill one hopes never to have to carry out in real life is sobering.  Today we strapped ME to a backboard for a carry-out of a hypothetical person, injured by a fall in the park.  They (Law Enforcement) are currently looking for a body in the Colorado (drowning victim, water is 62 degrees) and last week were called to a trail at the north end of the park where a 19-year-old female was tripping on LSD and was combative and refused to come off the trail, screaming and fighting despite being held down by other visitors while awaiting law enforcement’s arrival.  For Search and Rescue events, anybody on the park service payroll can be tapped for assistance.  I have put my name and phone number in if they need help when I am available, but we hope it does not come up.  Carrying out the dead bodies is the hardest job.  Believe me, it happens.

What do you think?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:13 am

“Living well requires an adventurous spirit.”     (Seen on a brochure for a local adventure company.)  Do you agree, or disagree?  Why?

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Resilience

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:06 am

toad tadpoles in a slickrock pothole

toad tadpoles in a slickrock pothole

 

Light is extremely penetrating in the desert and nothing can escape the forces that it exerts on all living and inanimate objects.  This morning I saw a small squirrel of some kind, running under my clothesline.  Only the underside of his tail is white, and he bends it over his back like a parasol.  The white is excellent at reflecting the sun’s rays.  What ingenuity!  There is no lack of creativity in desert survival mechanisms.  The aquatic tardigrade, or microscopic ‘water bear,’ can roll himself into a ball when drought strikes his little pothole.  He can survive a decade or more rolled into that ball, sitting in the dirt; if it were us, our heart would beat only three times yearly while in that state.  Researchers even took some tardigrades into space and exposed them to the ionizing radiation of the deep vacuum of space.  Upon return to earth, after being plopped into water… they readily came back to life.  Resilience is key if one is to survive in the harsh desert environment.  Resilience is a characteristic that benefits us all, in the harshness of our own lives.

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