Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 24, 2009

Need another name!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:03 am

Look who I found last night, 40 yards up the wash from Rex!  Does sandstone have certain cleavage planes?  A little smaller, facing the same direction…

Awwww!  Cute!

Awwww! Cute!

Rogue Ranger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:51 am

Rogue Ranger Kathryn looking pleased underneath the Three Gossips

Rogue Ranger Kathryn looking pleased underneath the Three Gossips

Mid-afternoon training on selling permits and using the cash register and voiding mistakes and closing out at day’s end left my mind seriously spinning.  I just wanted to go play in the park, not take someone’s money and give them a hiking pass.  So, after work I grabbed my ranger hat, drove the switchbacks up the 800-foot rise behind my house, and parked at the trailhead of my favorite little two-mile hike.  Got out, took a deep breath, and put on my hat and game face.  It’s 94 degrees at 7 pm.  Rogue Ranger Kathryn on the loose!  I was off the clock, just living my ranger dream on my own time. 

I strode confidently to the sign identifying the overlook and the surrounding rock strata, greeting folks as I went, welcoming them to my park, reminding them to drink a lot of water, asking what they liked best.  People’s faces changed from weary to thrilled in a nanosecond after I addressed them.  Many approached me with questions or comments.  (“Please tell the park naturalist that a pair of peregrine falcons is nesting near Skyline Arch.”  “Where is a good place for us to watch the sun set?”  “Will it be this hot tomorrow?”  “Pretty cool petroglyphs you’ve got at Wolfe Ranch!”  “Where can I go to see things from the road if walking is difficult?”  “How far is it to Delicate Arch?”) Others wanted their pictures taken with me (after all, am I not the park mascot?) or asked me to take their pics with family.  It was remarkable to experience the difference that a uniform makes.  Instant authority was bestowed upon me, along with respect and the ability to approach any one, for any reason.  Happiness bubbled up inside me.  Park visitors absolutely live for personal ranger contact, and if they get their two minutes’ worth in the visitor center, and another few minutes on a trail, life is golden.  I try to give each party my undivided attention and conclude our interaction with how happy I am that they have come to visit my park.  I slip in safety advice (dehydration prevention) at every opportunity and remind them never to step on our biological soil crust that is alive and holds our sands in place.  I wish them safe travels, and move on down the trail.  Repeat.  Move on.  Repeat.  What a life, I tell you…

Oh, no! A mundane day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:47 am

My polyester-and-wool dress pants were not the most comfortable, nor my polyester button-up shirt, so I was sweating.  It was in the high 90s today and somewhat humid for the desert. Summer is upon us at last. The usually-sweet children at the multi-cultural center in Moab (with whom I spend 70% of my time working) were cranky and whiny with the heat.  They didn’t want to do much of anything — until we came to a shallow creek and pulled out our small hand lenses and turned over a rock and explored.  Shrieks of delight!  I will not report how many moms would collect kids with wet shoes or clothes or feet today.  Then we walked them to the Moab Art Center for a project, and found a very cute bat in the kitchen so promptly caught it under a bowl and taught the kids never to touch a bat, before we took it outside and released it.

The city of Moab has a summer free lunch program for any children who wish to come to the elementary school between 11:30 and 1:00 daily. It is not your typical hot dog on white bun, either — it is HEALTHFUL food, fruits, veggies, salad, cottage cheese, tuna or turkey sandwich on wheat, etc.  We two rangers get to eat our free lunch and then do hands-on environmental education projects or games with the kids, which we have planned ahead of time.  I’m learning the names of the regulars.  It is tempting to think that I am making a difference in their education.

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