Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 24, 2009

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…


  1. This made my heart warm. I’m sure you’re loving being able to answer all the questions and let people know you’re happy they’re there.

    Comment by Eldest Daughter — June 24, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  2. K,
    The font and size in the first paragraph are eminently readable. The complexity and diminutive size of the font in the second paragraph makes reading much more difficult. Stick with the crisp, simple and large for maximum legibility.

    Comment by Dad — June 25, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

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