Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 18, 2010

My daughter joins me in the West

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 11:44 am
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Ilsa, just outside her front door at Canyonlands NP

You never know when you wake up what adventures a day may hold. That was true for my daughter a few weeks ago.

Just as I was arriving for my stint at Arches National Park, a student worker scheduled to come to Canyonlands NP backed out at the last moment. My boss was desperately asking around for tips on individuals who might replace that worker for three months, and I thought of my unemployed daughter in Minnesota. It was a wild idea… but, with a few bumps and some finagling, it came together.

Yesterday she arrived. After 1400 miles, city girl meets wild west. It’s gonna be a great spring.

One of my favorite experiences is to be alongside someone seeing these remarkable locations for the first time. Their awe and wonder are a source of deep joy to me. I hope many of you can come to these places for inspiration, rest and soul-refueling.

White Rim Overlook -- that white rock is 1000 feet below us

In which my decision keeps being confirmed

View to the east (La Sals) at Island in the Sky. This is the terrain in which we'll train.

It’s hard to miss.

Surprise, delight and envy — the look on the faces of climbers (inside the NPS and out) when I explain that I’ve been selected for Basic Technical Rescue says it all. This is a coveted training, and it seems I’ve been added to an elite sub-group of people.

Last night all the local ‘parkies’ were invited to a St Patrick’s Day cook-out at the home of one of the permanent rangers. I carry my purple rope in my purse and pull it out to practice knots whenever I have some down time; I need all the help I can get. These folks were eager to assist, and happy to go over and over it with me. One woman had been to the training before and is going this time, too, for Law Enforcement refresher — and promised to look after me and give help when needed. We tied Mr Purple Rope around the garden hose, chair legs, and itself. My retention is starting to improve. Another worker ran and got his Rescue Manual to loan me for bedtime reading for the next month, so I am at least familiar with terminology. The more I know what to expect, the less stressful it will be.

One of the Law Enforcement rangers (I think their name is changing to ‘Protection Rangers’ which sounds less threatening) suggested to me that in all likelihood my own park can loan me the specialized pieces of equipment that I am lacking. I’ll need an ascender, some etriers (web ladders), daisy chains, a chest harness, a bunch more carabiners…

I am psyched.

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