Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 12, 2010

Didn’t know if it would ever happen, but it did

Her face changed in an instant, from engaged in listening to my patio talk to transported to a far-removed place and gripped with emotion. She swallowed hard, and a sniff followed. Soon her glasses were in her hands and she was surreptitiously trying to dab a tear from each eye. I couldn’t miss it in my intimate audience of seven.

It all came at that powerful place in my talk where I build an emotional connection for my listeners; I take them from “John Wesley Powell was here in the park facing an unimaginable unknown (Cataract Canyon) on July 20, 1869” to “Exactly 100 years later, to the day, Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the unexplored moon.” My visitor must have been in the right frame of mind to make that leap, that connection to a piece of history-turned-reality. It opened her up to something she’d never considered before. To my eyes, it looked as if it rocked her world.

Our training in interpretation techniques states clearly that if we assist the visitor to make both intellectual and emotional connections with the park, it is a powerful one-two punch that drives our teaching home like nothing else. I’d seen glimpses of this a few times in my presentations, but this one was a ten on a ten-point scale. It is my sincere hope that the woman from Houston will experience Canyonlands NP with a “beginner mind” as a result of her fresh connections between 19th-century exploration and 20th-century accomplishments.


  1. hey ranger kathryn. pam and barry were over to eat with us last night and she told me about your blog. i had asked her how you were doing. doug and i used to live in utah and drove that marble canyon route often en route to family and the move to az. awesome views from the car window, breath taking. when i read your blog about the monsoon season, it brought me back to exactly what you said…….t storms almost every afternoon, cooler temps then a blast of heat to follow. for a calif girl those t storms were eye popping and sometimes nerve wracking when they interrupted outdoor activities coming up out of no where. but to imagine you there leading tours and bringing more than just a description , rather an adventure to the visitors, was not hard. blessed are those visitors for you are an amazing teacher. i have you to thank for enriching my walk with the Lord esp as i studied scripture that tore open the mass for me each sunday and now daily. the worship in mass exploded and humbled me. to this day , you come to mind with thanksgiving knowing God had intended for us to meet. i’ll pretend you are leading me on a tour in utah’s best places with your gift of excitement and adventure poured into every step . God bless you kathryn . prayers continue for you thanks be to God. : ) deb

    Comment by deb reetz — July 12, 2010 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  2. The moment a speaker lives for . . . connection.

    Comment by leroque — July 13, 2010 @ 9:49 am | Reply

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