Ranger Kathryn's Arches

February 7, 2011

In which I am offered the internship

Turret Arch, photographed through North Window. Better than any cubicle.

My phone rang as I was pulling into the Trader Joe’s parking lot; the 435 area code told me that it was rural Utah. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. It had been all of eight hours since I had applied — a contemplative, prayerful eight hours.

In the subsequent twenty minutes I was offered, and I accepted, the raptor monitor internship at Arches National Park. It would be a season of becoming intimately familiar with a small portion of the Colorado Plateau and its avian residents. A new skill set would be required of me, distinctive from that of interpretive park ranger. In my head I heard the familiar words of my dear dad: “Not better, not worse, just different.”

I unfolded the park map on the seat next to me, slowly perusing its 119 square miles as I spoke with Tricia. “Kathryn, before your season is done, you will have hiked most of what you see on the map, ” she informed me. My heart leaped. 76,000 acres of mostly wilderness would be my office. Its lizards, insects, snakes, jackrabbits, spiders, scorpions, and large mammals would be my sweet companions. The desert plants, in all their spring glory, would be a visual feast when I wasn’t peering through binoculars at the birds I’d be studying. What an utter privilege to have been selected.

I floated into Trader Joe’s, humbled, grateful, thinking of Psalm 21: “You have granted her the desire of her heart and have not withheld the request of her lips.” I headed straight for the dark chocolate pomegranate seeds — such a fitting celebratory purchase.

It was a two-box day.


  1. A two box day indeed….what a perfect expression! So happy you were blessed with the desire of your heart…

    Comment by Kate Kresse — February 7, 2011 @ 10:37 am | Reply

    • We won’t talk about how long those two boxes lasted.

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 7, 2011 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  2. And Romans 8:28 comes to mind too. Congratulations! I know the raptors and other critters will be happy to have you amongst them.

    Comment by Allen Gislason — February 7, 2011 @ 11:43 am | Reply

    • Clearly not as happy as I will be to BE among them.

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 7, 2011 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  3. congrats to you,
    congrats to you,
    congrats dear Kathryn,
    congrats to you!

    Comment by john — February 7, 2011 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

    • O happiness!

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 7, 2011 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  4. Ah, but will the Canyonero be amongst your large mammal sightings?

    Comment by Ed Oak — February 7, 2011 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

    • I’m hoping for a giant ground sloth, actually.

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 7, 2011 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

      • And, secretly, for fresh cougar tracks…

        Comment by kath56ryn — February 8, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  5. Glad to have you back in 2011. Raptors…n-i-c-e

    Comment by visitmoabutah — February 8, 2011 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

    • I appreciate the ‘official’ welcome! Counting down the weeks.

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 8, 2011 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  6. What a shame that you can’t drum up any enthusiasm for your raptor internship. Congrats on getting it, and I know you will love it all, the downs as well as the ups.

    Comment by Mom — February 11, 2011 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  7. I sure am glad to hear of your return to Moab (even if you are from Minnesota), and I hope you don’t mind a shadow when you’re out following birds.

    Comment by Nathaniel — February 12, 2011 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

    • Thankee, Nathaniel. Shadowy figures add intrigue and mystery, and sometimes make it into a random blog post. Looking forward to seeing you.

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 12, 2011 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

  8. Hi Ranger Kathryn!
    My what a wonderful writer you are! I am very excited to have been selected to participate in the TRT program at Arches this summer! This will be my first time out west and I have enjoyed reading your posts regarding your experiences. I teach 8th grade Earth Science and Environmental Science Research in Michigan (but I am originally from Alabama). Maybe we’ll bump into one another when you come in from the “outback” one of these days this summer – that would be cool! Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts!

    Comment by Kelly — February 17, 2011 @ 12:26 am | Reply

    • Kelly, welcome to Arches! Have fun perusing the blog, and I’ll see you in June!

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 17, 2011 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  9. Congrats!!!! What a joy to have God’s creation as your “office.” Looking forward to reading your insightful posts and seeing your beautiful pictures.

    Comment by Gayle Hadden — March 2, 2011 @ 11:12 am | Reply

    • I’m glad you’re in the audience, girlfriend!

      Comment by kath56ryn — March 8, 2011 @ 8:42 am | Reply

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