Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 4, 2011

Terrible, horrible, no good…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

It was a perfect day. Tricia and I were hiking through Eagle Park, the remote corner of Arches, looking for raptor nests. Everything about this spring day was exceptional, even though we couldn’t find eagles. We found petroglyphs, an ancient archeological site, exceptional wildflowers blooming, bobcat tracks, a prairie falcon, a red-tailed hawk, a kestrel. Just being out on the search made the day a complete joy.

La Sal Mountains framed by the Marching Men

And then I lost the park’s GPS.

It is an old and well-used one, loaded with waypoints for every single raptor nest in the park, as well as the 45 flags for the breeding bird census, numerous archeological sites, parking areas, and routes. It is the brains of the whole bird operation. And it fell out of my pocket today.

We spent an hour using Tricia’s newly-learned tracking skills (to search for lost people) retracing our every step. If it had dropped into a sandy wash we would have found it. If it slipped into the morass of tumbleweed, we certainly gave it our best college try, but no glint of plastic could be seen anywhere.

My boss couldn’t have been more kind. She did not utter one negative word to me, nor scold, nor even imply that I should have been more careful. I was the one beating myself up, knowing exactly what I ought to have done differently, wishing I could turn back the clock to our lunch stop when I last had it in my hand.

I’m ready to buy the park a new one, and spend my own free time entering a few hundred latitude and longitude numbers by hand. But still… it hurts to know that my carelessness is behind it all.

Leave a comment: Have you ever lost anything of great importance?


  1. First of all, scratch that word “carelessness.” It is probably totally inappropriate. Careless might be laying it down on a rock while you take a nap and then walking off without it. No, it was an accident. Not easier to take, but different.

    Comment by Mom — May 4, 2011 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  2. if only they would have spent a few dollars more and gotten the GPS with the emergency MOB (man overboard) beacon…………… sigh!!!!!

    Comment by john — May 5, 2011 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  3. I’m so sorry, Kathryn…what a horrible thing to happen. So frustrating!! God knows where it is. Maybe you’ll still find it.

    Comment by kathy lewis — May 5, 2011 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  4. Sooo sorry, friend! And beating up yourself about it–I totally relate. Even when the dollar amount is much smaller, I can still get VERY “stuck” when I blew it. I have often (or almost always) found much more grace for me on the outside (i.e. others) than I easily find inside. Do you think “newly-learned tracking skills” can locate grace… something to ponder on the journey.

    Comment by Lynn K — May 5, 2011 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  5. love you friend…. so sorry this happened!!!

    Comment by Ginger Engelhardt — May 6, 2011 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  6. This is an unfortunate but common event – we all lose things, sometimes at great inconvenience to ourselves or others. Every Monday morning when I go to work, it is “lost and found” time. People call the office to ask about their misplaced keys, books, purses, glasses, scarves, gloves, rings, baby care items – you get the picture. If someone can wear/carry/drag anything, they can and do lose it. Some people have even closed and reopened bank accounts before realizing their checkbook has been found by poor but honest church employees. My prize find was a guy’s driver’s license and social security card. I reunited him with them! Chris

    Comment by chris youngman — May 7, 2011 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  7. Sounds like you’ve got/had a great boss.

    Comment by Ron Carroll — April 8, 2012 @ 8:59 am | Reply

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