Ranger Kathryn's Arches

Got Q?

This page is for your questions.  Ask away.


  1. Boy, Have I got a lot of catching up to do. I might even go out and buy a computer this weekend!!!

    Comment by Mike — July 10, 2009 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  2. hey nice blog! i wanted to tell you two things before i forget.

    1. we hiked pretty close to 6 miles today:)

    2. check out this website. a favorite. i would concur that it was a say’s phoebe. listen for yourself.

    see you tomorrow.

    Comment by triciao — March 30, 2010 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Kathryn!
    I do have questions – but before that, let me just say how much I’ve enjoyed your posts and reading about your adventures! You are a most amazing woman! I think you sell yourself far short and don’t give yourself enough credit for the unique, articulate and beautiful soul that you are! You’re VERY intelligent and possess such an adventurous spirit! You are blessed with a beautiful, loving, and supportive family – for which I know you are thankful! I am looking SO forward to meeting you when I get out to Arches this June for my first stint in the TRT program!

    Now for my questions – I’ve seen your posts where you are camping out. Are those times on your days off? If so, do you recommend that I bring a tent with me when I come? (Because I definitely want to take in some of the experiences you have had!) I have also seen your posts where you were rock climbing. I understand that part of it was a certain rescue training that you took, but I gathered that other times was for recreation. Was that training a routine part of the TRT program or was it a special invitation based on the skills you demonstrated over the courses of your TRT seasons? I’m asking because I am interested in those activites. My son is an Army Ranger and just completed a mountain climbing school in Vermont. He’s coming for a visit next week and is eager to teach me some of the techniques he has learned and familiarize me with the equipment used. (I have never been rock climbing.) I am planning on bringing my mountain bike and want to bring my kayak too. I want to make the most of my summer in Utah. I am so excited for this adventure and can’t wait to don my “flat hat”!!

    I haven’t had any recent contact with Karen Henker. I have a lot of studying up to do before I get there. She sent me an entire messenger bag (I think it’s one that is loaned to visitors) filled with brochures and books of the geology, history, flora and fauna of the area. There are additional online courses I have signed up for as well. This is my Spring Break week and I’ve got my work cut out for me! LOL

    Anyway, any advice and suggestions you could give me as to what to bring would be greatly appreciated!

    Kelly Reach

    Comment by Kelly — April 3, 2011 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  4. Hello Kathryn,

    I’m an editor at a small, independent educational publishing company. We’re working on a series of books for children in grades 3 to 5 about hunting and how to be safe and responsible in nature. Part of this book includes information on various animals along with how to recognize their tracks and droppings. I’ve been looking for a photo of bighorn sheep droppings for this section, and I came across one on your blog that I think could work: https://arches.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/img_0849.jpg. Would you be willing to let us use this photo in our book? Of course, we will give full credit for the photo on the copyright page. Please contact me via email with your response. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Comment by Aaron Carr — May 25, 2012 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  5. Hi Kathryn,

    I’m from Tasmania, Australia and have only just discovered your wonderful blog. I’m wondering if you have a Facebook page which I could link to so I can be alerted to udates.



    Comment by Grant Murray — May 29, 2012 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

    • Hey, Grant,

      Welcome! So glad you stumbled upon my blog; I hope it brings you some delight so many time zones away. You can subscribe to email notifications by clicking the small white oval that says SIGN ME UP in the upper right of the front page. OR you can befriend me on FB and hear that way — https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=711831419 — whichever you’d prefer. Glad to have you along! Feel free to comment on anything that catches your eye. I’ll look you up when I make my first visit down under. All the best to you!


      Comment by Kathryn Burke — May 29, 2012 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  6. Kathryn,

    Thank you for putting together such a great blog! I’m planning a week-long trip to Arches and Canyonlands (Needles) for March with my 6-yr-old son. Among other things, I’m trying to make a judgment about whether the Fiery Furnace ranger-guided hike will be a good one for us. I see that you have led that hike, and I wonder if you could tell me what your general experience has been with 6 yr olds on that hike. The physical demands of the hike will not be a problem for my son. I’m more concerned just about keeping him motivated for a 3 hr hike. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again,


    Comment by Jim Skidmore — January 22, 2013 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

    • Jim, most of my experiences with younger children (5-8 yr olds) have been very positive. It all depends on the child’s attitude and mental preparation for the hike; if a parent has set them up for a 3-hr adventure, they do just fine. Explain to him that there will be short stops for the ranger to do some talking during a single-file hike with 24 others through a labyrinth of rock. Most kids eat it up. If attention or respectfulness are lacking, small children can be disruptive as it’s mostly adults on the tour… but that doesn’t happen often. I suspect your son will do just great and you both will have grand memories of the trip! It’s my favorite place in all of Arches NP!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 23, 2013 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

      • Thanks for the response and the encouragement. I think it will go well. We’ve seen the pictures and video online, and he’s pretty interested. The other thing that has caught his eye in our web searches is the Joint Trail in the Needles, so with luck we’ll be spending a couple of nights in Chesler Park earlier that same week.

        Thanks again, and I’ll try to remember to report back in late March.


        Comment by Jim Skidmore — January 25, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

  7. Hi Kathryn,

    Really nice blog with great pictures! I’m a scientist working for the National Wildlife Federation and we’re putting together a report about how climate change is affecting wildlife. I’d like to use one of your photos in the report, if you’re willing to grant permission. It’s the second photo on the Nov 9, 2011 post about Cataract Canyon. The one showing tamarisk. Please feel free to contact me directly at staudta at nwf dot org.

    Amanda Staudt

    Comment by Amanda Staudt — January 23, 2013 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

    • Good evening, Amanda,

      Thanks for perusing my blog! I’m happy to let you use the tamarisk photo, which certainly shows how thick the invasives have become. We were on the Colorado River and I was shooting in a westerly direction, so if you need to locate the spot on a map it would be just east of Airport Tower in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands NP. For the photo credit please use my legal name, Kathryn Colestock-Burke. That’s all! Thanks for all your hard work for the NWF! Come see us some time!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 23, 2013 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

      • Thanks so much for your speedy reply! We’ll make sure to use your full name, of course. The report will be released on Weds Jan 30 and can be found at http://www.nwf.org/climatecrisis. And, I would LOVE to come visit some time!

        Comment by Amanda Staudt — January 23, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  8. Hello!
    I (like many others it seems) have nejoyed your blog, I came across it looking for an image of a solar eclipse shot through a sun hat after I saw it mentioned in a book. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind me using it in an educational talk I am giving about camera obscuras? Of course you will be fully credited. Many thanks

    Sam – light-play.org

    Comment by Sam White — April 11, 2013 @ 8:38 am | Reply

    • Feel free, Sam! That was a serendipitous discovery when a Panama hat cast thousands of eclipsed sun images. Same thing happened to me when I was a little girl and the maple tree’s leaves acted as apertures… I’ll never forget the side of the cabin full of little sun crescents. Sounds like a fun talk; wish I could be there.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 11, 2013 @ 9:45 am | Reply

      • Thank you!
        I have been trying to catch it with trees too but there has been so little sun recently. And no eclipse..

        thanks again,


        Comment by Sam White — April 11, 2013 @ 10:34 am

  9. I am planning a trip at the beginning of Nov. for my husband’s 40th birthday (he is a mountain biker). Is that too late in the season for hiking? Any suggestions on being able to see the sights in a few days?

    Comment by Stephanie — June 4, 2013 @ 7:27 am | Reply

    • Early November is often a fabulous time. Daytime temps can still be pleasant, nighttimes chilly but not freezing, and most of the crowds have left! Stop in at the Visitor Center and the friendly rangers can direct you to the finest sights imaginable. Hours will be 9 to 4 by then. I may even still be around, and would be delighted to meet and help you. What an excellent bday gift!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 4, 2013 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  10. Hi Kathryn! Beautiful blog. I have an odd question that I can’t seem to find the answer to anywhere else.

    I’m getting married at Arches this October, and my fiancee and I just realized we had no idea who we should get to officiate the ceremony. Then we hit on the brilliant idea of maybe having a park ranger do it. So, do you happen to know if there are any rangers who would be willing and able to fulfill such a crazy request?


    Comment by Chris — June 27, 2013 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

    • Chris, I can’t think of a lovelier place to get married, and October is the month all the locals live for. Park rangers have lots of super-powers but no authority to marry folk, so I’d contact the pastor of Moab Community Church. His name is Keith VanArsdol and he’ll officiate for you for a reasonable price. Best wishes to you guys! The wedding photos will be splendid! Don’t forget to contact Arches for a permit!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 29, 2013 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  11. Hi,

    I accidentally showed someone at work the picture that pops up when you google park ranger. I really don’t want it to embarrass her or harm her career. Could you change your blog name, or take that picture down for a while? It’s a bummer that such a good ranger could get reduced down by a photograph.

    Comment by Court — March 7, 2016 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

    • I have no idea what you’re referring to. Since I don’t have any compromising photos on my blog (or anywhere), I’m puzzled by your comments.

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — March 29, 2016 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  12. Hi Kathryn, Thanks for all of your great blog entries. I haven’t been able to find the answer to my question anywhere else. We will be at Arches July 6th and 7th, 2016, a Wednesday and Thursday and all of the ranger- led tours are sold out online. The group is my husband and I and 4 college-age boys. We would love to go on our own pace and exploration anyway as we are pretty experienced (but it is our only choice anyway at this point). Do the 75 individual permits get sold out at the 7 days ahead mark or is there a good possibility that if we got to the visitors center by 8 am on both days, we might get 6 permits? Also I read somewhere that sometimes at the beginning of the summer, like Memorial Day, they add a second ranger- led tour time to the online reservations. Is this true? Right now only 9 a.m. is listed for the summer. Thanks so much! Allie

    Comment by Allie Reed — March 16, 2016 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

    • Sorry I’m not able to help you but Arches is still hiring rangers for the season and things may change for July. I’d say you have a fair chance of getting individual permits and a lesser chance of getting on a ranger-led tour. Stay positive! Even if you can’t get into the Fiery Furnace, it’s still a fabulous park!

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — March 29, 2016 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  13. Hi, Kathryn,
    I would like to use one of your photos in a non-profit TV (and web) video for Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Can you please contact me off list: sagelandmedia@gmail.com.
    Thank you — and I love your blog!
    Chris Simon

    Comment by Chris Simon — April 12, 2016 @ 9:43 am | Reply

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