Ranger Kathryn's Arches

September 25, 2010

Compliments in other languages

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:06 am
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The day Ranger Kathryn hiked to the Windows

There had been a snafu with our government vehicle at a busy arch location. A staff member had locked car keys inside, and I was the one to catch a ride to the general vicinity with the spare set. Because the one giving me the ride was almost late to her guided tour, I had her drop me off 1.5 miles from The Windows as I had time to hike in on a beautiful day. Besides, it would give me a chance to approach this section of the park on foot for the first time and see the large formations without a windshield in the way.

The perfect late-summer day was about to get better. I walked for about 35 minutes with my ranger hat, water, backpack (with radio and first aid kit, of course), and spare car keys. Visitors smiled or waved as they passed. I ascended the hill to the busy parking lot and encountered a couple in their 60s assembling their belongings for a hike. They looked up to see me happily hiking in instead of driving in. “Czmotyh heruth nwpprta sha unath bensdisen yuth,” the man said out loud. Not sure if he was talking to me, I said, “Eh?” and he smiled embarrassedly and shook his head: “I was telling my wife that the rangers here are better than I expected.”

I laughed out loud. His comment made me smile all day each time I remembered it. In this bittersweet time of mentally preparing for my upcoming departure, I am reminded OFTEN that the rangers here are clearly better than most people expect. We are a collection of professionals who are passionate about our job, our parks, and helping people make connections with this incredible resource. It’s my goal as a park ranger to always be “better than expected.”

March 21, 2010

Of deer mice, car keys, and carry-outs

Some days you don’t want to do over.

I opened the Visitor Center and was busy putting money in the till, raising the flag, writing the weather report on the whiteboard… and, out of the corner of my eye, saw a mouse run for cover behind a cardboard box.

We have plenty of mice. They can carry hantavirus (serious) and are not welcome. I walked over to said cardboard box, up against a wall, and kicked it VERY HARD.

Deer mouse bleeds from nose and twitches, but is still alive. Not having latex gloves and bleach solution (necessary to kill hantavirus), I leave it there and continue opening the Visitor Center. It is disposed of (i.e., killed and put out into the food chain) by Joel, just arriving for duty.

My day, and Joel’s day, go downhill from there. I could not find my car keys when I finished my field shift at a viewpoint, and had to radio to the Vis Center to bring me the spare set of car keys for the government vehicle. The entire county can hear my plea. After re-searching every nook and cranny, I find the keys in my SHIRT POCKET (I never put them there) and radio the VC to cancel the previous call. I am embarrassed.

Meanwhile, housemate Joel’s remote ‘Fiery Furnace’ tour is 80% finished when a participant seriously injures her ankle. Unknown whether broken or sprained, a SAR (Search And Rescue) happens and a dozen people help with a litter carry-out. Housemate Lauren is one of the rescuers.

We wind down our day with Lebanese food for dinner — Chef Joel makes falafel and tabouli and all the good stuff.

I hope we do not start out with a mouse tomorrow.

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