Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 29, 2013

Quick trip down Shafer Trail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:13 am
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The switchbacks that gain the most attention in Canyonlands National Park are the old livestock-path-turned-4WD-road called the Shafer Trail. Dropping over 1000 feet in just a few miles, it carries visitors away from the popular mesa-top viewpoints and crowds. When our friends arrived with a 4×4 truck that enabled us to explore one of the more remote parts of the park for an afternoon, we decided that getting off the beaten path is ALWAYS a good thing.

March 13, 2013

Again, it begins

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:16 am
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Clouds linger in the canyons after winter's last gasp.

Clouds linger in the canyons after winter’s last gasp at Island in the Sky district..

Spring is marching forth with unbridled energy as I return to Utah to begin my fifth season as a ranger in Canyonlands National Park. Winter’s remains are draped over the land; pockets of snow cower on the north sides of blackbrush and juniper, knowing their demise is imminent. The strengthening desert sun leaves no option.

Driving up and over the high knoll which conceals the massive sandstone chasms, knowing what spectacular view lies just ahead, I inhale deeply… but nothing in all the earth prepares me for the beauty that unfolds southward.

Words from a Mary Oliver poem rise in my soul, reverberating like harmonics after a deep gong has been rung —

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

Joy, joy — I am back where I belong.

March 10, 2012

Sneak preview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:41 am
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Sunrise from White Crack -- the most coveted campsite on the White Rim Road, for obvious reasons.

Two hundred fifteen photos and 130 sinuous miles later, our breathtaking 3-day backcountry trip is finished. Due to the imminent arrival of a very special guest — my daughter — I am taking a short hiatus from blogging. Here is a photo, however, that I hope conveys the essence of the wilderness protected by Canyonlands National Park. Every footstep I take in this place deepens my love of it, and my commitment to preserving it for future generations. Please enjoy; I hope this whets your appetite for upcoming posts that shall be published as soon as the dust settles.

January 24, 2012

Not in my park

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:12 am
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Location unknown, but it's where humans and moose intersect. (Photo shared with public on "Love Mountains" Facebook page.)

Sometimes a picture says it all.

A friend in the far north recently posted this on Facebook, making me realize that I am grateful for the absence of near-sighted ungulates here in Canyonlands National Park. Our dangerous beasts can be described by the adjective “elusive,” a good thing for humans sharing the territory.

Clearly the photo raises the questions of which critter was there first, and which has the right to live unmolested by the other.

December 19, 2011

What I see every morning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:50 am
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Shafer Canyon, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I’m laboring over a blog post on longings, which will take another concentrated hour of writing, but I want to show you what I see every morning from the picture windows at the visitor center. This view quiets my heart and replenishes my spirit. I hope this small two-dimensional representation will help you through your day.

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