Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 10, 2013

Full-on summer, no respite

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

IMG_2098

Summer’s oven has been turned on; it reached 96 degrees today. Temperatures won’t cool until fall here in Canyonlands. My geology talk was delivered in that intense unimpeded brilliance and blazing glare that defines our park until the summer rains bring some respite in July.

Taking TWO ice-filled water bottles in my pack is the way to survive the 2.5 hours at the overlook. That air-conditioned government car taking me back to the visitor center is a much-anticipated cocoon of refreshment.

Those who aren’t cut out for the mostly-oppressive heat don’t last in this harsh environment. While I may not enjoy baking/melting inside my polyester-and-wool uniform, it’s all about attitude. When you sport that cool hat that keeps the sun off your face, that hat that makes visitors’ faces light up as they hail you with “Hey, Ranger!”, you can put up with a lot of discomfort.

+++++

Note: today’s skies don’t resemble the above photo. That was an unusual formation last month that caught my eye. Blue and cloudless is the norm in our 300 sunny days per year.

Advertisements

March 20, 2012

What does winter’s last day look like?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:26 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

During a break in the storm, mid-morning clouds dapple the desert near Buck Canyon.

Monday was the last day of winter, and a lingering Pacific storm brought meteorological extravagance to our park. I happened to be out in it, happened to have my camera, and happen to believe that Canyonlands’ beauty peaks during wild weather. See what you think.

Candlestick Tower (L) and Baby Half Dome (R) under a falling sky

Mists sweep into -- and out of -- the canyon depths. This phenomenon happens only infrequently and it is remarkable to watch.

February 16, 2012

Weather report through the eyes of an interpretive ranger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Morning inversion -- clouds surging up from Shafer Canyon, 8:15 a.m.

On the park radio channel each morning at 0930, after the daily weather report, the various districts in the area broadcast their weather information from the past 24 hours. This allows us to better direct visitors in their travels, as well as inform any staff working in the backcountry. You can imagine that normally it is a very businesslike script passing over the airwaves.

Yesterday I just couldn’t help myself. The breathtaking cloud inversion was begging for an interpretive shout-out. When it was my turn on the radio, I would normally have begun, “Good morning from the Island in the Sky. Yesterday’s high was…”   But there was nothing normal about what I was seeing outside my visitor center, so this is what all the districts (and headquarters!) heard: “Good morning from the Island in the Sky, where clouds are surging from the canyon depths and shrouding the mesa top in wispy splendor. Yesterday’s high was 45, low was 29…”

I felt like such a rebel. As far as I know, I didn’t get in trouble.

One other time I took a chance and reported in all seriousness that the forecast was brought to you by the adverbs ‘mostly’ and ‘partly,’ after which I read the three days of mostly sunny and partly cloudy NOAA forecast word for word as I usually do. I felt that that was grammatically interpretive and not too far out of line. My co-worker admitted he didn’t know those words were adverbs. I felt doubly useful.

Radio dispatchers abhor flippant or too-casual usage, so I am very careful. But just look at the accompanying photo and tell me that you wouldn’t have done the same.

January 31, 2012

Entrusted with weather data collection

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Part of our humble weather station at Island in the Sky District

Every morning as I reach work, I peek into the eight-inch canister behind the visitor center. If any precipitation has fallen in the preceding 24 hours, it is measured exactly. Multiple measurements are taken in winter: new snow depth (measured on a white board swept clean daily), standing depth (measured on a stick secured in the ground), and new snow in the canister melted and measured to the nearest hundredth of an inch. Our digital temperature recording device marks highs and lows of the previous day. We note the hours during which weather events happened, any related observations (e.g., “snow squall with thunder clap,” or “wind blew tents down”), and oddities like hail or fog. Part of our morning procedures includes logging on to the National Weather Service data collection site and putting all our numbers safely into their system. I hope that gives meteorologists something interesting to study when storms are utterly absent.

This post was unnervingly monochromatic, requiring the addition of a recent sunset photo from my front door.

I must say that my favorite hand-written observation in the weather book last year was on October 25: “screaming double rainbow 4:37 pm.” Take that, National Weather Service!

March 7, 2010

Mists engulf The Windows

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:48 pm
Tags: , , , ,

At the Garden of Eden; winter mists

As I drove northward to my next duty assignment, I spied a heavy blanket of mists swirling through and around The Windows. Putting pedal to the metal, I bee-lined it with my camera un-pouched and ready. The Windows section is our most surreal neighborhood in the park even in sunny weather, but I invite you to see what happens when winter rainstorms and humidity swirl through. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Drink water! Even in March! Ranger Kathryn demonstrates.

Rainbow, 5 pm, over my house

Turret Arch from Balanced Rock, in winter mists

Ham Rock

Garden of Eden; midday 3/7/10

Blog at WordPress.com.