Today I was “roving” in the park, which for Rangers, volunteers, and interns means being out on the roads and trails and at the parking lots and overlooks. Having a presence outside, away from the Visitor Center. Seeing what’s going on with the visitors, answering questions and providing any needed assistance.
I was taking photos of the earliest wildflowers in the park, for a display in the Visitor Center. People are always interested in the names of what is blooming at the time.
I walked out the lovely trail to the Horse Collar Ruin Overlook. It’s a favorite of mine, only 0.3 of a mile, and it stays above the rim of White Canyon. It goes to the edge of the canyon, looking down on the cliff dwelling ruins slightly above the bottom of the canyon on the other side of the stream.
There were two families down at the Ruins. They had been in the Visitor Center earlier, and were hiking a loop between two of the Bridges. I’m always impressed when people hike down into the canyons instead of merely going to the overlooks above.
The next trailhead from the Horse Collar Ruin is Kachina Bridge. I drove to that parking lot and hiked down to Kachina, figuring that having the families underneath the massive bridge would make for some good photos when they got that far down the canyon.
And it did. I talked with the adults for a while, pointing out the ancient artwork (both petroglyphs and pictographs) on both buttresses of Kachina, and about some of the geology.
Then it was time for me to hike back up out of the canyon to the parking lot. The young girls had been sitting in the sand along the stream, playing and enjoying the sun. As I started to walk away one of them said “Is it cool working here?”
“It’s very cool, I said”.
What a nice touch to my time with those families, and to another stellar springtime day. Later, back at the Visitor Center, they stopped in to refill their water bottles. One of the women recognized me, and told me that the other woman had remarked how nice it was to see somebody enjoying their job so much.
Meeting such nice people makes the job even cooler.
Photo location: Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah.
© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg