Well, it’s that time of year again. I’ll be heading back up to Denali National Park and Preserve this summer to help celebrate the park’s 100th birthday! This will be my first time driving up. If you’d like to follow me along on my 3,800 mile journey click this link to see where I am over the next week 🙂
I’m sure some of you have been wondering what the accommodations are like here in Denali. Most of the seasonals like myself live in “C-Camp”, which is where the 200 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers lived during the summers of 1938 and 1939 to build some of the original infrastructure for what was then Mount McKinley National Park. In recent years the local high school shop class has worked with the park to build 2 new cabins each year to replace the old ones. Each cabin is a little different as they took into account suggestions from the residents. Every cabin has 2 single rooms, a full kitchen, a common area, and there is a bath house and recreation hall in the middle of C-Camp for all to use.
Park visitation normally picks up around holidays, so yesterday I went out on a trail rove up to the Mt. Healy Overlook to talk with visitors along the way. The hike was nice, and the weather wasn’t too shabby either :p
Some of you may be wondering what is next for me. Well, you no longer have to speculate about this. I am happy to say that I have travelled back to Alaska! This time I will be working at Denali National Park & Preserve as a Park Ranger (Interpretation) at the entrance area!
This past Saturday I flew up to Fairbanks from Indiana to stock up on supplies before heading out on the Alaska Railroad the following morning. I reached Denali that afternoon and have been taking the time to settle in and explore my new home. Training will begin this Thursday and will last several weeks before the summer season begins. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all!
On September 20 my roommate woke me up just past midnight to let me know that he had seen the Aurora Borealis! I quickly put on some layers and got my camera to head out into the night to take a look at this amazing spectacle. While my coworkers and I were out we watched the Aurora creep up overhead, which apparently is very rare for this location in Alaska. We were lucky enough to get a cool, clear night for a change instead of the normal rain and clouds. We also got to see some shooting stars, and some bears fishing all while this was happening. I’ll be posting more Aurora pictures in the future! Not a bad start for a birthday :p
Well, it’s the end of the 2015 season! Today most of my flock and I are migrating away from Brooks Camp; the place I called “home” for 5 months. I shared it with big brown bears, high flying bald eagles, sly wolves, tasty salmon, and a plethora of other magnificent critters. I also welcomed visitors to show them a little bit about what I have discovered about Katmai, and get to experience daily. Now it is time for me to head back to Indiana. I will miss being able to walk out my front door and seeing a big ol’ bear out on the beach, but I will be happy to be back home for a bit. Thanks to my friends, family, and fellow park rangers for all of your support this summer! Although my time is up at Katmai, fret not! I have maaany photos waiting to be edited and published. Until then, I leave you with a poem:
“All In a Day’s Work”
The season’s over and they come down
From the ranger stations to the nearest town
Wild and woolly and tired and lame
From playing the “next to Nature” game
These are the men the nation must pay
For “doing nothing,” the town folks say.
But facts are different. I’m here to tell
That some of their trails run right through-well,
Woods and mountains and deserts and brush.
They are always going and always rush.
They camp at some mountain meadow at night,
And dine on a can of “Rangers Delight,”
They build cabins and fences and telephone lines,
Head off the homesteaders and keep out the mines.
There’s a telephone call, there’s a fire to fight;
The rangers are there both day and night.
Oh, the ranger’s life is full of joys,
And they’re all good, jolly, care-free boys,
And in wealth they are sure to roll and reek,
For a ranger can live on one meal a week.