Monday, June 8, 2009

Better than Ice Cream

We all made it back from West Glacier in one piece. My camping trip to the North fork had to be postponed due to car trouble…not with my car at least. I decided to drive my own car over so that I would be able to go camping after training and get some groceries. I had driven the white government van over to the west side the day before for orientation and took it on route 49 which is a narrow road with many twists and turns. One wrong move and a car could easily end up over the edge. I remembered saying to one of my co-workers, “I wonder how long they are going to keep this crappy van…its beginning to scare me a little bit.” I laughed at the end of the next day when we left the broken down van sitting in the gas station parking lot in East Glacier. Sierra had been driving the van just behind me and when I reached the end of route 49 I pulled my car over because I did not see them behind me anymore. I waited 5 minutes and started to get a little worried. After about 7 minutes I decided to turn around and go back for them. No sooner had I turned around did I see them coming around the bend very slowly, turn the corner and roll in to the gas station. Apparently the van was making some interesting noises and since there was no mechanic in town we had to ditch the vehicle and cram as many bags and people into my car and Amy Maries little Subaru and my Escape as well. We made it there eventually, 40 minutes late for training and with one less car. It must have been serious enough because it was towed and we still don’t have it back…

More and more people are arriving now and all divisions should be fully staffed now. Saturday morning I woke up hoping to possibly get out on the trails at some point before our second week of training and work begins. I looked out the window to see a fresh 3 inches of snow. Well so much for that I thought, and went back to bed. I did eventually get up and outside to take some pictures as the snow started to melt out. We all could feel the front moving through the day before as the wind began to pick up. Some of the visitors were warned about the snow but they didn’t seem to believe us. I wonder how they are doing today as they crawl out of their tents. Some tourists from Florida were taken by surprise as well.

We now have a bear trap in St. Mary because of a problem bear that we have been having in the housing area. Audrey told me that we had a bear on our front porch this past week and he went barreling off into the bushes as soon as she opened the door. Living in the trailer loop definitely has its perks. As much as I miss the dorm it is a nice change to have my own space, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Now I have a whole lot of room to throw my stuff around in and not just one room. My Wii has become quite popular and I am glad considering that is why I brought it. I am in the dorm quite often though as we have quite an interesting group this season. Last year training seemed very quiet compared to this year. We have strong and outgoing personalities this year in the interpretive division and so far have been really enjoying myself. At the end of the day I can leave the noise and head back to a more secluded area to unwind. I think I have found the best of both worlds.

I hear rumors of more movie showings at the St. Mary Visitor center. We recently saw V for Vendetta as a group. Why not? We have this amazing new surround sound system so why shouldn’t we enjoy it for ourselves once in a while? We watched the Wizard of Oz last week before training that lead us into our theme for this year. In many ways Glacier National Park is like the wonderful Land of Oz…. Visitors to the park can relate to Dorothy because they are visiting a magical place where there are all sorts of interesting this to see and experience. When they return home they will be forever changed. Home might be the same physically but this place does seem to have an effect on people. One they get to this park many different things lay in their path that interpreters are trying to help them find. We provide them with intellectual connections that help them to understand the meanings of the resource (Scarecrow…he is the symbol of intellect). They will hopefully also make emotional connections (Tin man). As interpreters we are taught to use the resource and our creativity to bring about these emotional connections. This will allow visitors to care about Glacier then hopefully care for Glacier. And finally courage is what makes this all possible (Lion). We must have the courage to try new things, break out of our comfort zone and allow ourselves to be surprised.

After the snow on Saturday a few of us decided to go on a trek up to Scenic Point in the Two Medicine area. We knew that it was going to be snow covered but we welcomed the adventure and started out early on Sunday morning. We saw a cinnamon black bear and a moose on the drive up and another black bear on the drive out. One might think that that would be a great day in itself but the hike and some time by the lake were spectacular. We ran into more and more snow on the trail as we climbed in elevation. At one point we missed one of the switchbacks because the snow was so deep that we couldn’t see the trail….we figured that since Scenic Point was at the top I was pretty hard to miss. Eventually we rejoined the trail and made it to a large rock at the top. Scenic Point was in view but a large snow drift kept us from going all the way. The drift was on a ledge…Bryan was convinced that we could make it but after looking at it closer he was eventually outvoted. I told him that I think we are recognizing limits and respecting them. After the Mt. Jackson incident last summer I am beginning to respect those limits more often.

The view was incredible with all of the snow covered peaks in the distance. We had lunch on the top. Food always tastes better after a long hike. Bryan continued to say, “There is nothing better than an apple at the top of a mountain. That first bite is better than ice cream.” Sierra, Shari, and I completely agreed and enjoyed the view for about half an hour until heading back down. We then spent another hour on the shore of Two Medicine Lake. There were then 15 attempts at a picture of us jumping in the air followed by a short swim. I thought they were crazy but they went in and I just took embarrassing photos which I will not post at this time in an attempt to keep the friends that I have made.

It was my first shift in my full park service uniform today. I came into the visitor center at 8am and as people came in for training and computer use I was greeted with, “Awwww look at you.” I guess I failed at the attempt to look like a bad ass. Haha…just kidding. Sarah then insisted on getting about 5 pictures of me behind the desk. The visitor center has been slow and I can honestly say that I was bored today. Hence the pictures….and sneaking in to watch bear training…and looking at mountain lion pictures. Soon enough the VC will be flooded with visitors and programs will commence. I applied to my first winter job today as well…seems really soon but it will be here before we know it.

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