Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hello readers. I have has been a little busy since I’ve come to Brooks Camp. I had a couple of weeks of training during the second half of May, and then we have been doing our regular ranger duties since June 1. I am also trying to get my interpretive programs in shape to present to visitors. During the last week of May, I got to do a week of MOCC (Motorboat Operator’s Certification Course) training. It was great, but challenging! I learned how to tie many different kinds of knots, like the bowline, clove hitch, anchor bend, sheet bend, and others. Most of the training was inside in the classroom, but on the final day, we got to get in a boat and drive! We were tested on a few exercises like kissing a buoy, a serpentine pattern, and a star pattern. Finally, I had to swim in Lake Brooks (a really cold body of water!) out to a boat and then get into the boat. My muscles did not work very well after swimming in that water! It was exciting. I almost did not pass one of the exercises – kiss the buoy. You had to pretend that the buoy was a drowning victim (perhaps unconscious). You had to drive the boat up to the victim without hitting the victim, “Bob,” and have the person in the bow of the boat reach out and touch the buoy. I kept killing Bob. BUT, I believe that I passed, and after some practice hours, I should be able to operate a motorboat all by myself!
The only other adventure I’ve had in the past few weeks was going backpacking in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes during Memorial Day weekend. About 9 rangers went on the trip, and of course we had a blast together. It was still pretty cold out in the valley. If you do not know what the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is, it is a 40-square-mile valley filled with the volcanic ash of Novarupta volcano. It was the largest volcanic eruption of the twentieth century, and it occurred on June 6, 1912. It is a pretty spectacular place if you are at all interested in geology. Anyway, it was pretty cold out there. In order to hike to Novarupta, the source of the eruption, you have to hike about 12 miles from the drop-off location and cross two rivers. One of the rivers is the River Lethe, which comes from the glaciers on Mt. Mageik, an active volcano. Well, when we went to cross the Lethe, it was about knee-deep, and there were icebergs the size of watermelons rushing by. Yes, I got hit in the shin with one of them. It hurt! But that was the worst injury on the trip for me. We did not actually make it to Novarupta because of so much snow and muddy ash. However, we had a great time!

The pictures below are 1. four of my co-workers hiking in the Valley. Mt. Griggs is the snow-capped volcano in the background 2. Katie and Ellen hiking on top of Broken Mountain. The Valley is in the background 3. The Knife Peak Glaciers coming off of Mt. Katmai in the Valley. Notice the glaciers are covered with ash - ash insulates snow and ice! 4. My co-workers enjoying the hike through the Valley. Snowy Mt. Mageik is in the background.

It is still good to be back at Brooks Camp! I love my cabin. I attached a few photos of the outside of my cabin above. I have my nutria fur hanging on the wall that my friend, Imes, gave me last summer, so I really feel like a trapper woman. The bears are not around in large numbers yet. I’ve only seen about five or six bears since I’ve been back. I am trying to become a better birder. I spend my time on the river trying to identify birds that I don’t know.

Pictures below are 1. Me and some co-workers on top of Dumpling Mountain 2. Katie and Kara acting like bears at Brooks Falls (Katie is my roommate!) 3. Our staff photo of all of the interpretive rangers!