With bright, sunny skies we arrived at our very first volunteer job. I know, I've been talking about this thing since last year when we were accepted but take a look at the picture. Yes, this is view from our office and will be for the next month.
After settling in to our camping site and introducing ourselves, we were welcomed like family – you know, the ones that seem to always get lost and usually need just that little bit of extra help? Yep, that's us. We received the usual cautions about soft spots, pot holes and the little quirks about the phones and internet connections(marginal at best and only at the visitor center) and then some unique to Red Canyon such as “Don't set up any chairs there, the sheep will chew on them.”
The volunteer camp is about a mile or so from the visitor center tucked well off the road in among tall Ponderosa pine. Consisting of 5 full hook-up sites, its as spacious and well maintained as any high end RV resort and I'm guessing some RV'ers helped out, if not fully designed the layout.
Our first evening we stayed up way too late chatting with one volunteer couple who were heading out the next day. Ann and Bob House have been full-timing it for the past 4 years and volunteering almost exclusively in Forest Service jobs such as this one. Their experiences and the wisdom picked up were like gold to us rank amateurs. We learned so many valuable tidbits and pretty much filled up a note pad with such things as “Do not attempt to pet the park bear.” and “Feed the Ranger lest he gets grumpier than the park bear.” “Some parts of the pine trees are edible, so too are the chipmunks.” “DO NOT under any circumstances pet the black and white striped cat.”
All kidding aside, it was a very enjoyable evening and one we hope to repeat sometime in the future if our roads happen to cross again. If you beat us to it, say “Hi” for us.
The visitor center is a small building with the usual gift shop, counter with brochures and a small video room with short movies of the attractions in the area. When you enter the front door that first office view seems to just drag you all the way in. That silhouette is Chris who is terribly afraid of heights yet she still went right to the edge overlooking the gorge. We've already been warned, cleaning nose prints from the glass is pretty much the job.
According to the Garmin, we're camped at 7476ft elevation with very pleasant days and cool nights. We've had a couple of storms roll through bringing hail and rain but their ferocity is blunted by their brevity. You still get soaked, but its a short soaking.
Today marks are first “official” day where we go to headquarters for some paperwork, uniform issue and finally meet the Ranger that hired us. Its about a 12 mile drive into the nearest town, Dutch John, Utah so we'll get to see more of the area and have more pictures to share.
Not sure why they don't want us to pet the cat... :)