Posts Tagged “utah”

stoked to be back in Alamosa in a few days!  Zion has been truly amazing and will be missed dearly but right now home is back in Colorado.  Who knows, maybe Zion is my next home?  See you soon Adams State!

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My computer was out of commission for a bit so the blogging essentially stopped…but I am now back in business!  The past few weeks have treated me well and have flown by in a scenic blur.  In an effort to escape the heat and see a new place, some fellow Backcountry folk and I went up north of the park, past Kolob Reservoir for a countryside cruise.  We raced away from storm clouds coming from behind us into thick, endless aspen forests which then opened up into huge, plush fields.

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Many of which were covered in tiny purple and yellow flowers.  On our way back we got drizzled on just a bit and as we came over a hill, were greeted with a double rainbow…always a good thing.
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Work also has been gettin’ me around the park.  From the East Rim:P1010481
to the West Rim:
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I visited probably one of the most famous logs stuck in a drainage…
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and have found loads of critters.
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There are really tiny baby lizards around now that are completely adorable and I saw my first scorpion (not in a cage) that was all of an inch and a half long.

Southwestern Utah amazing.  I urge anyone who has not been to this part of the country to get out here and see it for yourself!  With that said, I am missing the mountains, forests, and alpine country of Colorado more each day.  I look forward to being back in Alamosa but until then I plan on soaking up as much Utah (and 110 degree, sun filled days) as possible.

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Found these guys the other morning in the back yard when I went to grab my shoes.  Meet your future overlords:

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While on the topic of snails, here’s an strange but interesting article from National Geographic I ran into a while ago.

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Last week I took a break from Zion’s canyons and went to visit our National Park neighbor, Bryce Canyon.  It’s about 2 hours away from Zion and not a very large park…perfect for a day trip.  Bryce tends to be fairly cooler due to its higher elevation so it was also a nice escape from the heat Zion was enjoying at that time.  It was recommended to me to take the Fairy Land Loop, an 8 mile loop that dips into some very cool features of the park.  So I did just that.  This loop was amazing and had some of the coolest landscapes I’ve seen.  It truely was like stepping into another world.  Huge hoodoos were all over the place with a sort of cemented, eroded sediment that looked like blended water colors below them.  If you get a chance you should definitely check it out.  However, because the park is so small (you can see everything in one, maybe two days), make sure you have some other places to go like, oh I don’t know, Zion!  Here are a few select pictures from the trip.  As always, the rest of the pictures are available on the flickr stream and I have now made links to each set on the right pannel of this blog.

Hoodoo 5-ball:
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The view from Bryce Point (not on the Fairy Land Loop…but quite awesome)
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I also just got back from Great Basin National Park yesterday and I will have a short write up about that soon!

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Yesterday, another volunteer and I hit up some sport climbing outside of the park.  It gets really hot here in the summer so now is the time to get out there.  The climbs were short, and fun.  I found what looked like some petrified wood in the sandstone as well.  Heres a picture of said wood, and the Green Valley canyon we were in.
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The end of the spring semester came and went and now, finally, I am at Zion.  Zion National Park to be precise.  For those who may not know, I got a position as a volunteer backcountry permit ranger at said park.  The job consists of working 50% at the permits desk selling permits for people who wish to go into the backcountry and 50% patrolling trails and canyons in the park checking for permits, helping visitors along the trail, and checking up on trail conditions.  Zion is home to some great canyoneering routes and I will have to patrol those as well.  These canyons and the canyoneering are the main reason I really wanted to come to Zion this summer over other parks.  Other parks and forests I was looking at didn’t offer the same opportunity to learn new technical skills like I will be able to here.

So far we have just been doing training this week.  It started with some standard computer test stuff, then we had a day of presentations from NOAA, and other departments from the park like the wildlife division, the GIS division, etc, and then a day of some more technical rope work.  Today, however, was my first day of actual “work.” First I started at the permit desk.  People line up very early in the morning to reserve their spots on the trails and canyons so it was super busy.  Then, at around 11am, we went for a patrol on the West Rim trail which was amazing.  This was the first time I have been higher up in the main canyon so it was nice to finally have a different perspective of the park.

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I applied to a bunch of different parks and forests for a job/volunteer position last month with Zion National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park at the top of my list.  A couple of weeks ago I had a phone interview with both parks for the volunteer backcountry ranger position and then last week Zion called me and offered me the position!  I took it.  The job consists of %50 manning the backcountry office answering questions and issuing permits to visitors and the other half consists of monitoring hiking trails and canyoneering routes as well as helping with special projects and maybe a little search and rescue.  This should prove to be a pretty amazing summer.  I may end up blogging during the summer but I will find out details about that soon.

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The spring break destination decision came full circle and we ended up, thankfully, going to Utah.  The areas we were originally going to visit we covered in a lot of snow so we decided on some laid back car-camping around Moab.  A few shorter day hikes around Arches and a nice long full day hike in Canyonlands were just beautiful, providing a much needed hiking fix.  The nights were pretty cold, but the days were perfect: cool and sunny.  Here are some pictures from the trip:

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The initial plan was for a group of us to check out some canyons in the south-east region of Utah.  However, after calling the ranger station near there to find out where to get detailed topo maps of the area, I was informed that the entire area was “covered in a foot and a half of snow.”  This of course makes the access roads to the canyons unusable and one of the loops we wanted to hike required a 7 mile snowshoe hike just to get to the trailhead.  So now its back the drawing board and more than likely, somewhere south.  One thought was a part of the Coronado National Forest in south-east Arizona which buts up against the Chiricahua National Monument.  Both seem pretty cool and none of us have been to either place.  Where we go is undecided at the moment but I’m sure we will find somewhere cool to go!

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So this semester has essentially been non-stop.  There is always something to do whether I like it or not.  GIS homework seems to loom over my head all the time because just about as soon as I can get it done, it’s already next week and there’s another assignment due.  Mineralogy lab follows the same pattern.  So, I feel perpetually behind.  But despite the busy schedule, life is good.

This weekend a group of Geography majors, one rogue Geology major, and my main professor (he teaches nearly every class needed for my major) went to Logan, Utah for a regional Association of American Geographers conference.  The drive was long and relatively uneventful and the conference was short, but heavily engaging.  We competed in the geography bowl, a trivia style competition where groups from schools around the region competed fiercely, answering geography questions from across the whole spectrum of the discipline.  We came in a close last but considering we were up against folks working on their masters and PhDs, and it was the first bowl for all of us I think we did pretty darn good.  We also got to see the Mormon head quarters and temple in Salt Lake city (that place was crazy), as well as the Great Salt Lakes.  Smelled like the beach, looked like the west…awesome.

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And…..I get to go climbing this weekend!  Finally.  Amy and I are going to work on setting anchors and get some sport climbing in.  I have been deprived of the rock far too much this semester.  Time to put school on hold for a day, do some homework for the soul, and pull down on some rock.  As for now, its back to the grindstone (aka GIS homework).  Peace.

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