22 Aug A Grand Start
I can proudly say that I survived my first week as an Interpretive Park Ranger Intern at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. If you count surviving as the constant battle of defending your life against an onslaught of beetles, spiders, ants, and other bugs that decided that your apartment is the new hub of delicious activity/ great place to raise a family. Of course it doesn’t help that my apartment happens to be at the bottom of the canyon, 2,000 feet below the civilization. If wanting to cry out in pain with every step due to the fact my body is rebelling against me after scaling down one of the routes at Black Canyon, which consisted of repelling via a metal chain bolted into the ground and sliding on my butt most of the way, gripping the loose rocks for stability while simultaneously trying not to start a rock slide as another way of surviving….then yeah, I survived. I also owe my “survival” to the amazing staff here at Black Canyon. The interpretive staff here have been more than accommodating to me and have been an amazing source of information about this beautiful place. My first week has been a never ending adventure of what Black Canyon has to offer this world. With all the overlooks, historical references, and everything our sister park, Curecanti NRA, has to offer, this hidden gem in south western Colorado is a serious dream come true to all those who have a calling for adventure. In this blog post I wanted to give a special shout out to two of the interpretive rangers here at Black Canyon that I have gotten to share a lot of time with. The first of the two I would like to talk about is Ranger Paul B. The first two days of orientation involved Paul and I exploring Curecanti NRA and the North Rim of Black Canyon. He never failed to have a positive attitude and endless knowledge of the park and surrounding areas. Although we spent a good 8+ hours driving around together, I am incredibly grateful for his time and enthusiasm for what he does. He taught me that the Gunnison River (the river that runs through Black Canyon) used to be called the Grand River before it was renamed for U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison of the Topographic Engineers. Coincidentally, the “Grand” river connects to the Colorado River in Grand Junction which then flows through to the Grand Canyon, hence the name. He also taught me about the geologic components of the park and how Black Canyon is made up of mostly metamorphic rock that pushed up to the surface through great heat and pressure over a 2 million year time span with pegmatite embedded in its layers which gives Black Canyon the banded appearance and why it is famous for its “Painted Wall”.The second ranger I want to mention is Ranger Molly. With her undying patience and understanding, I was able to confidently make it up the Gunnison Route without giving up on myself mentally and physically. She was able to tell me a lot about the safety precautions that rangers have to take and makes sure to mention to the public in treacherous areas like the one we were in. She also told me about her research on different avian species and gave me some back ground on what it is like working for various parks in the country while also being a student at the same time which is incredibly admirable. I can’t believe how fast this week went by and I cannot get over the amount of information has been tossed at me in such a short span, but I am definitely up for the challenge! I just hope my legs figure out how to function again before they throw me out on another route…..