06 Jul Overcoming Challenges, Adversity and a Mountain
Hello everyone! I apologize for the large span of time between this post and the previous blog. Things have been busy over here!
Over the several weeks that I have been here so far, I have been working out in the field on a near daily basis, working with Wilderness and help other people in the Resource management department here. Most of my days involve me going to the park and hike, regardless if it is up a hill or by a mountain. Now for someone who has been used having relatively flat lands for hiking, this is a challenging but rewarding experience so far. It is not easy hiking up with the elevation changing and your legs yelling at you for putting too much stress. But with every step, I find myself indulging with the beautiful views of this park. Thankfully, my body has been adjusting to these changes and with each trail I hike, the labor becomes less and less painful.
What is great about this park so far have been the accessibility of these trails running throughout the entire park. Since the park is smaller, it means that you can reach from one side of the park to another roundtrip in about a day. This allows a lot of the visitors to use the trails to go through the park and potentially find good areas to camp in the Wilderness of the park. While that is something that is normal in most National Parks, this is important for Lassen. Outside of the highway that runs through the park, the trails are the main way to travel and see all the places Lassen has to offer. And since it is protected Wilderness, it’s important to know what trails have been used the most due to the potential degradation of the wilderness..
This leads to my internship focus, what i am working on and what I have been doing these past few weeks. The thing that my supervisor and I have been working on, so far, is to protect solitude in wilderness. Solitude is one of the main characteristics of Wilderness, as people can leave civilization and go into a wilderness area and be by themselves and with nature. This is important to protect because solitude can be easily degraded if there are many people using the trails or are leaving trash/waste behind. This seems a very difficult task, as you need to balance the interests of the visitors and the wilderness. However, after few weeks in surveying and helping my supervisor, I have learned that balance is important, and this difficulty can be overcome through study and understanding what the public is doing in the park.
Currently, I’ve been doing several projects that observes solitude in the wilderness of the park. One of them is condensing wilderness permits (a permit you need if you want to camp overnight at the park) into a single database to look at what places have been visited the most and have been used for camping. Another one, the biggest one i’m focusing, is to go through the park and collect information on what areas have been the most used for campsites. These projects aren’t easy. But with help from the Resource department and with my supervisor, it’s become more fun and easier to do. My work day has now become to check my email early in the morning at the office, drive out to the park and hike, eat lunch in the middle of the wilderness and hike more before coming back to the office to clock out. While the hikes might be long and the weather can be hot and muggy, I still am motivated to do my tasks and also enjoy the park and the beautiful views that I get to see everyday.