Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Week 1 = A Great Success!

Greetings from Shenandoah National Park!

This first week has been exciting and full of many new experiences. John and I started our week by meeting more people than I thought was possible all in one day and touring the headquarters area where we live.

Wednesday was our first day in the actual park. Pete Webster, our supervisor, drove us up onto Skyline Drive where we hiked our first trail (Stony Man Mountain). The views from up in the park are absolutely gorgeous! Thursday was slightly less exciting as we sat in on "Fee Training" all day but I learned a lot about suicide prevention and the plans for Shenandoah's 75th Anniversary celebration among other things. John and I demonstrated the correct way (me) and the incorrect way (John) to wear the park service uniform. Friday I had the awesome opportunity to ride along with a law enforcement ranger named Bob from the central district of the park in Big Meadows. He showed me all around the park, suggested several good trails for hiking and even let me help pull over a speeder on Skyline Drive! Saturday I was back up in Big Meadows. This time I rode with the campground supervisor (Catherine) for the park and learned all about educating the public on various issues such as proper food storage so that bears and other wildlife are discouraged from entering the camp sites.

Monday, John and I participated in animal aversement training which was led by Pete. This involved using shotguns to shoot beanbag rounds, rubber slugs, and fire crackers among other things to scare off wildlife from areas where they are not supposed to be. Finally, I topped the week off today with SAR (search and rescue) training. We learned about proper techniques for finding and rescuing hikers (injured, lost, or both) from the back country. We were taught the proper way to assemble and use a litter (the basket used for bringing the patient out to safety) and how to be safe ourselves while participating in these operations.

I am so thankful already for this opportunity that I have been given and I continue to look forward to the weeks and months ahead!

Looking forward to hearing stories from everyone else!


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