Monday, July 25, 2011

SNP --> Week 10

(Some of my LNT team members cleaning up after dinner)

This week has been a hot one here in Shenandoah! Even here in the mountains we have topped 100 degrees every day. Our week started out Tuesday and Wednesday with Leave No Trace training. We hiked the Rose River Trail loop 2 miles in, back country camped Tuesday night, and hiked out Wednesday morning. These two days were full of information and tips about how to have an enjoyable camping experience while literally leaving no trace of ever having been in an area. It was good to learn about how we can keep our environment unharmed and enjoy it at the same time.

Thursday I had the opportunity to work at Big Meadows campground again. I helped answer the phone, answer visitor questions and manage campsite reservations.

(Me testing the water at the treatment plant)

Friday I spent the day at Skyland's waste water treatment plant. Chuck and Tina showed me around and explained to me what they do each day. Although it did smell a lot like I had expected, the rest of my expectations were blown away. I learned about the various stages and processes that the dirty water has to go through in the plant before it can be released back into the mountain streams as clean water. Tina enjoyed showing me her "bugs" under the microscope. These are the micro-organisms that call the dirty water their home. They live off of eating the pollutants in the water and without them the plant could not function the way its supposed to. Its a dirty job but somebody has to do it and now, every time I flush the toilet, I have a different perspective on where everything goes and what happens to it.

To contrast Friday's experience I went out on Saturday with Jason who works in water systems. He makes sure that all the clean water in the park stays clean and safe for drinking. His job is huge because he is literally the only person managing all the water systems for the entire park right now! We started off in south district checking all the pumps and fire hydrants for levels of chlorine. Then we worked our way north checking various various fresh water springs along the way to make sure the levels of chemicals were correct. We finished our day by spray painting water lines so that they're easier to find.

Yesterday, on my day off, I hiked to a waterfall inside the park that doesn't have an official trail leading to it. It was one of the coolest experiences yet! I'm glad that this area has remained virtually untouched by the public because its beauty is immense. I also had the unique (accidental) experience of sliding down a 40 ft. waterfall! It was great.

This has been a good week. I'm sad that there are only a limited amount of them left!

Until next week,


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