Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Opportunities Are Endless

It's time to catch up again! After the Presidential visit I went right into bike patrol training with many of the Valley Rangers and a few Paramedics from the Yosemite Medical Clinic.  Three days of cone courses, road riding, mountain biking, and me making a fool of myself.  The cone courses were definitely the most challenging for me; attempting to serpentine at low speeds is not my forte.  Although by day three I could do the whole thing much more proficiently than some of the mountain biking obstacles we encountered.  On the last day the Rangers split off and did visitor contacts, as well as traffic stops.  I shadowed Rangers Phillipson and Wentz, and not long after the first few contacts they were making an arrest.  It was interesting to see an arrest from a bike patrol prospective, not just a vehicle contact.

I had an EMS refresher later in the week, which updates employees who are going to be practicing and skills on the parks protocols.  This refresher allows you to apply to get your white card and practice in the park if you are an employee who is not required to have an EMS background.

The cables leading up Half Dome

View of the Valley from Half Dome

Sunday morning I met up with Ranger Loyd to do an overnight patrol at Little Yosemite Valley (LYV).  We hiked up the John Muir Trail (JMT) and made it to LYV mid-afternoon.  We wondered around the camp and over to the Merced River, getting to know the area a little since neither of us had been up there before.  Our plan was to hike up to Half dome early the next morning and do permit checks, but a medical call came in for Sub Dome.  It gave us a nice preview of what we had in store for us the next morning.  We made it to the junction, less than half way up the trail to Half Dome, before Yosemite's helicopter, 551 arrived.  We left around 0600 Monday to complete our patrol, taking turns hiking up the cables on Half Dome and doing permit checks at Sub Dome.  I'm glad I can check that off my bucket list.

Wednesday was a surprise day for me.  I got to watch Yosemite's SRT terrorism training at Hetch Hetchy.  I was fortunate enough to watch the whole training from the first briefing, though the entire scenario in role, and the debriefing at the end.  The O'shaughnessy Dam in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir provides water for all of San Francisco, as well as hydroelectric power.  The Tuolumne River flows into Hetch Hetchy, and was designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1984, making the water supply for San Francisco exceptionally clean and clear.  The dam is critical infrastructure for the city of San Francisco, bringing in inordinate amounts of funding to protect it.

Hetch Hetchy 
Thursday and Friday I spent a large portion of the afternoon working on IMARS reports.  YOSE has a desk office staffed with volunteers, typically retired LE, who fill out a majority of the IMARS reports for the park.  It was beneficial to me to work on reports from all over the park, on a variety of contacts.  I also got the third party perspective of why it is so important to be extremely detailed in your reports and get as much information as you can, especially when your handing them off to someone else to finish.  Friday night I finished the evening off with a ride a long from one of the Valley Rangers.  Surprisingly the Valley was pretty quiet for the beginning of the holiday weekend.  There was a call for a motor vehicle accident early in the shift, allowing me to ride in one of the Valley fire engines (until we were cancled), which was exciting.

This summer is flying by and I cannot thank everyone here for all the opportunities they have provided me thus far, and for how helpful they have all been to me.  Let's see what the next half has in store!