Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Week 9: Interpretation

 This week, I'm shadowing Ranger Sam for an insider's view into the heart of National Parks, interpretation. Through interpretive programs, an average day out becomes a memorable journey. Interesting exhibits add a new dimension to your trip, guided tours paint a vivid picture of the past, and interactive displays bring the park's stories to life. These elements enrich a visit and create a lasting connection with the park. In short, interpretation is about more than information—engagement, education, preservation, and personal connection. Interpretation elevates the visitor experience, turning an ordinary park visit into an extraordinary journey.

Ranger Sam and Tom informed me about various techniques interp rangers deploy when presenting programs. For example, adjusting to environmental factors is critical to programs. An interp ranger that sticks to the scheduled program will not acknowledge anomalies, while an experienced interp ranger will acknowledge abnormal events and attempt to weave them into their program. Ranger Tom experienced such a dilemma during his program. He developed a new interpretive program for twelve (12) kids. The kids were split into two groups: Swedes and Dutch. Each group had to decide where to settle in the Brandywine Valley. One of the participants became disruptive because they wanted to avoid working in groups. So, Ranger Tom added a third group to appease the juvenile. Soon after, the kid became more disruptive, and Ranger Sam had to step in. But Ranger Tom handled the situation like a pro.

The next day, Ranger Tom and Lexi showed me various projects interpretation was working on and multiple spots along the trails I had yet to come across. During the tour, Lexi told me about the different volunteer organizations that work with FRST. In addition, she and Ranger Tom answered my outstanding questions at the time.

 My last day at FRST felt like the last day of a beautiful course in college. I went into HQ prepared to say my goodbyes and continue the journey. My presence at FRST was not a big deal. I was just another intern leaving, making room for the next. This day, Friday was filled with many meetings. Earlier in the day, I saw the FRST staff passing around a card and signing it. The card was for another intern, Mario, who is also leaving. The suspense of when they would give Mario the card was prevalent during the meetings. Then, Sonja and Sam escaped and came back with Pizza and cake. While everyone scattered, I was given a card. I was in absolute shock and did not know how to respond. My brain couldn't compute this action.

As I read the heartfelt scriptures, I realized the arduous journey to FRST was worth it. Thanks for having me, FRST!

Week 8: Resource Management

 The ability to figuratively wear different hats is talked about a lot. I noticed that the LE rangers at INDE did not perform duties from other divisions. I mainly saw them do Law Enforcement duties. Reciting the park's history is Interp, but that is familiarizing yourself with the environment. Anywho, the division I shadowed this week was Resource Protection. My supervisor was the Natural Resource manager, Sonja. She is a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) specialist, a compliance officer, a contract writer, a natural resource manager, and a Biologist. In a previous post, I mentioned that Alan proposed a project for Barnyard Stables. The project would need to go to Sonja because she is the NEPA specialist. She reviews the project and identifies whether or not it will harm the park's resources. 

The next day, I shadowed Sonja while she visited Spotted Lanturfly plots with Heather from US Forest Service. We did not find any Lanternflies, but there was a lot of plant life. Sonja and Heather examined the plant life and looked for invasive and native plants. From their venture, I learned Posoin Ivy is not invasive to FRST... unfortunately. Also, Sonja taught me how to spot Sasifraz by its' mitten-like leaves. 

Week 7: Facilities Management

 This week I shadowed Alan, Everette, and Toby for facilities management. My week with them was the highlight of my internship. 

For the first day, Alan (Chief of Facilities Management) wanted Everette and me to trim tree branches along the trails. Everette utilized a pole saw to cut branches. Then we threw the debris to the side to clear the trail. Sometime later, Alan met with Everette and I so we could take a break. While trimming trees, Alan discovered that an oak tree had fallen. The tree was huge! I could push it, but all I did was hurt my pride. Moving the tree requires planning, so we returned the next day to clear the path.

The next day, facilities management had a strategic internal meeting about the fallen oak tree at a Diner. In short, we spoke about the plan for removing the oak tree. Toby would operate the machine, Alan and Everette would use chainsaws, and I would be a spotter. After the meeting, we went back to the park headquarters. Before leaving HQ, Alan went over various safety procedures. He assigned me as the safety officer. He went over who to call in case of an emergency, How to provide emergency services, our coordinates, And the location of available first aid kits. We then geared up and traveled to the fallen tree. We completed the tree removal in a few hours. The heat made it feel like we were outside for days. Ultimately, Alan permitted me to pick up a log using the claw machine. I thought using the machine would be complicated, but it was not. If given more time, I could master using the machine. Once I master this, I will be one step closer to operating Mechs.

Jamil preparing to chuck a log

Later in the week, Alan wanted Toby and me to take measurements for a Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) project. After we took measurements, Alan entered the information into PEPC. PEPC facilitates transparent and informed decision-making in various projects and policy developments. An aspect of PEPC is interdisciplinary review. Someone from another discipline, such as Architecture or Resource management, will review a PEPC project for any issues a proposed project may have on the park's resources. The entire process could take a while to complete, so Alan emphasized the importance of being concise when proposing projects.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Week 6 & 7, 6/28 - 7/1, 7/2 - 7/6


Franklin Canyon

After a three day weekend, I was ready to get back out in the field. Ranger Artiga was my ride today and he took me to Franklin Canyon for the first time. It was so beautiful. It’s a bit tucked away, so not many people driving down the road will see it as they go about their day. I feel as though its seclusion adds to the serenity of the park. The trees are tall so it’s a shady area, and there’s a lake with several picnic tables around it so visitors can have a scenic lunch. Turtles and fish inhabit the lake and ducks float along the surface. Ranger Artiga and I did a foot patrol around the lake and so many ducks and turtles approached us, unfortunately, that meant that visitors were feeding them. Visitors feeding the wildlife inhibits animals from learning how to find their own food sources. When you’re on the trails there is always something to look at, Ranger Artiga said it’s a great place for a jog.


After the foot patrol Ranger Artiga and I decided to do some traffic stops at a three-way intersection with stop signs. He said that people would run the signs or do rolling stops all the time, so we parked the car along the road and waited. I wasn’t expecting much to come of this since we were in plain sight and could be seen from all directions. Lo and behold, we had to pull two people over in a very short span of time. The first person was a teenaged boy who claimed he didn’t notice the stop sign. Ranger Artiga was skeptical of his claim because he slowed down for a few seconds and then sped back up, but he gave the driver a warning and told him to enjoy his day. The second person we pulled over was a woman who also ran the stop sign. She pulled off into this dirt lot when she saw us behind her. Then she did something completely unexpected…she got out of her car! She thought we stopped her because she couldn’t park in the dirt lot. Ranger Artiga gave her commands to stay in her car and she complied by getting back in her vehicle. While he was running her license and registration, another visitor who was driving down the road stopped behind the patrol vehicle and watched for a few seconds. Ranger Artiga told the driver to move along, she asked him if she could park in the lot. Ranger Artiga replied that she can but told her to park in the main visitor lot to get her away from the scene. In the end, Ranger Artiga gave the driver a warning. 


     Instead of patrolling I went to a CPR and first aid class. Ranger Cooper asked me if she should sign me up for a certification class and I was grateful for the opportunity. I know I’ll receive more advanced training when I become a Ranger but it’s always nice to have a foundation. Aside from standard CPR, I learned how to respond to other injuries like snake bites, stroke, frostbite, spinal injuries, broken limbs, etc. I also learned how to use a CPR mask, an AED and administer an EPIpen. At the end of the course I was allowed to keep my CPR mask so I could use it in a real situation. Now, I’m CPR certified!

I was patrolling with Ranger Braten, and I got to see more areas of Circle X Ranch because that’s where Ranger Braten focuses his patrols. 

At around noon, we got a call over the radio about a woman missing in Cheeseboro, reported by her husband. Ranger Braten and I responded and met with Ranger Johnson on scene. We questioned the husband to get some more information about what happened. He told us that he and his wife went for a walk around 8 AM and she wanted to break off for a jog. She's an avid runner and has a route through Cheeseboro that she uses almost everyday. They set up a meeting spot and time, she never showed. Worried, the husband called her and got her on the phone long enough for her to tell him that she deviated from her normal running route, can’t find the trail, and doesn’t know where she is. The line then went dead, Cheeseboro has poor reception in some areas. His wife had been missing for three hours before he reported her, so when we got on scene it was a little after noon and at the hottest point of the day. We also found out the wife had no water, so she had been out there for three hours, with no water, during a heatwave. Thankfully, there was a cyclist waiting with the husband, who had found the wife and given her water. The cyclist reported that she was conscious and coherent but was too exhausted to move. He said she was about two-and-a-half miles down the trail near Sulfur Springs. He then took some water back out to her to buy us some time while we figured out how to get to her. Because of the heavy rains earlier this year, there were washouts in the fire road so the vehicles couldn’t get down to her. Ranger Braten and Ranger Johnson decide to take the E-bikes out to her and go from there, while I stayed at Morrison Ranch with the vehicles. The cyclist was able to motivate the wife to walk back, and she walked past the washouts so Ranger Braten came back to drive one of the patrol cars to her. We brought her back to the trailhead where LA County EMS was waiting for her, they cleared her and let her go home with her husband. Ranger Braten warned me that this would be the first of many search & rescues and they don’t always end as quickly as this one. 

I had never been to a gun range before so this was a brand new experience for me. I was unable to shoot anything but I still turned the day into an unforgettable learning experience. The Rangers had to take their qualifications so everyone was there. Qualifications are an examination that Rangers take twice per year to renew their qualifications to carry their firearms. On top of that, I observed how each Ranger shoots. They have different postures, stances, and forms when they shoot. For example, one Ranger leans as far forward as they can and fully extends their arms and shoulders when shooting their pistol. Another Ranger leans back and keeps their arms tucked while firing their rifle. I got to learn how to sight a rifle too. One Ranger was having problems with their sights so I observed while they and Ranger Kuja worked to readjust it. Ranger Kuja tacked a grid paper to the target and had the Ranger fire three shots. After each set of three they would examine where the bullet holes were located on the grid and adjust the sights accordingly. Sometimes it can be a lengthy process, but they got it adjusted and the Ranger passed their rifle qualifications.

A sighting grid on a target

Week 5, 6/19 - 6/24


A flower along the Modelo Trail at Cheeseboro

Today was much different because I was riding with Ranger Spraggins, who came for me at about 6:30. The day was calm for the most part. I spent most of the time trying to learn as much from Ranger Spraggins as possible, particularly about FLETC. Ranger Spraggins is going to be transferring to FLETC to become an instructor, so chances are I’ll see him when I go. I asked Ranger Spraggins what he thought made a good Ranger, and his answer was incredibly thorough. He said that every Ranger needs to be resilient because so many things can happen to you and it's important to not take things personally. He explained how important it was for a Ranger to have patience, which goes hand-in-hand with being resilient. You’ll deal with all sorts of people and all sorts of situations. The most important trait a Ranger should have is compassion, because above all things, Rangers exist to help people. They are civil servants as much as they are law enforcement officers. You need to be able to understand that sometimes the best way to do your job is maybe not writing someone a citation. For example, if your contact has their dog off a leash but is willing to cooperate when asked to restrain their dog, perhaps issuing that person a citation is overkill. Ranger Spraggins told me he was grateful that police officers have discretion because it gives him the ability to do what he believes is the right thing in every situation. 

Wednesday, Thursday and today I was back with Ranger Cooper. We were fortunate enough to have a calm week. After stopping at Zuma Canyon for a few minutes Ranger Cooper decided to show me Arroyo Sequit, a park unit that was burned in the Woolsey fire and hasn’t been reopened. It’s a secluded and small area. The brush was very overgrown and the trail was almost invisible. Ranger Cooper told me that there once was a housing unit there until burned, eventually it was revamped into an RV pad. 

Ranger Johnson agreed to take me out for a half day. Ranger Johnson is not only a law enforcement Ranger, he’s the coordinator for the horses. SAMO has three horses; Gunner, Cache, and Blue. They are former police horses but Gunner and Cache are too old and Blue is too young. SAMO has a network of volunteers that care for the horses and Ranger Johnson oversees everything. 

We started our day at Rancho Sierra Vista because Ranger Johnson wanted to check on the horses before patrol. While we were exiting the parking lot, I spotted a car with expired registration stickers from 2020. I pointed it out to Ranger Johnson and he went to investigate. The woman who owned the car was standing nearby, so he went to ask her about her tags. The woman told him that her tags were completely up to date and showed him the license plate on the front of her car where she placed them. She didn’t know that the registration tags were supposed to be on only the rear license plate. Ranger Johnson advised that she swap her license plates to avoid getting fined. 

A view of the Palo Comado Canyons

Ranger Johnson took me somewhere I had never been before, the Palo Comado Canyons, they are attached to Cheeseboro. We went to check out the fire road at the Doubletree access trail but we couldn’t get very far because there was this massive gulley in the road. Ranger Johnson didn’t trust that we could get the patrol car across safely so he reversed back out the way we came in. We drove down Chesebro Road, which has a gated entrance restricted to the public, and we entered Palo Comado that way. We drove part way down the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail until it intersected with another trail. We decided to do a brief foot patrol on the Modelo Trail to inspect it. It was my first foot patrol so I was excited. Ranger Johnson and I noted that the trail was very overgrown and it was hard to see the trail at times. Ranger Johnson said he would report this to the roads & trails team so they could find time to work on it.

A view of the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail

Week 4, 6/12/23 to 6/15/23


Mountains of Zuma canyon from the trail

 I think this is the week where I stepped out of my comfort the most. Facilities week. I’ve never done manual labor jobs like landscaping and renovation work so it was definitely an abnormal experience for me. Monday and Tuesday I worked with the roads and trails team, Thursday I was with buildings and utilities. I had a separate adventure on Wednesday, which I’ll get to later.

The roads & trails team likes to start bright and early, so I arrived at the maintenance office at 6:30 AM. Tara Hallman, the crew lead, was there to greet me. She took me a little further up the hill to the toolshed and showed me where they stored the equipment we would need for the day. Tara walked me over to this massive storage container and handed me a weed wacker; I’ve never used one before so I was taken aback a bit. I had to wear a harness that hooked onto the wacker because I wasn’t used to its weight. With the weed wackers gassed up, we headed out to Zuma Canyon where we spent the whole day. In the parking lot I got introduced to the other team members I’d be working with. There was Rhyse, the assistant crew leader, Nick, Devan and Ben. We did some group stretching before heading out to do some weed wacking. Tara, Nick, Devan and Ben hiked about a mile down the trail to finish where they left off their last shift, while Rhyse and I stayed at the trailhead to work on the entrance to the trail. We were using the weed wackers to mow down the overgrown brush and widen the trail so that the visitors can have easier access to them.

Once we were done, Rhyse and I hiked out to meet the others. Tara showed me how the trails crew claims a section of the trail to work on. You drop your weed wacker next to another crew member’s pack, then you walk about ten or twenty feet and drop your own pack. The other crew member’s pack represents your starting point, your own pack marks your ending point as well as the starting point for another crew member. We got so much done that we actually finished the trail a little early. We hiked back to the trucks, cleaned the weed wackers and took our final break for the day at Solstice Canyon. 

The Roads & Trails crew takes a break by the creek.


A view of Rancho Sierra Vista from the trail

I was still with the Trails team today. We did our usual routine of gassing up the weed whips (even though we didn’t use them), loading the mowers onto the trucks and group stretching. Today we tackled Rancho Sierra Vista and Satwiwa. The trails needed mowing, so we split up into two teams. Tara, Ben and Devan took one side of the Satwiwa Loop trail while Rhyse, Nick, Jenna and myself did the other side of the loop and the Old Cabin trail. One person would steer the mower and the others would use these long, flat tools with prongs to push bush into the path of the mower and clear big rocks from its path. On my team, Nick steered the mower the whole day, so the rest of us got busy with clearing rocks. After lunch my team returned to where we dropped our equipment and started on the Old Cabin Trail, where we worked for the rest of the day. 

R&T crew member Nick mows brush at Rancho Sierra Vista

Wednesday was a big change from how the rest of week had one. I was back with the LE Rangers to participate in a use of force refresher. VRP didn't start as early as today, so I reported to the community room next to headquarters at 8 AM. All of the LE Rangers were in attendance, except for Ranger Braten but he would be joining us later. We had two special guests: a Fish & Wildlife Officer and Conner, who works at the stables at Rancho Sierra Vista. Ranger Cooper and Ranger Johnson were the instructors for this training. 

We got started as soon as Ranger Cooper performed a safety check on everyone. We began with a discussion about the legal standards of using force as well as the strained relationship between police and the general public due to excessive force. Ranger Johnson reminded us that we must react to the threat of violence and always be one step above the level of aggression we are facing. Ranger Cooper also discussed the Graham vs. Connor case that set the use of force standards for law enforcement today. The Graham factors are a list of justifications that law enforcement officers use to assess if using force is reasonable. It’s been condensed into an acronym called SIRF, which stands for seriousness of the crime, immediacy of the threat, resisting arrest, and fleeing the scene. 

Once group discussion was over we got into some roleplaying drills. For the first part of the drills I watched just so I could get a sense of what would be expected. These scenarios were fully scripted so we could train our subconscious to build mental files so we can respond appropriately in a real situation. The scenarios were between an officer and a suspect. Half the Rangers played as officers, the other half as suspects. The scenarios we went through involved using deadly force, intermediate weapons and arresting your suspect. Then it was my turn to be an officer, and Ranger Spraggins was my suspect. I’ll admit I was a little awkward in the first couple scenarios, but I slowly got used to it. I remember having trouble drawing the red gun from my holster, Ranger Spraggins kept having me practice and it slowly got easier, but it wasn’t as fluid as the other Rangers. 

After lunch we went to the stables at Rancho Sierra Vista to do some unscripted scenarios. The Rangers ran a few scenarios about approaching a vehicle and some of the more strategic ways to do so. Then we used Connor to be our suspect in two unscripted scenarios. The first scenario I was the cover officer for Ranger Preece, meaning he led the contact while I recorded information and kept in communication with dispatch. Ranger Preece made it a bit easier on me since this was my first scenario and did most of the talking, even though in real life the contact officer is always subject to change. I did my second scenario with Ranger Braten, who was my cover officer. I have to say, I was really nervous and terrified I would mess up. Ranger Cooper assured me that I would do well and if I was going to mess up, this was the place to do so since this was a sterile environment and I could learn from my mistakes. When the scenario began, I initially called out to the suspect to get his attention, but I wasn’t sure how to react when I noticed he was holding a knife. Thankfully, Ranger Braten noticed my hesitation and took over. We drew our red guns and “shot” the suspect when he started coming towards us. Ranger Cooper told me that I did very well and reacted appropriately, the only thing I forgot to do was to announce police presence. Overall, I performed very well in my first scenario. I surprised myself because I didn’t think I would do as good as I ended up doing.

To finish out my facilities week I was with Buildings & Utilities. I arrived at 6 AM and was greeted by Derek, the supervisor. He introduced me to Pete and Tim, who I’d be with today. First, Pete took me to Peter Strauss Ranch to empty trash cans. While we were there, Pete showed me a homeless man who was camping out behind the public restrooms, he was laying in a sleeping bag and writing in a journal. Because camping is forbidden in the park, I had to call it in. It was my first time using the radio for such purposes, so I was nervous and had to rehearse what I would say in my head a few times. I made the call and gave a brief description of the man for dispatch to use. There were no law enforcement Rangers on at the time so dispatch held onto the description for when someone came in service. Pete and I went back to Diamond X in the meantime. At 7 AM, Ranger Cooper called in service and responded to my call. She later told me that the man did not want to speak with her and left Peter Strauss Ranch.

Pete, Tim and I ventured out to Circle X Ranch to work on park housing. The housing we worked on was the neighboring unit to the one Ranger Braten lives in; it needed to be renovated for its next resident. The dry walls had been put up, they just needed to be sanded and mudded. Pete and Tim were lining the corners and the doorways with metal strips, I did some sanding but I became addicted to mudding. The mud needs to be smooth, even and thin. I found great joy in smoothing out the mud, I compared it to frosting a stale cake. Pete and Tim thought I did very well with the mudding and that it was perfect. I mudded every corner and doorway, it took me a long time, but quality was key.

Week 3, 6/5/23 - 6/9/23


A view from the Zuma Ridge Trail

This week was all about the bread and butter of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area: the Admin division. This week I split my time between Admin and Special Park Uses (SPU). I would spend two hours out of the day with Admin and the rest of my day would be spent with SPU. 

I began my admin time by shadowing Kate. She does a large portion of the budgeting for SAMO. One of her main responsibilities is credit card reallocations, when a SAMO card holder makes a purchase, she has to validate the transaction and check to make sure the budget money is being used appropriately. Kate is also qualified to verify travel authorizations and vouchers. When someone needs to travel for work-related purposes, they fill out all the information about their travel needs on this platform called Concur. Kate’s job here is to make sure the paperwork is correct and then verify that the travel plans are reasonable. 

For my first day with SPU I spent time with Ranger Cruz. She gave me a general overview of SPU and then led me into her office where she gave me a more thorough explanation. SPU’s main responsibility is permit use. They approve and deny permit requests, schedule events at the park, and communicate with the permit holders. Ranger Cruz taught me about the different types of permits that can be granted. For example, Special Use Permits are one of the most common permits SPU issues out. A Special Use Permit is for events like weddings, parties and other large gatherings where the attendance is expected to be over 25 people. This type of permit is mainly based on the size of an event but there are exceptions to that.  A Special Use Permit is required no matter the size of an event if catering or extra equipment is needed. Getting a proper permit from SPU is very important because it protects the park from event holders accidentally damaging resources and it allows park staff to better accommodate the event by protecting the people attending from any disturbances the general public may cause from not knowing about the event. 

For my Admin duties I was with Lei, who mainly handles payroll and a laundry list of other things. Her and Kate’s jobs have a lot of intersectionality. Kate does credit card reallocations for SAMO cardholders, whereas Lei gets to determine who is a cardholder and is in charge of filing all the bank statements from those purchases. Lei also monitors the timekeeping platform to make sure everyone’s hours are in order, she also organizes time off for staff. 

While I was with SPU today, Ranger Cruz, Ranger Sanchez and I went out onto the Zuma Canyon Trail to inspect it for the big SAMO 100 foot race this Saturday. We spent a few hours mapping out areas where the trails crew would need to do work in order to make it suitable for the runners. We drove about eight miles through the trail and decided to call it a day.


Today, I experienced my first company lunch. SPU didn’t have much going on for me to help them with, so I spent the day with Admin, namely Lei, Kate, Nicole and Jovanna. First, we went to this little out-of-sight deli counter where I ordered the best BLT I’ve ever had in my life. Once we got our orders we drove out to Paramount Ranch to have the meeting. Ranger Cooper even popped in for a few minutes. This meeting was mostly for the Admin staff to check-in with each other and see where they can provide help. 

When the meeting ended I met with Generalist Ranger Low, who took me out post signs at Peter Strauss Ranch and Rocky Oaks. The signs were meant to entice visitors to donate to SAMOFund, which is a philanthropic organization that helps fund the park. Visitors can scan a QR code on the sign and donate electronically. Planting the sign posts was a bit of a workout, you have to take this metal vase-shaped device and slam it into the top part of the post to drive it into the ground.

driving the sign post into the ground at Peter Strauss Ranch
(Photo courtesy of Ranger Low)
Making sure the sign is properly attached to the post

(Photo courtesy of Ranger Low)

For my Admin duties today I was with Nicole who is the budget manager for the Fire division. She handles most of the accounting and budget distribution. Like Kate, she does credit card reallocations for the fire division. Nicole showed me how she can access the financial records and see how funding has been distributed. 

Today, I was with Jovanna from Admin, Jovanna has so many responsibilities I can barely remember them all. For one thing, she is responsible for the fleet of vehicles at SAMO. Her job is to make sure every vehicle is appropriately maintained, and files all the necessary paperwork when there is any sort of damage to a vehicle. Another responsibility she has is managing government property, physical property, so things like computers and tools. She oversees the processes of acquiring and disposing of property, and the transfer of property between employees. Jovanna is also in charge of park housing, both dorm and bid. She puts out the housing schedule for the dorms and decides where every resident goes. Her housing responsibilities include the maintenance of the houses and dorms; repairs, general upkeep and cleaning. 

After I was finished with Jovanna, I reported to the Encinal Canyon Trailhead where I would be stationed for the rest of my shift. Today was the SAMO 100, a 100 mile and 100 kilometer race through the whole park. There were multiple checkpoints set up at various trailheads for the runners to take a break, get something to eat, and meet with family and friends that came to support them. My job at the Encinal Canyon checkpoint was to act as security. I directed parking since there were so many people hanging around in the parking lot, and I wanted to eliminate the possibility of an accident. When I wasn’t doing that, I was cheering on the runners and making sure that nobody was doing anything weird. Thankfully, nothing crazy happened to me on my first solo detail, the real action was at the Bonsall checkpoint. There was a homeless man harassing the runners and overall causing a public disturbance. Every LE Ranger on duty responded to him since would not calm down. Eventually, the man rode away on his bicycle.

Checking the radio for information at the Encinal Canyon checkpoint during the SAMO 100
(Photo courtesy of Ranger Low)