Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Lure of the Park Ranger


Despite the fact that I am on my fourth career right now, in my mind I've always thought that when I grow up I could make a really great National Park Service park ranger.  In my youth, I always subscribed loyally to Ranger Rick magazine.  Every month as a kid I was so excited to get my edition full of nature and animals.  I love to hike (okay, so long as Mr. We're On An Agenda and MUST COVER x number Miles today isn't being too pushy).  Mostly, though, I love the idea of the unexplored lands, particularly those out in the western U.S.


The reason I'm bringing this up now is because I'm reading a most excellent book on the subject.  Called The Last Season, by Eric Blehm, it's about a National Park Service ranger (Randy Morgenson) who was a legend in his own right.  Known for finding lost hikers in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, one day he goes missing himself.  True story.  Available on Amazon right now for the bargain price of $5.85.



I'm only about 70 pages in, but loving it.  And totally missing the explorations Paul and I used to take into the National Parks.  I'm so thankful we got the chance to do so many fun trips pre-kids.
Here's a few pics from our own trip to Sequoia:

This is from the hike up Moro rock.  A tourist attraction to be sure, but we had to do it anyhow :-)

This one is from inside the hollow of a redwood.


Tharpe's cabin, built on the edge of a hollow redwood.  Totally charming.


And we saw a bear!  Definitely a highlight of the trip.


Me, hiking under the redwoods.

Fun trip, but by far, my favorite of the National Parks we've hit so far is Zion.
I'll have to save that for another day.
For now, I will return to The Last Season.  This book is just the right mix of nature, mystery, and research information.  I have a feeling, though, that things aren't going to turn out so well for Randy :-(.

8 comments:

Lauren B said...

I read that book last summer--very good. I have another one in the same vein I can pass on (assuming I can find it). ;) Sequoia is beautiful, indeed.

varunner said...

Sure, Lauren, that'd be great! I am going to look, too, to see what else Blehm has written (if anything) because I really liked his writing style.

Sonya Heilmann said...

I think it would be so much fun being a park ranger! I'd love being a ranger out at the Grand Canyon, or Zion, or some other southwestern-type area. I guess you and I have something in common, enjoying the west.

Of course, I also love Minute Man National Park or Acadia National park.

But then again, there's something about the big square states . . .

Hayley said...

Have you been out west? Zion is probably one of the most gorgeous parks I've ever seen. Also, the Flatirons in Boulder, CO. You would love it.

Mysticiris said...

Someday very soon your kids are going to love hearing about all your hiking adventures!


p.s. thanks for the sweet comment on my blog about my Mother-in-law. I count myself blessed with two great Moms!

Shannon said...

I'm going to look that one up at the library, because I always wanted to be a ranger too. You should go to Banff national park. Maybe not Banff itself (hello, touristy) but the park is amazing.

warren said...

We've never been to the "big" parks and I have always thought we were missing something. I think the kids are getting close to an age where we can explore...Zion sounds like a good start!

Bruce Bytnar said...

It is never to late to work in our National Parks as either a seasonal park ranger or volunteer. During my time as a National Park Ranger I hired and worked with many people on their second to fourth career. You can learn more about being a park ranger in my book, "A Park Ranger's Life; Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks." You can also learn more at my blog www.aparkrangerslife.blogspot.com.