Sunday, May 24, 2015

New season, new ranger district

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm very excited about the 2016 season! I landed a spot in my first choice district which I picked for it's alpine mountain scenery, it's opportunities to learn new things/get new certifications and it's proximity to Al's district (now we are only 4 hours apart! Last year I had a very unusual schedule for a Wilderness Ranger and so I went 5 months without seeing was worth it because I love the job but it wasn't easy!) In addition to my regular ranger patrols I'll be helping out the trail crew, moving up a level in my crosscut saw certification, getting certified in chainsaw use (as I'll also sometimes be helping the trail crew out on non-Wilderness trails), getting my "Forest Protection Officer" training (ability to write people tickets), get my "Red Card" (so I can help fight wildland fires), I will probably also get to staff the fire lookout on our district (!!!!) when lightning is forecasted and may even get to learn how to ride a dirt bike and shadow the OHV/motorized trails rangers. I'm going to get to do a lot this summer and I'm so excited to learn new things and see new mountains and Wilderness!

I've only been here one week but I already went to a crosscut saw training/certification where I got to meet a bunch of other Wilderness/trails folk from around the forest. I love going to things like that. It's great to be around other people who are passionate about Wilderness and trails... it's like finding long lost family.

On Thursday I went out with our noxious weed guy and look for and document invasive plants. We hiked along the Pacific Crest Trail and then cut over traveling cross-country to an old logging road. On forest lands noxious weeds are most liable to spread on those roads as opposed to trails because of all the vehicles that can carry dirt and seeds. It was nice to get out on the trail and learn some new plants.
Joe our ranger district's noxious weed guy references his weed guide on the trail

Orange hawkweed...we spent the day looking for and documenting these invasive plants

 Headed east from Snoqualmie Pass

We traveled off-trail to get from the PCT to the old logging road. It put us in this old clear-cut, you can tell where the clear-cut was made in this photo because of the shift in height of the trees.

It's going to be a great year. Everyone in my district seems happy and supportive of each other and the trails folk I'll be working around all seem very cool and fun.