I never post here anymore but this week marks a turning point where things begin to settle down and I have some really beautiful photos to share so here I am. The last two years I've started teaching, I've been working on BTSA, working as an ASB advisor, and because of all these things I've had no time for things I love. No time outdoors on the trail. No time making crafts. No time reading. But now my job has become much easier, my credential is cleared and BTSA is over and I'm settling into life. On top of all that, I got married this past weekend and it just felt like the right time to start again. I don't know, do people even blog anymore? Is this still a thing? I guess it doesn't really matter because I write these things for me and if you happen to enjoy them that is lovely too.
This is an interview I am really excited about, a real life National Park Ranger! Ranger Kaiti May is a National Park Ranger who also runs a blog. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Today she is talking about her love of being a Park Ranger.
What is your earliest memory of National Park Rangers?
My earliest memory of a National Park Ranger is when I was 14 and my family visited Grand Canyon National Park. We went to an evening program at the campground and it was a talk on mule deer. That is when I decided I wanted to do that, I wanted to be a National Park Ranger.
What is the one thing you love the most about being a Park Ranger?I love the opportunity of helping people connect to their National Parks; our nation’s natural and cultural history. I also love being able to make families and people’s memories good ones.
What is one thing you love least about being a Park Ranger?I don’t like having to “remind” visitors of rules and regulations in the park. It can make for a bad memory for everyone.
When did you know you had fallen in love with being a Park Ranger?I fell in love with being a Park Ranger the moment I put my first uniform on at my first park; Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. I was working in the entrance stations and the campground ranger station and just fell in love with the interactions with visitors and the atmosphere with my co-workers.
What keeps you going back to being a Park Ranger?This is my life dream, to be a National Park Ranger, and I can’t think of doing anything else. Like every job it has its negatives, but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives.
What advice do you have to a novice?This is not a job where you just coax by and move up, it’s something that you have to remain passionate about. Your passion can be the outdoors, hiking, speaking with people, fishing, or more. It’s the type of job where you put in a lot of work on your off time, but hopefully you love it enough, that it doesn't feel like work. I would recommend volunteering! At any park, city, national, or state; find out what you really enjoy doing and go from there.
I did not think it would really be all that different. Snow is just weather to me because I have never spent a lot of time in it outside of when I lived in St. Louis. But seeing Icehouse Canyon in the Angeles National Forest was mind-blowing. This is a trail I've done time and time again but I never had an interest in hiking it in the snow. To me, snow is cold and mean and gray - I've always known it in an urban setting and always thought those gorgeous snow covered hill sides you see in movies and calendars were photoshopped or fake.
I was so wrong.
The photos do not and probably never will do it justice. We did two separate hikes through Icehouse in the snow and both were amazing. Gorgeous hillsides covered in blankets of powder. The first time we made it almost to Ontario Peak but without snow shoes we couldn't make it the last quarter mile to the summit. The second time we just went to Icehouse saddle and it was the perfect way to start 2015.
Oatman, AZ could just be another mining town with a gun fight on the hour every hour but it has one thing that sets it apart from all the others like it: burros. Located along old Route 66, Oatman, AZ was a gold mining town that developed almost overnight, as most mining towns in the West did. Donkeys (also called Burros) were used in mines all around, hauling water, hauling rock, hauling just about anything they could get them to haul. And when the gold rush died out the miners let the burros go free.
Luckily, the Burros not only survived being set free, they thrived. Now this long stretch of Route 66 is known as Burros Highway and you can see wild Donkeys all along the route. We spotted group after group grazing on the hillsides of this winding stretch.
The town of Oatman has done what it had to to survive: depending on the charm and appeal of the Wild West and Western Towns. They have a gun fight in the middle of the one road town a couple times a day, they have saloons with decent food, and small shops with all the Western tourist trinkets you can dream of.
But the thing that makes this town unique is the Burros; they practically run this town. As you drive in you will be stopped by burros in the center of the road. As you walk along they will come up to you and try and see if you have food in your bag. These burros are a part of the town. The particular line of burros that lives in town has become dependent on food from the town. Because of this, you can buy bags for a $1 and as soon as they see you carrying that small brown paper bag they will corner you until you feed them.
Oatman, AZ is worth the detour off highway 40. It on a gorgeous stretch of old Route 66 and while there are many other Western towns you could go explore, this one has donkeys. Lots of them. All over. Every where you look. Tons and tons of adorable Donkeys.
Been to Oatman? Share your experience in the comments.
I am excited to introduce Oshie for this weeks "what I love about..."Oshie is a hiker who is active in chats on twitter and she writes a great outdoorsy blog. Today she is here to talk all about her love of hiking.
What is your earliest memory of hiking?
Digging deep (as I have really bad memory!), I’d say I was about 3 or 4 years old, I’d even wager around 2, but that’d be too much of a shot in the dark. Memory flashes of bits and pieces of scenes exploring a cave come to mind like a broken film reel.
What is the one thing you love the most about hiking?
The simplicity. You just basically need yourself to do it and be able to enjoy it. No cars, no bikes, no skis or snowboards, just your legs.
What is one thing you love least about hiking?
Those steps/stairs on the trail! Mostly abundant in the sierras, I've noticed, but have seen them on other trails as well. The folks who made them (though I thank them profusely for their time and volunteer work) did not have short folks, like me, in mind. hahaha.
When did you know you had fallen in love with hiking?
I'd say my first hike in Yosemite, to the upper falls some-some 10 years ago, but I think Havasu Falls was what sealed the deal.
It was September of 2007 when hiking and I became officially an item, surrounded by the sweeping canyons of Arizona, with the mesmerizing sounds of the waterfall playing as our background theme song.
<insert romantic sigh here>
We finally had the right love at the right time (aaannd cue Barry Manilow song!)
That was our moment.
What keeps you going back to hiking?
The work out sans the four walls of a gym.
The valid excuse to be all dirty and grimy, and not have to shower right away. The mentality changes when I’m outside, me thinks.
What advice do you have to a novice?
2 things I use to encourage everyone, including myself still:
This one I read somewhere but can longer remember who, when and where: If you can walk, you can hike!
And something that I truly hold dear: HYOH – Hike your own hike. Do it fast, do it slow. Either way just do it and go.
Do you love hiking? Share your love of hiking in the comments.
I love working on Project Life because it is so easy to do and allows me to make scrapbooks in a way that is enjoyable and creative. The ease of organizing the scrapbooks is part of the appeal but organizing the actual supplies can become a little overwhelming as you dig deeper and deeper into Project Life. Today I am going to share some great inspiration for organizing your Project Life and scrapbooking supplies.
In the future, I want something like this Raskog cart set up that Campfire Chic created. I love that you can see all the supplies. One thing that keeps me from working every week on my scrapbook is that I don't have the supplies really visible. They are so tucked away that it makes it hard to get inspired to do the work. Something like this would really help me keep up with it every week.
I found this set up on pinterest and love how accessible every thing is! It really lets you see all the cards and supplies!
Kristin uses a fun containers to help her organize her Project Life supplies.
Right now, I use a simple set of small plastic drawers but it's not enough and it is hidden away. This system easily gets messy and that's another thing that can get in the way of inspiration. While I am not exactly ready to re-organize my supplies, I love searching pinterest for more ideas and you can find some of my inspiration on my Project Life pinterest board.
What system do you use to organize your supplies?
I love crochet, it is actually what first got me into blogging and one of my favorite bloggers who crochets is Alycia of Habitual Homebody. I am so excited to have her share her love of crochet in this weeks "What I love about..." Be sure to find out more about Alycia by checking out her blog, find her on twitter, and share patterns with her on ravelry.
What is your earliest memory of crochet?
I wish I could say I learned as a kid and have been crocheting my entire life, but the few times my Mom tried to teach me I got frustrated easily and gave up. It wasn't until just 2 years ago that I decided to really focus and teach myself with the help of YouTube video tutorials. The pause and rewind buttons were key!
What is the one thing you love the most about crochet?
There's so many things I love about crochet I can't pick just one! I love creating something out of nothing. I love the different types of yarn and all the pretty colors. I love the hunt of finding the perfect project and planning it out. I love making a handmade gift for someone. I love making specific things for my home. I love the way crochet looks. I love how crochet has been around for hundreds of years but people are still doing it and making amazingly cool and stylish things.
What is one thing you love least about crochet?
Weaving in ends is the worst! I weave in as I go by crocheting over the yarn ends, but there's still that end piece you have to weave in. I also really dislike joining granny squares. I still haven't found a method that makes joining not so tedious for me, and I've tried them all.
When did you know you had fallen in love with crochet?
Once I finally realized that I could do it! I had such a difficult time learning that at times it felt hopeless (yes, I may have even cried at one point) but I was determined and once I got the hang of it, I was so excited! I still have lots to learn, but it was that early starting point of learning how to hold the yarn, how to count stitches, how to read a pattern, how to get your tension just right that was the hardest, so when I finally figured it out I felt like I conquered it. It opened a whole new world of creativity and expression for me.
What keeps you going back to crochet?
I can't stop now, I'm having too much fun! I find crocheting to be soothing with its repetitive and familiar movements (once you get past that initial row of counting, of course). I also love having the ability to make things exactly the way I want them without having to spend a fortune on something similar from the store...like hats, blankets, bags, toys, etc.
What advice do you have for a novice?
Watch video tutorials, play with different hook brands to find one that you like, experiment with different yarn fibers, and don't be afraid to mess up. That's how you'll learn. Crochet mistakes, though a pain in the butt, are easy to fix with frogging! Most importantly, don't give up. Keep practicing!
Find out more about Alycia by click any of these links:
Do you love crochet? Share your own story in the comments!