My first summer on the west coast has been filled with adventures both professional and personal. I’ve explored Mt Hood National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge, as well as Portland, all the while really getting to know the Timberline lodge inside and out. My tours of the lodge were shaky at first, and made me quite nervous, but the more I learned and challenged myself to become a better public speaker, the easier it got. I’m pretty much an expert on all things timberline these days, and I’ve got answers for most of the questions that come my way.
When not giving tours at the lodge I’m giving hiking tips for the most part. At first I essentially just recommended the most popular trails to everyone, due to not knowing better. Now that I’ve hiked just about every trail in the area I’m able to provide personalized advice and match guests to the perfect trail to fit their needs. This is one of my favorite parts of the job. I only wish I could talk to the guests again after they’ve hiked to see how they enjoyed the trail I sent them to!
Then there’s work at the ranger station. I’ve very much enjoyed developing programs and using my mixed media background to create interpretive aids such as brochures, signage, and activity sheets for kids. These activities have involved a lot of learning! I’ve researched the history of the lodge and the Oregon trail, as well as interpretation methods/philosophies, and the local animal and plant life. I then organized this knowledge in a way that allowed me to share it with others and pass it along to the next interpretive ranger to hold this position. Developing raw facts into themes that relate to the world at large and have the power to move people has been a real joy.
I’m still not exactly sure what the future holds for me in terms of my career working for our nation's beautiful parks, but I’m sure whatever this adventure develops into will be a wild and fulfilling ride that hopefully does some good in the world and helps further conservation efforts across the nation.