I have been an avid outdoorsman my entire life. Hiking and exploring the bountiful forests of Washington State has been a favorite summer pastime for me, but it was never something that I thought I’d actually be paid to do. My AmeriCorps internship with the Entiat Ranger District has allowed me to do just that.
My duties in this position are primarily to patrol trails and perform trail maintenance. These responsibilities have pushed me into deep wilderness areas that I’m not quite sure I would have known about beforehand. One such excursion was to the Enchantments area, just outside of Leavenworth. Here we shadowed the local rangers in their responsibilities, which were primarily to check toilets and overnight permits. I chose this experience to include in my field note because of how dramatic the area is. The abundance of alpine lakes and goats, the steep rigidity of the landscape, and the wide biodiversity make this area extremely unique and made for a definite highlight of my summer.
I encourage anyone with an inkling to do this kind of work to pursue it. The rigors of living in the wilderness make it strenuous, both mentally and physically for the ranger. It is not always a fun experience, and can actually be quite miserable at times. When done in short periods, such as this six-month internship through the Mt. Adams Institute, I believe that these struggles can be very influential for a person, helping to build mental toughness, and a strong character and help form a great perspective on the comforts of our modern world.
I am thankful for this experience. I know that I will cherish the memories and personal development garnered throughout my time in this internship.