Last updated: October 23, 2016
I met Ryan Isaac and officer Ron Sams at the Park Service office in Camp Verde. We then headed out to Tuzigoot in one of the park police vehicles. Ron and Ryan are exceptionally friendly and they answered every question I had in detail. The task was to check cameras around Tuzigoot; Ron replaced the memory cards in the cameras while Ryan put park service property stickers on the inside of each camera for inventory purposes. Getting to the first cameras required some hiking up steep slopes. I had sympathy for Ron because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and a heavy tool belt while hiking in the one-hundred-degree weather. We were on the hills across from Tuzigoot monument, and I had no idea the park boundary extended that far. Ron was able to take the memory cards from the wildlife cameras and place them in his own camera to see the pictures. There were pictures of deer, javelinas, coyotes, and even a bobcat! There is actually a spot we hiked to that a bobcat has chosen to use as its "litter box," as there is a pile of scat in one small area.
We then moved on to a different area by the marsh of Tuzigoot to check more cameras. Luckily, Fraser from the natural resource department was there to guide us to the cameras. I have no idea how they know where each camera is; the cameras are fairly hidden in various spots throughout the marsh. The cameras in the marsh yielded pictures of more deer, a dog, and skunks. There was even a close-up picture of a hummingbird staring right at the camera mid-flight! After the cameras all had new memory cards and stickers, we headed back to the office. On our way out Ron spotted a small red eared slider turtle on the road. I have no idea why the little guy was on a paved road high up on a ridge, but he seemed to be doing just fine! I had a great time with Ron and Ryan and I am very thankful to have gained so much information on park law enforcement and other aspects of the park service from them.
The rest of the day was spent working on interpretation at Montezuma Castle. I was able to gather my own supplies from the interpretation closet and work by myself, which was a great learning experience. Throughout the time I was working I could tell that I was gradually improving. After talking to so many people I was able to speak more clearly and give the story in a more precise way. The visitors today were super friendly, as expected. There were some people who came as far away as Spain to visit the monument! I put some boards out showing the trade routes throughout the Southwest, a yucca sandal, obsidian arrow points, and a plainware pot. Volunteer David Portolano was also working interpretation and it was nice to be able to talk to him during slow periods. The first monsoon rain hit towards the end of the day; the intensely dark clouds brought strong wind gusts, lightning, thunder, and eventually rain. I am very amazed at how the temperature can change so quickly during monsoon season. It was another outstanding day full of polite people, new learning experiences, and monsoon rain!