A painting of a trail going down canyon through colorful cliff layers.


Behind the Scenery

Hidden forces shape our ideas, beliefs, and experiences of Grand Canyon. Join us, as we uncover the stories between the canyon’s colorful walls. Probe the depths, and add your voice for what happens next at Grand Canyon!


Interview with Mae Franklin, Diné member of the the Grand Canyon Inter-Tribal Working Group


Jesse: Let's just start by introducing ourselves.

Kelli: Sure like do you want me to introduce myself as like you know park Ranger or do you like introduce myself like how I usually do it?

Jesse: What feels right to you?

Kelli: Saying, well, how we introduce ourselves is usually by our clans. It is just a proper way of saying who we are. Not just to like people who are non-native, but also to our ancestors because they hear us introducing ourselves in our language and they know where we are.

Yá’át’ééh shí éí Kelli Jones yinishyé, Ta’neeszahnii nishłí Kinyaa’áanii bashishchiin Tábąąha’ dashicheii dibe’ lizhni dashinalí. Tse’dezhaa ei shi’ nasha ak’woodí Dine’e asdzaa nishlí So I introduced myself and my four clans from my maternal and paternal side of my mom and dad. That's how I introduce myself as a Diné woman, a Navajo woman. So, what I do here at Grand Canyon National Park is I work in the Interpretation Division.

Jesse: And where do you work?

Kelli: Um, I work at Desert View.

Jesse: And my name is Jesse and I’m a park ranger on the North Rim.

Kelli: Because I guess a basic question I get from the visitors is “where are the indigenous people? How come they're not working here?” My whole thought was like we do work here and we work in all different divisions. We take care of the Canyon from the river all the way to the rim on the south and north side of the Canyon. I really wanted to elevate the indigenous voices here at the canyon.

Jesse: And so in addition to other projects, we’ve started the First Voices podcast series so that listeners can hear directly from people whose connections to Grand Canyon stretch back to time immemorial. In this episode of the First Voices series, we’ll hear from Mae Franklin. Mae has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Cameron Chapter of the Navajo Nation, she works with the Grand Canyon Inter-Tribal Working Group, and she works on issues like food sovereignty and cultural preservation in her community.

Mae: Mable Franklin yinishyé Hashk’ąąn Hadzhohí Kiinyaa’áanii bashishchiin Tsé Deeshgizhnii dashicheii Lók’aa’ Dine’é dashinalí aa dóó na’nihah asdzaa dei ei’ya a’íís nasha. To’ni’łiní nani’jí ei’ji shíghan a’kwoo ak’ei dóó ni’tee aa dóó Dine’e nishlí ahe’hee kwee’eé da’eí na iigí.

My name is Mae Franklin. I am from Cameron. I shared my clans with those that are Navajo and want to know their connections to me. I am grateful for just opportunity I have to live in a very unique, awesome place. The Little Colorado River is just in my backyard, so I pay attention to migrations that happen along the river. This is the corridor the birds use to fly back and forth. It’s pretty loud in the spring when they're back, and then it quiets down the rest of the summer and winter is really quiet.

Kelli: Wow she's just an amazing person to talk to. Mae Franklin, she's a local within this area, and she's from Cameron, and she's really trying to preserve a lot of resiliency through languages, stories, and history of the Canyon. I think that just makes me understand, you know, if she's doing that, I want to continue doing that as well. I look up to her as like a role model in that way.

Jesse: We wondered what Mae remember from her first time in Grand Canyon.

Mae: You know, the earliest memory of being up in the higher area, sort of where the trees the juniper trees are, I mean I was small, and I remember those trees were like way tall. And so, a forest was sort of a scary place for me. So yeah, at that time I didn't know where I was as far as like, park and things like that. But I do remember taking a ride out to Grand Canyon, the visitation area, as a student. We went out there on a bus from Tuba City public school. All I remember and I remember feeling the same thing was just an awe, and like I hailed, you know, just stopping and seeing the view. It was the same thing I did when I saw the ocean, you know. It was just amazing - the span of landscape before me when I went to Grand Canyon as a little student. It demands to be looked at. When you walk away you've experienced something. You know that you have experienced something and that you're not the same person that you were when you got there, so you walk away different, feeling different. Some people, you know, if they sit there for a while and contemplate, they probably unload a lot of things, you know. When I was brought up my father used to do offerings and I remember going off on the side while he did his offering along the river. Those kinds of things just sort of have created like this spiritual connection. And the same thing happens when I go down the river with the tribes and they sing the songs and they offer the prayers and it's a just a continuation of what I was raised with. When that happens there's a lot of respect and reverence for what's there.

Jesse: Mae also speaks a lot about home and the things that connect her to it.

Mae: We still heat our home with the stove and so I go out there on an annual basis. We go through the park and now I have like these boundaries in mind, you know, we go through the park and thank goodness we don't have to pay for a fee. I just feel like it makes it so that it's one continuous thing. You get into the Forest Service to pick up your firewood or sometimes when Grand Canyon makes firewood available. Pinyon picking, too. You know, those are resources that we use on an annual basis, and as far as pinyons it's like we never we have it available. Those connect me and it’s all part of the home experience at that I've always known and I've heard stories of.

Jesse: Mae also expressed a sense of loss of connection to home at the creation of Grand Canyon National Park.

Kelli: This is home and we should always call it home, and I understand the feeling of a sense of loss, you know, and a sense of self loss in traditional knowledge and traditional ways.

Mae: When the fence went up, obviously, there are people that were forced out of the park. And then the same thing happened for the vendors when they went in to sell their wares. They were escorted out by law enforcement. And those are some things that my community has not forgotten. It's still somewhat fresh.

Jesse: Another barrier Mae mentions is the barrier to employment. Mae: The gates haven't opened up to employment, still. We have this whole barrier of having to compete for these positions and here it’s in our own backyard. There's a sort of a certain number that they're willing to bring on and those are filled and so therefore you even though you compete you're probably not going to get those positions. And so, that was, I guess, one of the drawbacks. Anyway, I hope that being that the Superintendent is a lawyer that, you know, he's willing to be open to maybe taking a look at that some of those employment laws, or whatever they're called, that are barriers.

Jesse: Mae has invested a ton of time working to remove these kinds of barriers through her work for the Inter-Tribal Working Group and also other avenues, as well.

Kelli: She's part of this huge change that's going to happen here at Grand Canyon, and she's been really strong in this working group for several years.

Jesse: Yeah, she's seen some positive change through the years. Mae: And I've grown to understand, sort of, the employees - their passion, their desire to make the wrong things that happened to make them right. And one of the other things that happened was when Grand Canyon renovated the homes over at Supai Camp. I just thought that was a really, really profound effort on the part of the park to do that and to address those needs. And then, just taking some of the trips down the river and just the interactions that you see with park employees and the tribes. I felt like there was some genuine effort to really understand and connect and as they were being told the various stories. It's not like they just blew it off, they were actually engaged and so I thought that was, to me, a real good thing to go forward with. It gave me a lot of confidence about the actual desire to mend things with the tribes.

Kelli: Her saying that really gives a sense of hope that she does believe in Park Service here at Grand Canyon. To know that we are moving forward and she's really wanting to be part of this and I know that she's really hoping it is moving towards that way you know to a better future for Grand Canyon National Park.

Jesse: Yeah, she has hope but also recognizes there's still a ton of work to be done.

Mae: I guess I just, I'm very much wanting to restore things that have been made void. Maybe people now, even though the young people they don't know what we've lost, some of us still do. I hope we can come forward and make known some of these things that are that are missing, that we can we have an opportunity to put back in place so that we have as much of what we enjoyed in the past, like the trails. I hope that the tribes have enough information to share. I mean, I go down the Canyon and there are new English names coming up with sites. Which, you know, I think those things evolve but there is also the tribal names that the tribes can, you know, share with their youth so that those stay in their memory. And if they go there, you know, all the more. But those kind of things I guess I really would like to see to the tribes, but they have to have access. Right now I want to see folks down along the river telling their stories. There's Navajo stories of crossing the river and just the connected stories there. I think people have just sort of stopped telling those stories, or maybe it a lot of them have gone with the elders that knew the land so well, and because of the English and the kids going off the reservation that some of those things didn't transfer.

Kelli: She lives really close to a place that has really high volume of tourist attraction, and not being allowed for a lot of reasons to be even traveling this way for doing traditional things like she does, or just even walking through. But I think that what she said is just like it's just not here at Grand Canyon, it's pretty much everywhere. It’s not just us Diné people dealing with it, but all the tribes.

Jesse: Yeah, and Mae's really fighting for rights for all associated tribes. Let's give her the last word.

Mae: Our Inter-Tribal group that keeps meeting we want to move toward being home. We want to feel those connections without any kind of barriers. We want our children to come to know the park and be involved. To not be invited, but to say this is what we want, this is how we want our voices to be heard.

Jesse: The Behind the Scenery podcast is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park. A huge thanks to Mae Franklin for sharing her stories and perspectives.

We gratefully acknowledge the native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant native communities who make their home here today.

Mae Franklin has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Cameron Chapter of the Navajo Nation, the Grand Canyon Inter-Tribal Working Group, and she works on issues like food sovereignty and cultural preservation in her community. Learn more about Mae and her connection to the Grand Canyon in this episode of Behind the Scenery.

Cruzando el Cañón


Cruzando el Cañón – Español

NARRADOR: Hola, me llamo Carmen. Soy segunda generación latina, y trabajo en el parque nacional del Gran Cañón del Colorado en Arizona. Recién caminé de un borde del cañón al otro, y esta es mi historia.

"Sácame una foto, Kate: necesito ser una turista".

La guardaparque Kate y yo estábamos en la cima del “South Kaibab Trailhead”, uno de los dos senderos que descienden desde el borde sur del Parque Nacional del Gran Cañón hacia las profundidades del cañón. Estaba a punto de comenzar mi primer esfuerzo por cruzar el cañón, desde el borde sur hasta el borde norte, una distancia de treinta y cuatro kilómetros, en tres días. Era el atardecer, pero el sol todavía estaba caliente. Hice una lista mental: ¿tengo todo mi equipo? Bastones de trekking, comida deshidratada, agua en abundancia, una rodillera, una camiseta para el sol, un sombrero e incluso una sombrilla. Sólo quedaba una cosa por hacer antes de descender: un buen remojón. Admito que estaba un poco escéptica mientras me contorsionaba bajo los grifos de agua, mojando cada centímetro de mi ropa. Pero la diferencia fue inmediata: ¡Sentí frío!

Acomodé mi mochila de 11 kilos en los hombros y empezamos a descender por el sinuoso sendero hacia el cañón. Mis bastones de trekking levantaban pequeñas nubes de polvo. El ala ancha de mi sombrero se me metió en los ojos. Mis dos litros de agua chapoteaban a cada lado de mi mochila. Sonreí: estaba de nuevo en el camino.

No pude evitar pensar en mi último viaje con mochila, más de un año antes, en marzo del 2020. Había planeado recorrer el “Appalachian Trail” desde mi estado natal, Georgia, hasta el estado de Maine, más de tres mil quinientos kilómetros. En realidad, sólo recorrí sesenta y cuatro kilómetros antes de que todo paró por COVID. Llovió los cinco días que estuve en el sendero, y mi rodilla sufrió la mayor parte de ese tiempo. También fueron los cinco días más felices de mi vida. La niebla que se enroscaba entre los árboles parecía un paisaje de cuento de hadas. Sentía que me fortalecía físicamente, y por fin dejó de dolerme la rodilla. Conocí a personas increíbles y vi paisajes hermosos. Lo único que tenía que planificar cada día era la distancia que debía recorrer, qué comer y dónde poner la carpa.

Agarré los bastones de trekking con más fuerza y me quedé mirando las coloridas rocas del cañón, mi visión superpuesta con el “Appalachian Trail” de Georgia. Había investigado mochilas, ropa, comida deshidratada. Me había entrenado físicamente. Me había preparado mentalmente. Había comprado 11 kilos de frijoles negros deshidratados. Pero no estaba preparada por abandonar el sendero. La caminata por el “Appalachian Trail” era mi sueño de 10 años. La decisión de abandonar el camino fue muy difícil, aun cuando sentí que era lo correcto. Pero eso no evitó que me doliera: una aventura que quedaba inconclusa.

Hoy era la primera vez que me ponía la mochila desde entonces. Mis ojos estaban húmedos, parpadeé rápidamente y miré el cañón. Estábamos avanzando a través de una sección conocida como la Chimenea, un segmento empinado donde las paredes del cañón enmarcaban las majestuosas vistas lejanas. El borde norte, al otro lado del cañón, se veía borroso por la distancia. ¿Podría realmente recorrer todo ese camino en tres días?

Lo haré. Además, mi cabaña de trabajo de verano estaba allí, en el borde norte.

Kate y yo caminamos por el sinuoso sendero, descendiendo hacia el cañón. Nuestros bastones resonaban en unos adoquines y nuestras botas se hundían en el polvo suave llamado "polvo de luna" que ya se había metido en todos los poros de nuestros calcetines. Cada vez nos cruzamos con menos personas subiendo por el sendero, hasta que en “Skeleton Point” caminábamos solas. Las paredes del cañón subían sin cesar mientras nosotras descendíamos, hasta que las formaciones del cañón se elevaron sobre nosotras. Me quedé mirando maravillada: nunca había sentido realmente la inmensidad del cañón hasta que estuve en su interior.

A un lado teníamos el precipicio del cañón, y al otro la pared de rocas de colores. Toqué su superficie con mis dedos. Los colores del cañón cambiaban a medida que descendíamos, al atravesar las diversas capas que forman las enormes paredes. Los impresionantes acantilados blancos de la arenisca Coconino, reliquia de antiguas dunas. Los minerales de hierro de las capas de “Supai” daban a toda esa sección unos encantadores tonos rojizos. Y pasamos junto a fósiles de un periodo remoto. Ondas congeladas en la piedra y huellas de una antigua criatura desaparecida hace millones de años.

Me sacaron de mi ensueño otras marcas en la pared: muchos grafitis. ¿Por qué? ¿Acaso el cañón hace que la gente se sienta tan pequeña que tiene que demostrar su existencia a los demás, marcar su lugar en la inmensidad? Descansamos brevemente y aproveché para limpiar las marcas con mi bandana y agua.

El sol poniente enviaba largos rayos hacia el cañón cuando llegamos a los últimos tres kilómetros después del “Tipoff Point”. Un aire notablemente más cálido me envolvió mientras descendíamos hacia la última sección del sendero. Los bordes del cañón se perdieron de vista; estábamos demasiado abajo. Las rocas metamórficas e ígneas, negras y rojas, forman esta área, y las empinadas y oscuras paredes atrapan e irradian calor. Estas antiguas rocas son rugosas, con hermosas estrías de color en sus escarpadas caras. Estas rocas, anteriores incluso a la vida, irradian algo más que calor: irradian una sensación de intemporalidad.

El poderoso río Colorado, arquitecto del cañón, centelleaba bajo nosotras, bajo los últimos rayos de luz. Con nuestro objetivo a la vista y el sol poniéndose rápidamente, aceleramos el paso hacia el Puente Negro. Un túnel de roca nos separaba del puente, la oscuridad era total en ese corto espacio. Recuperé el aliento por un instante, imaginando la antigua roca que me rodeaba por todos lados. Luego, la luz – y salimos al puente, como si estuviéramos entrando a otro mundo.

Las maltrechas tablas crujieron cuando caminé sobre el puente. Ahora que estaba lo suficientemente cerca como para ver la espuma y los remolinos agitados por la feroz corriente del río Colorado, me di cuenta de cuán lejos que habíamos llegado. En una sola tarde habíamos descendido un kilómetro y medio en vertical y habíamos recorrido once kilómetros de sendero. Sentí un gran respeto por el río, cuyas rápidas aguas habían descendido esta misma distancia durante millones de años, tallando el cañón que habíamos descendido. También respeté su rápida corriente y me caminé por el centro exacto del puente.

Me dirigí al campamento, cansada, contenta y ligeramente nerviosa: ahora que había entrado en el cañón, tendría que volver a salir. Pero esa era la tarea de mañana. Por el momento, el camping Bright Angel me llamaba.

Kate continuó hasta la estación de guardaparques y yo elegí un lugar para acampar junto a la pared del cañón. El aire caliente y seco me rodeaba en un abrazo entrelazado, haciendo sentir su presencia en todo momento. Con gratitud, me quité los zapatos de mis pies adoloridos y me puse sandalias. Sin ningún otro cambio en mi ropa, bajé por las rocas hasta el arroyo que bailaba y parloteaba en el campamento. Parecía tan tentador, y al mirar hacia arriba y hacia abajo del arroyo, vi que otras personas ya habían aceptado su chispeante invitación.

Acerqué tímidamente un pie, ¡el agua era como el hielo! ¡Pero que rico! Me senté con delicadeza en la corriente y observé cómo el agua fluía a mi alrededor. Me refrescaba la piel y hacía que la ropa se me pegara al cuerpo. En la calurosa y árida sequedad, este centelleante arroyo parecía aún más especial.

Después de un rato delicioso sentada en el arroyo, volví al campamento y cogí mi contenedor de cuscús al curry, que había rehidratado durante la bajada. Le eché una buena cantidad de aceite de oliva para añadir grasas a mis carbohidratos y me senté en una roca calentada por el sol para disfrutar de mi festín. Ninguna comida sabe tan rica como la comida después de una caminata extenuante.

Acampar en el cañón fue muy fácil: puse mi colchoneta sobre la mesa de picnic, coloqué mi delgado saco de dormir encima y ¡listo! No hacía falta una carpa, y hacía demasiado calor para un grueso saco de dormir. Me acomodé sobre mi colchoneta, moviendo los hombros para encontrar el lugar más cómodo. Apoyando la cabeza sobre mis brazos (la única almohada que tenía), observé las estrellas que emergían del cielo. Era un sitio glorioso, pero no pude mantener los ojos abiertos por más tiempo.

Unos ruidos y las luces de las lámparas de cabeza me despertaron brevemente a las 4 de la mañana, la mejor hora para salir y vencer el calor del día. Opté por salir a las 4 de la tarde, cuando la sombra empezaría a llegar de nuevo al cañón. Observé somnolienta desde mi cama en la mesa de picnic cómo el amanecer se adentraba lentamente en el cañón. Primero como un suave resplandor, luego como cintas de luz que encendían las formaciones rocosas más altas. Un crujido cercano me hizo saltar, pero era una familia de ciervos que venía a mordisquear el follaje alrededor de mi campamento.

Tuve la experiencia completa del cañón interior: me uní a Kate en la estación de guardaparques y vi una evacuación médica en helicóptero. Dejé mi mochila sudada a la entrada y volví para encontrar una ardilla metida hasta los hombros en un hueco que había mordido en la tela. Vi cómo los guardaparques cuidan con cariño los árboles que rodean el campamento, ayudándolos a crecer para que los visitantes tengan sombra. Me sumergí en el rio Colorado, que estaba aún más frío que el arroyo. Recorrí el sendero del río, excavado en la roca sólida hace muchos años. Tomé una foto del termómetro, que marcaba cuarenta y dos grados centígrados a la sombra. Me tomé una limonada en el “Phantom Ranch” y envié postales de "correo por mula" a mi familia. Me senté en el arroyo mientras pececitos mordisqueaban los dedos de mis pies.

A las 4 de la tarde, Kate y yo nos pusimos de nuevo en marcha, iniciando nuestro ascenso hacia el borde norte. No sabía qué esperar de este sendero, un sendero dos veces más largo, pero lo haría en dos días. El calor seguía envolviéndonos, pero estaba disminuyendo poco a poco. Volví a colocarme la mochila sobre los hombros, ajustando las correas para que me resultara más cómoda. Con los bastones en la mano, estaba lista para salir. A los cinco minutos me di cuenta de algo: había estado tan ocupada disfrutando del arroyo que había olvidado ponerme la rodillera. ¿Debo parar y ponérmela? No, ya estábamos caminando. Pero es algo que me preocupaba. Era una caminata intensa, ¿volvería a dolerme la rodilla, como había ocurrido en el “Appalachian Trail”?

El sendero se abrió paso a través de las empinadas y sofocantes paredes del cañón interior, siguiendo el arroyo “Bright Angel”. El susurro del agua, el calor que cubría el camino y el paisaje extraño hacían que la caminata fuera surrealista. Casi esperaba ver una nave espacial o un dragón volando por el estrecho pasaje que atravesábamos. Esta sección se llama simplemente "La Caja", pero sentía que debía ser una caja de tesoros. A menudo me quedaba atrás para observar o sacar fotos, aunque ninguna imagen podía captar la sensación de aquel lugar mágico.

Seguimos caminando hacia arriba, aunque este tramo no era tan empinado. Al salir de La Caja, empezamos a subir de nuevo por las coloridas capas de roca sedimentaria. El sol que bajaba proyectaba un resplandor dorado sobre nuestro sendero. Como seguíamos al arroyo, las plantas y la vegetación lo bordeaban. El agua que fluía y caía por las rocas servía de canción para nuestra aventura.

A medida que descendía la noche, me di cuenta de que no llegaría al campamento con luz. Cambié el sombrero por la lámpara de cabeza y seguí adelante.

De repente, mi lámpara alumbró una señal, alertándome de que estaba entrando en el Camping “Cottonwood”. Cambié mi luz de blanca a roja, una cortesía del camping, ya que la luz roja preserva la visión nocturna y no molesta a la gente que duerme. También me despedí de Kate, ya que ella siguió adelante para pasar los siguientes días en la cercana estación de guardaparques.

Llegar al campamento al anochecer me presentó un nuevo problema que no había considerado: cómo encontrar un sitio vacío sin molestar a la gente. Me acerqué con cuidado a las entradas de los campamentos y pasé la luz roja brevemente por el suelo para comprobar si había carpas u otros indicios de que estuvieran habitadas. En poco tiempo encontré un espacio vacío. Lo reclamé dejando caer mi sudorosa persona y mi sudorosa bolsa sobre la mesa de picnic.

Uf, estaba cansada. Con gran alegría me quité los zapatos y calcetines y moví mis dedos en el cálido aire de la noche. Metí la mochila en la caja metálica a prueba de animales y saqué la cena. Lo mismo que la noche anterior, y siguió siendo una delicia. Lo diré de nuevo: la comida siempre sabe mucho mejor después de una larga excursión.

Me senté en la caja de seguridad, sintiendo el aire cálido de la noche. Podía ver débiles luces y oír murmullos mientras la gente se iba a dormir. A lo lejos, vi una luz que iluminaba la cara del acantilado: la lámpara de alguien que seguía bajando, el camino que tomaría en la mañana.

De repente, volteé la cabeza. ¿Qué era eso? Algo se arrastró sobre mi pie. Algo que se movía en la oscuridad, y supe que no estaba sola en mi campamento. Desapareció tan rápido como llegó, y decidí terminar mi comida en la mesa de picnic. Con los pies metidos debajo de mí.

Tiré mi colchoneta sobre la mesa y fui a llenar mi agua para la mañana. Cuando volví a mi sitio, unos ojos brillantes me miraron desde la oscuridad. Un ratoncito, sentado en la caja de seguridad. ¡Qué fresco! Lo ahuyenté, pero creo que no se fue muy lejos. Definitivamente un punto a favor de dormir encima de la mesa de picnic; ¡no me gustaba la idea de ser inspeccionada por un ratón en la noche!

Me metí en el saco de dormir. Unas finas nubes ocultaron las estrellas. Oí un movimiento a mi izquierda: el ratoncito estaba en el árbol. Suspiré y me di vuelta. La pantalla de mi celular casi me ciega mientras puse la alarma: tres y media de la mañana, para poder salir a las cuatro. Esperaba que fuera lo suficientemente temprano para vencer el calor.

Las luces ya se movían alrededor de “Cottonwood” en las primeras horas de la mañana. Mi preparación fue más lenta de lo que esperaba, y finalmente empaqué todas mis pertenencias a las cuatro y quince. Ajusté las correas de la lámpara de cabeza y me puse en marcha.

El aire de la noche seguía siendo cálido. Podía ver la silueta del borde del cañón a lo lejos contra el suave resplandor de la luz del amanecer. De hecho, el resplandor era suficiente para que apagara mi lámpara por completo. El sendero, de color ligeramente más claro que el suelo circundante, me llevó hacia adelante. Una llamada etérea entre enormes paredes de roca.

Con la mirada en el sendero, seguí adelante. Esta era la parte más difícil, subir novecientos veinte metros verticales para salir del cañón. Pero también me iba a casa, de vuelta a mi cabaña en el borde norte.

El amanecer se deslizaba por las paredes del cañón cuando entré en la casa de descanso llamada “Manzanita”. Me paré a desayunar, aunque sólo comí la mitad de la comida que había preparado. Un grupo de excursionistas me ofreció puré de frijoles. Saludé rápidamente a los guardaparques, que empezaban su día. Una rápida bajada por la ladera hasta el arroyo, para mojar mi ropa. También mojé mi bandana y la metí en una bolsa de plástico, para más tarde. Luego me puse el sombrero y la mochila y volví al camino.

Esta sección es la más empinada - ¡y dura casi diez kilómetros! Bastón, paso, bastón, paso, subiendo y subiendo y subiendo. La luz seguía bajando por las capas del cañón con el sol naciente. Una vista impresionante, un sitio precioso, y uno que me hizo acelerar mi ritmo. Ojalá pudiera ganarle a la luz, y a su compañero, el calor, en el camino.

No lo hice, por supuesto. La luz me alcanzó alrededor de “Roaring Springs”. En un recodo del sendero descansé a la sombra de un árbol, apoyándome en mis bastones. Una cascada caía por la pared del cañón; un espectáculo poco común, sin duda. Menos común aún, las líneas eléctricas y una estructura de cemento. Un momento de reverencia al manantial, la fuente de agua de todo el Parque Nacional del Gran Cañón.

Luego, hacia adelante y hacia arriba.

Curvas y rocas, girando y retorciéndose por las empinadas laderas. Vistas a cada paso, y la cima no parecía estar más cerca. Pero la vista valió la pena. Preciosos rincones de sombra. Pequeños hilos de agua que se filtran desde la roca, alimentando delicadas comunidades de plantas. Lagartijas que se escabullen a mis pasos.

Las curvas del sendero me llevaron del sol a la sombra y al sol nuevamente, y me di cuenta de la marcada diferencia entre los dos. Algo se movió en mi mochila y me refrescó la memoria: ¡mi sombrilla! Este era su momento de brillar. Literalmente, ya que está recubierta de pintura plateada reflectante. La saqué del bolsillo lateral de mi mochila, la abrí, y pasé casi cinco minutos intentando colocarla en la correa del hombro de mi mochila. Ya que tenía dos bastones, ¡no podía sujetarla también! Finalmente conseguí atarla y me quedé contemplando mi sombra. Parecía un octágono con patas. Sonreí un poco cohibida: estaba segura de que me veía ridícula. Pero después de unos minutos, no me importó. ¡Qué diferencia! Me crucé con un grupo de excursionistas que comentaron mi sombrilla y les dije: "¡es mejor sentirse fresca que estar a la moda!" Subí por el sendero, con los bastones oscilando y la sombrilla brillando, lista para afrontar la siguiente parte del camino.

Subí y el sol se deslizó por las paredes del cañón. El calor aumentaba, pero ya me estaba acercando. Miré hacia adelante, buscando un lugar para descansar unos minutos. Una curva por encima del puente de “Redwall” proyectaba largas sombras sobre el sendero, y me senté en una roca para descansar. Había llegado el momento de coger mi última parte del equipo: la bandana mojada de la mañana. La saqué empapada de su bolsa de plástico y la até al cuello. El agua resbalaba por mi espalda. Apreté mis hombros hasta las orejas, tratando de tener el mayor contacto posible con el agua. ¡Qué delicia después de una calurosa caminata!

Cuando llegué al túnel de “Supai”, a tres kilómetros del borde, mi ropa ya estaba totalmente seca. Pero había un grifo de agua. Llené mis botellas y me volví a empapar. Me miraron raro, pero ellos tenían calor y yo no.

Sólo tres kilómetros más. Agarré los bastones con firmeza y seguí adelante. En el borde me esperaban una ducha y un sándwich. Ducha y sándwich - repetí como un mantra.

Menos de una milla. Pasé por “Coconino Overlook” y por muchos excursionistas que olían a jabón. Yo no olía a jabón. Sin embargo, pronto tendría mi ducha y mi sándwich.

Subí a duras penas las últimas curvas, con la cabeza baja. Un pensamiento cruzó mi cabeza y me tropecé. Ya casi había llegado. Realmente, ya casi había llegado. Y eso significaba que iba a terminar un viaje con mochila. No tan largo como el “Appalachian Trail”, es cierto, pero sí un sendero sólido. Una sensación, no de clausura, pero sí de logro. Parpadeé para evitar un repentino ardor en los ojos y subí la última parte del camino. Y mi rodilla nunca me dolió. Lo había conseguido, con mi equipo del “Appalachian Trail”, mi comida deshidratada y mi amor por el excursionismo.

Me desplomé sobre un muro de piedra al final del sendero y reflexioné sobre lo lejos que había llegado. Otros excursionistas estaban descansando allí, agotados, pero con una actitud de triunfo.

Le dije a uno de ellos, "¿Podrías sacarme una foto con la señal del sendero? Necesito recordar este momento".

Reflexiona sobre este último año. ¿Cuál fue tu momento más emocionante?

El equipo de Interpretación del Parque Nacional del Gran Cañón se encarga de la presentación de "Behind the Scenery".

Agradecemos a los pueblos nativos en cuyas tierras ancestrales nos reunimos, así como a las diversas y vibrantes comunidades nativas que hacen su hogar aquí ho

How does it feel to cross the canyon? In our first episode of this podcast in Spanish, listen to the experience of a ranger who hikes across Grand Canyon from rim to rim. When have you fulfilled your dream? ¿Qué se siente al cruzar el cañón? En nuestro primer episodio de este podcast en español, escuche la experiencia de una guardaparques que recorre el Gran Cañón del Colorado de lado a lado. ¿Cuándo has alcanzado tu sueño?

Tales of a Water Bottle - What sticks with you?


Running water sound at water fill station Hannah: Hi this is Ranger Hannah. Jesse: I’m Jesse. Hannah: And this Behind the Scenery. Jesse: Hannah when you visit a national park or a new place, how do you like to commemorate that? Hannah: I mean if I could I would definitely try plants Jesse: *chuckles* Hannah: But what I typically do is a sticker and I add it to my water bottle, truck, or laptop, trying to find that special place. Jesse: Yeah, I think stickers are a nice way for people to take a piece of their experience home with them, that’s not illegal or damaging to the environment. Jesse and Hannah: *Giggling* Hannah: yes… even through that flower would look really pretty pressed and dried. Jesse: Yeah, yeah, you know its for science, but its really for you. Hannah: Yes! Jesse: Yeah no, the stickers are nice. I think my favorite sticker I have that commemorates last season on the north rim its, a, maybe you have seen it. It is a Kaibab Squirrel, so like the only squirrel that lives here on the north rim of Grand Canyon. Umm, dark body, white bushy tail and in the sticker it says, ‘North Rim 2020’ and the squirrels tail is on fire because we had a massive wildfire and it’s wearing a mask, umm, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you have a favorite sticker or memory like that? Hannah: I mean I have tons of sticker memories that’s why I collect my stickers, like all of the stickers especially on my red Hydro flask have a story of how I got into the park service. Jesse: oh, okay Hannah: How I figured out what I wanted to do. Jesse: Yeah, I’ve been admire your stickers on your hydro flask all season. So maybe we can get into it a little bit, and you can tell me your story through the stickers of your water bottle. Hannah: Yeah, umm, one that I think is important to start with is the national park geek one. It’s a common sticker that most park gift shops have. And it has the Teddy Roosevelt glasses along with a ranger like hat, because Teddy helped create the park service system and got that going. And I like that one because most people identify with that one when they come to the parks. Yeah, I love the parks I want to support it. So I commonly see it like on my water bottle and other peoples vehicles and I’ve seen many different formats of this sticker. Sometimes it’s pink, sometimes it’s all green, sometimes it’s a white silhouette on a vehicle. It’s interesting seeing how different parks decided to buy the sticker and what different ways visitors want to show that their apart of supporting the parks. Jesse: What was your introduction into national parks, like how did you become a national park geek? Hannah: *sigh* I mean growing up my parents definitely took me to a lot of parks and everything, but I never knew that you could be a park ranger. I don’t what I was thinking as a kid, there were just people there. Like I didn’t think, like oh they get paid to be here. There Rangers, they’re just there. *giggles* But after my first year in college my Dad was like ‘hey you need to find a summer job’ and I was like ‘oh yeah, I got this Dad, pssh, don’t worry about it.’ So I went to up to Dixie State University Career Lab and the advisor there, ‘like what can I do for a summer job?’. And he looked at me, and was like ‘What do ya want to do?’ Jesse: It’s a pretty broad question. Both Jesse and Hannah: *chuckle* Hannah: Yeah, he’s like ‘what?’ I know I wanted to something with the outdoors and that’s what I told him, so he pointed me to IIC. Which is the sticker. Jesse: Oh yeah Hannah: I have here. It’s a red outlined sticker and it has Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative. It has a quill and shovel creating an X with the letters IIC in three of the quadrants and the last quadrant has a pine tree that looks like a flash driver. And he pointed me in the direction of their website and their website had jobs with BLM, Park Service, Division of Natural Resource, just a lot of jobs for people to figure out if they wanted to something with the outdoors. So I looked at it and only found one job I was interesting in because it had free housing. Jesse: *chuckles* Hannah: I was like I don’t what I’m doing, and applied to that one. Even through that’s not the best thing to do (*giggles while saying that*). Jesse: Yeah, usually at you want at least, especially in the park service most people are applying to 30-40 jobs sometimes. Hannah: Yep, I was that crazy person applied to one and was in the interview process and didn’t know what I was doing. Because they were talking about public speaking and I’m like I don’t know if I can talk to 20 people right in my face for an hour to an hour and half, like that sounds insane. Jesse: Yeah, but weren’t you, didn’t you do theatre and stuff in high school? Hannah: Yeah, but that’s completely different. Jesse: Hmm, that seems way scarier to me. Hannah: I mean it’s easier being on stage, because you’re in a whole new world and the bright lights are on you and no ones there. Jesse: ah, so you can’t see the audience? Hannah: Mhmm Jesse: I see, okay. Hannah: So you don’t know that they’re there. Then with park service you’re giving a program and they’re right there. And I was like no way could I do this. I was that honest in my interview ‘Like I don’t know, but I’m willing to try.’ *chuckles nervously* And Nicole the supervisor at Great Basin was like ‘I’m really loving this, like I think you’d be a good fit.’ And she was excited because she hadn’t hired people in a while. And next thing I knew, the next day she give me the job offer. And I was like ‘okay I guess we’re doing this.’ Jesse: *chuckles* That’s awesome. Yeah so, went from kinda, you know here you are sitting in the community room on the North Rim of Grand Canyon in your National Park Service uniform in your first season as a ranger. So this kinda IIC sticker is the entry way into your career as park service ranger. Hannah: Oh most definitely. Jesse: Yeah, okay Hannah: Wouldn’t be here without it. Jesse: So you went to Great Basin, and then I see that you have a Great Basin Sticker but what is kinda the next step for you in that journey? Hannah: Definitely getting out to Great Basin and I was terrified. Jesse: Oh yeah? Hannah: It was my first time away from home. Jesse: oh yeah. Hannah: I had no idea what I was doing. I was like ‘oh my gosh what if they just hired me and decided they’re going to murder me and leave me there. Middle of nowhere, no one knows what’s going to happen. *chuckles* Jesse: Yeah, Great Basin is way out there, for sure. Hannah: Yeah, but when I got there, I just felt a little excited I was like ‘lets see what happens’. Like next thing I knew like working with the other rangers, learning about giving cave tours, roving out in the campgrounds and the different sections of the park. I fell in love with it. Like I didn’t know that I would passionate about talking to people about what I’m passionate about. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: It like that excitement you see it the second you start talking to people. They know your passionate about it so they want to get excited about it. And it just starts this whole flame of excitement. Jesse: Yeah, it’s really fun to share your passions with other people especially. Sometimes they glaze over and can tell they don’t want to hear about it. Jesse and Hannah: *Chuckling* Hannah: Yes! Jesse: But that’s not always the case most the time. Yeah, so that whole thing worked out for you even though you only applied to one job. That’s excellent. And being away from home for the first time how quickly did you kinda adjust to the new life style like being on your own and out there is such a remote spot? Hannah: I was in the honeymoon stage for a long time. Like I did not know I was missing home. I was enjoying everything getting my own groceries, making my own food, having a roommate that wasn’t my sister was amazing and getting to know new people. It was a different social life, I got more of my “college experience”. Jesse: Hmm, at Great Basin. Hannah: At Great Basin, yeah Jesse: Interesting. Can you describe that Great Basin Sticker for me? Hannah: Yeah so, It’s has Great Basin National Park Gold Tier International Dark Sky, because their dark sky is one to envy. And that’s like one thing you cannot miss when you go to the park. And its got a bristle cone pine tree and those live up to 5,000 years old right now and it’s got The Wheeler peak mountain range like you really can’t go anywhere without seeing that mountain range in that area. Jesse: Expect in the cave. Hannah: Yes, *chuckles*, if you would have told me that I was going to give programs to visitors in the cave for an hour to an hour and half, like I would not have believed you. Because its like scary to think because most people fear is public speaking and next thing you know like… Jesse: Lot of people are scared of caves too. Hannah: Yeah Jesse: Confined spaces, yeah that must have been a challenge. But you certainly overcame it. Would you say that was like that opportunity to go out to Great Basin was a turning point for you? Hannah: I mean most definitely. ‘Cause when I started college all I knew is that I wanted a degree in Botany, I knew I was going to do something with plants. To know what my dream job was after my first internship at Great Basin and just fell in love with the idea of hopefully someday getting the full uniform and the cool hat. Jesse: Yeah, yeah, its so cool to get that experience so early on, ‘cause I didn’t know what I wanted to do until years after college. To have that near the start of college is pretty great. So tell me about another sticker on your water bottle. Hannah: I think the next important sticker would be Outdoor Leadership Academy, they’re the ones that actually helped me get my red hydro flask through them. And I started working with them throughout college and Outdoor Leadership Academy is a program to help get diverse students into the park service that you normally wouldn’t find. So it was fun attending those programs. I got to go to all five Utah national parks, the big five. Jesse: Sure yeah Hannah: during a spring break field trip for free. Jesse: Wow, that’s awesome. Hannah: Yeah, and learn about Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument and how its run by park service and BLM, got to go the Lead Mead National Recreation Area. Learn about all these different units in the park service. That people normally don’t know about like Jesse: Yeah Hannah: Who knew the national park service and BLM worked together to run national monument. Jesse: And for folks listening BLM is Bureau of Land Management. Hannah: *snaps* Yes Hannah and Jesse: *Chuckle* Jesse: in this context Hannah and Jesse: yeah Hannah: To get back to describing the sticker. Totally missed that. At the bottom it says Outdoor Leadership Academy and on it has a prickly pear cactus and then the St. George mountain range with the red rock behind it. Jesse: Yeah, it’s a really nice sticker and it sort of emblematic of where you came from, like right? Hannah: Yeah Jesse: That’s what St. George looks like. Hannah: Oh yeah, most definitely Jesse: yeah that sounds like an excellent program. And really exciting that you got to be apart of it. But where did it take you after the big five national park and all that? Hannah: One of the last trips I did with them was after I transferred and it was different for me, because instead of being a student. I was more of a teacher. Jesse: oh uh-hu Hannah: It was back at Great Basin. So I got to travel back for a Fall break during my university and I got to show students I had learned so much with, about the park and help them learn about this place I had fallen in love with for three years. And it was just crazy being like oh I know this stuff and your learning it from me and like normally I’m with you filling out the paperwork, like this is weird. Jesse: You were kinda the expert in that context, huh? Hannah: Yeah Jesse: Yeah, because you had spent so much time there. Was it a challenge to be kinda the teacher for all your peeps or did it come fairly easy to you? Hannah: It felt a little natural, because I had been a park ranger there for three summers. So it felt like I was just stepping in to park ranger mode. Jesse: Gotta ya Hannah: But it was still weird because it was people my age. Jesse: Yeah, yeah totally, did you take them on any tours or anything? Hannah: One of my park ranger friends lead the tour, but I was also on it I was the tail light. But I took them out to Stella and Teresa Lake and out to the bristle cones and we explored that area just talking about it. Jesse: Yeah, What do you think that experience, that leadership experience among your peer group did for you? Hannah: I think it’s a moment of being like you’re going down the right path, even though its like weird having that transition. Because like at Great Basin there were plenty of cave tours were I was leading college groups of people my age during those summers. Jesse: Sure Hannah: But it wasn’t strange because it wasn’t people I knew, it was just people that thought I was authority figure was like we’ll listen. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: But where it was peers I worked with it felt a little causal because like I still could have a causal conversation with them. Jesse: Right. Hannah: But it was still like I know this stuff and you guys are learning from me. Which is really cool. ‘Cause its fun having that with friends and everything because a lot friends will ask me about the different parks I’ve worked at, ‘cause they want to know before they go. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: It’s like hey I know this, Ranger Hat on lets talk about it. Jesse: Yeah, your sort of the ambassador to the parks that you have worked at. Hannah: Yes! Jesse: And then what was it like when you left Great Basin for the last time, well not for the last time because I’m sure you’ll be back, many times. Hannah: Yeah, I mean after that trip it was kinda a bummer. Jesse: Yeah? Hannah: ‘Cause I didn’t know what the next steps would be. I didn’t know what my next park would be. I had an idea what it would be. Before I transferred to Utah Valley University. I had seen this internship through their Capitol Reef Field station. That was with interp, they had an interp internship or a resource management and I was interested in both, but I knew interp was definitely my gig. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: And so like I was getting ready to apply for that before I transferred and I was reading through it and have to be student and I wasn’t a current student. So I was like okay we’ll figure this out. And my first semester at UVU. I actually got in a class with the professor in charge of the internship and the field station and everything. And so I talk to him a little bit and was like so this internship, like got to know a little bit more about it. But I was like this is my next place I’m thinking. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: like Capitol Reef National Park, don’t know what’s going to happen. But I know interp. Jesse: Yeah. Hannah: Like we’ll go through there Jesse: What was it like when you finally did make it to Capitol Reef Field Station? Hannah: I was first at Capitol Reef Field Station, for my plant ecology class, so the professor that was teaching that was also director of the field station. And it was interesting being in that building because I didn’t know parks had field stations. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: And it was cool because we got to see the petroglyphs there and got to hike around the field station and see the renewable energy and how they’re keeping the buildings warms the solar panels and how effective the field station and a great learning resource in the park that not many park units have. And I do have a sticker from the field station and it has Capitol Reef on it with a petroglyph of a desert goat with Utah Valley University underneath it. But explore that area I was like yeah, I could be here. Jesse: Yeah, that’s an incredible landscape, I mean all that red sandstone. Hannah: Yes. Jesse: Canyons Hannah: It definitely felt like home Jesse: oh yeah Hannah: because growing up in St. George with the red rocks, Jesse: for sure Hannah: Then Great Basin just spending all those summers in a more mountain green area, than going to Capitol Reef I was like was yeah this could be another home. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: Like its similar. Jesse: Yeah it is, how often did you get pies at the little pie shop there? Hannah: Oooo, I think I got cinnamon rolls more often, because their cinnamon rolls are also famous. But I think I got three or four pies and then I couldn’t tell you how many cinnamon rolls. Jesse: If I worked there I would probably eat like a pie per day there. The pies are so good. Hannah: They really are good. And what’s nice about living there is we got our own microwaves at our houses Jesse: oh yeah Hannah: so we could take them home and warm it up. Jesse: That’s the only sad thing as a visitor you don’t get a warm pie. *giggles* Hannah: Yes, *giggling* Jesse: Yeah no, that sounds amazing. So what’s the next sticker that’s the next step in your story here? Hannah: I mean finally made it to Capitol Reef, so I got the Capitol Reef sticker. I knew I was, I just had so much confidence, I’m gonna do it was like the first interview that I had so much confidence. I was like yeah, I’m a shoe in. I got this like nothing is holding me back. But like most people you still have this hesitant nervousness. Jesse: I was going to say, where do you think that confidence came from? Hannah: I think just three summers at Great Basin and knowing like I was finally finding my path and finding what I wanted to do. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: But it was interesting because day of the interview it was my birthday and like no one knew that, and I got the call the next day from him and with all the paperwork they eventually found out the interview day was my birthday and they were like, if we would have know we would have told you that day. Jesse: Oh Hannah: And I was like, hold on you knew the day of but decided to wait until the next day. Jesse: Rude Hannah and Jesse: *giggle* Hannah: Then my Capitol Reef Sticker is in the shape of an NPS Arrowhead and it’s got the red rocks of Capitol Reef and the different formations there. And across mid- lower section of it says Capitol Reef National Park. Jesse: Is that a Condor on there too? Hannah: I don’t know Jesse: Its probably a turkey vulture, but it looks a lot like a condor. Hannah: yeah, Its so faded at this point. Jesse: It’s clearly been loved a lot. Hannah: *chuckles* Yes Jesse: How long did you spend at Capitol Reef than? Hannah: I spent a summer there and I was at the Ripple Rock Nature Center and I was working with little kiddo’s. It was so much fun because I gave a nature talk for kids and a geology program for kids, because Capitol Reef has a Geology Junior Ranger Patch you can get if you attend the program and so like I would give the program and how I would do that is I would string out a tape measurer and we would walk along the timeline talking about when different items would appear and different rock layers in the park and we would get down to like barely anything and show like when humans appeared and all the kids would be like wow. Jesse: *chuckles* Yeah, Yeah, that’s always pretty mind blowing to do like the physically timeline like that. Hannah: Yes Jesse: And then from Capitol Reef, what’s the next sticker? Hannah: I mean after Capitol Reef, there was a gap year because Covid hit and I wanted to finish school early and there’s not really a sticker for that. Jesse: No Covid-19 sticker on it and that’s probably fine. Hannah: *giggling in the background. * yeah there is not a sticker for that. Jesse: *chuckles, yeah* Yeah Hannah: So I was heavily in my books, Jesse: Mhmm Hannah: And then October 2020, is when I started applying to NPS Jobs, and its just waiting and hoping and not knowing what I was doing, it was a whole new hiring process Jesse: Yeah it’s really different Hannah: Yeah, I knew I already had the federal resume, ‘cause I had talked to so many coworkers at Great Basin and Capitol Reef and them telling me about how it has to be very detailed and its multiple pages and you list everything and anything and I was like ‘oh boy’ Jesse: Huh yeah, Federal resumes are general ten or more pages. Hannah: Yeah. Jesse: Which is different from most and rest of the world. Hannah: Mhmm Jesse: Yeah, so what was that application process like for you, was it kinda nerve wracking, did you apply to only one place? Hannah: *Brust into Laughter* I didn’t only apply to one place which I’m proud of. I think that would be hard with how the applications work. Jesse: Yep Hannah: ‘Cause with USA Jobs their have multiple listings and select into one and they’ll have like multiple regions in that area, and it might be like, there is 75 and your allowed to select 25 of these. Jesse: Yeah, Its pretty odd. Hannah: Yeah, *chuckles*, and so like every Monday of that October was dedicated to specifically to turn in my application, like I didn’t do any school work. I was like were getting my resume in. Cause it did take a little bit of time like I don’t know if our Wi-Fi was bad, but it was taking the time getting it in. And when I was done, I was like I don’t feel like anything else. Jesse: Yeah, when you like going through this whole process, starting as an intern at Great Basin being there for three years. Being an intern at Capitol Reef National Park and than moving on to applying National Park Service positions. How, did you get support from your family in that or were they pushing you towards other things or what was that dynamic like? Hannah: Oh my parents were definitely my number one supporters. Jesse: Oh Awesome Hannah: In all of this they were the first people I called when I got availability check emails. That’s like the first step in the application process in figuring out what parks are interested. And I know a lot of people tell me don’t get too excited, it may end up being nothing. But I was like first step Woo! Jesse: ha,ha, yeah, yeah Hannah: Like called my parents, for me the first park that got to me with three districts was actually Grand Canyon Jesse: uh-huh, yeah Hannah: I was so excited because I hadn’t thought about that park, you really, I mean I don’t specifically, think this is the park I want to go to because I never know what is going to happen. I didn’t know Great Basin exist, so its like one of those things I was like yeah, Grand Canyon, close to my hometown it would be a great place. So I called my parents up yeah I got my first availability check, I think it was Desert View, Jesse: Mmm, Yep Hannah: That had first sent out a message and then quickly after that Village followed and then North Rim. I was like Grand Canyon like woooo! Jesse: *chuckling* Hannah: Don’t know what’s going to happen. Jesse: Yeah Hannah: And with all of it my parents were very excited like I would call them about every availability check email and they would look into it to see what the area was about. ‘cause there were definitely areas never heard of. *Chuckles* Jesse: Yeah, yeah Hannah: So we were researching these places figuring out would it be a good option. Especially since I’d just be finishing school would I have enough money to move out to this new place. And with all of it me going to Great Basin, and to Capitol Reef, going on my OLA Trips they were right there and supportive and excited about it. ‘Cause I know seasonal life is a little rough and you never know what’s going to happen. Jesse: Yeah, it can be a challenge. Hannah: yeah, and my Dad I know he has had like a little worry about that. But he was definitely excited when I got my interview with north rim and then when I was able to accept the position. He was so stoked he went bought a sticker pack that had a bunch of parks in it and it had the NPS arrowhead. I have on my water bottle. Jesse: yeah Hannah: because of course I’ve got the internship program I worked with I got to have the NPS on it. Jesse: Of course, yeah. Hannah: He was just so stoked and even had a Grand Canyon Sticker that has had some wear and tear this summer, but it’s a view from the bottom of the canyon looking up. But just his excitement was so cool to see like ‘yeah we’re going somewhere’ Jesse: *chuckles* Yeah, what has your season been like now its coming to a close here, how has it been in your first official park service season? Wearing the green and gray, and badge. Hannah: I mean it has definitely been an evolving season. Like at first I had imposter syndrome even though I know with the Capitol Reef one I was like confident and knew I had that stuff. Jesse: yeah Hannah: But coming here seeing everyone, getting ready to wear the official uniform was definitely intimidating. I was like what am I doing, like why was I selected especially for North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had friends that wanted to work here too and I was like ‘oh my gosh here I am’ But like over the season it was cool hearing visitors get excited with me Jesse: yeah Hannah: and talk about how its my first season in the uniform with the cool hat. And everyone would give a giggle, and yeah the hat is cool. Jesse: yeah the hat is cool Hannah: And just talking about it and seeing different visitors faces throughout the season ‘cause for some people, when I just saw rangers as being there, but for some people its like a movie novelty and walk up to me be like ‘Are you a real park ranger, like can my kid take a picture with you.’ It’s like this surprising thing that they don’t know, but its like your real, you’re a real thing. Jesse: yeah Hannah: and seeing the faces of kids that want to be Park Rangers when they grow up. It’s like this realization, *snaps* you can do it at any point. Go for it. Jesse: Start putting those stickers on your water bottle. Hannah: Yes! And just like trying to encourage people to start at any point. ‘Cause I have had geology professor or people about to retire, that are always like ‘I wish I would have done that when I was your age’ Jesse: yeah Hannah: what is stopping you? Jesse: I know, right? Yeah cool. What do you think will be the next sticker that you put on this bottle? Hannah: Umm, *chuckles* I don’t know if it really has space for too many more. Jesse: Not a lot of room on there. Hannah: So I’m thinking I may need to get a second one Jesse: yeah Hannah: Cause I have been looking for a second ‘cause I think it would be cool to continue on. ‘Cause visitors do ask a lot of questions about it. ‘cause I do have it out with me and they’ll be people my age that are trying to figure out how to get into the park service. And I’m like I have the story for you. Jesse: yeah, these are the steps, right here. Hannah: *giggles* Yes! Jesse: Yeah, it is true that most people start in a kinda of similar way to you. I started as an intern. I started after college as an intern. Ah yeah most folks do that in order to get the experience. Learn how to write your ten page resume. Hannah *giggles* *snaps* Jesse: Well Hannah thanks, is there anything else you want add? Hannah: I mean I think the biggest thing is to thank all the programs and my parents for helping me get out there and like the college advisor that gave that like what do you want to do question that was definitely a big step. The Outdoor Leadership Academy and IIC for both for showing the outdoors as a possibility and just my parents being there and especially this summer wanting to show off their own little ranger. Jesse: yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. Well you’re doing an absolutely incredible job in your first season and hope you have many more to come. Filling up metal water bottle with water Hannah: Now talking to Jesse about my stickers I quite enjoyed it, but I didn’t want to be the only person talking about the stickers I have. So I went around and asked coworkers and visitors what their sticker story are and I got some neat ones I would like to share with you: Jeff: I’m Jeff Caton, I’m one of the park rangers here on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. And I grew up in Kanas. My favorite sticker is on my coffee cup and it’s a painting of the mountains behind my cabin, when I worked at Rocky National Park. And my nephew Mason painted this is school and had a coffee cup made for me. And it’s got two mountains, Bone and Baker, and the Never Summers with a small rise between them. And a green meadow which is where I use to live at Rocky and that’s my sticker story. Lisa: My name is Lisa and I’m from Southern California in north Tustin. And I’m traveling here with my brother, sister and husband and our spouses. And you want to know about my stickers? Hannah: Yeah! Lisa: Well my sister got one of these passport to your national park books, where you put a stamp in for each park you visit at the visitor center. And I’ve been to lots, lots, and lots of national parks in my life. And so I thought I’m going to buy one and start now. I’m sixty years old and then after I bought mine and put the stamp in it. I think it was Zion or Bryce, umm, I saw a packet of stickers on the wall for twenty dollars with all the national parks. I bought special ones for Zion and Bryce Canyon and put the stamps in. But then I started going through the sticker books and started putting the stickers for the parks I visited in my past ‘cause I did not know if I would ever back to some of these again. And that’s the story of my stickers and I love all of them, because they bring memories back. You know seeing this Glacier National Park, up in Montana is cool, because we saw bears there just like the sticker shows. And Mesa Verde was just last year and it was neat to see the Native American Cliff Dwellings, so on and so forth. Lauren: Hi my name is Lauren Cisneros. So we are talking about stickers today and on my water bottle I have plenty of stickers. One of the ones I wanted to chat about was I have a sticker that’s says image a world without ALS, cycle to conquer ALS. ALS is a disease called Lou Gehrig’s disease and a few years ago I helped video an event called the Death Ride Tour, which help benefits ALS research, currently there is no cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease, umm and so these stickers were given out to try and remind people this diseases does exist and raise awareness for it. Umm, I have a friend I lost recently to the disease unfortunately and I have another friend with it. Umm, so I have a sticker on my bottle to remind me of that. Continuing around the corner I have a sticker with what’s called a mono skier. With Enabling Technologies on there, Enabling Technologies is a company that creates mono skis, for adaptive skiers that are usually paralyzed from the waist down and usually have good upper body strength. In the winter months I teach adaptive skiing and I have a lot of athletes that I teach that use this equipment and they shred down the hill and that’s pretty fun. And then one more that I’ll share; I have a sticker here that says Island Cycles, ride the sand bar. That is a sticker I got when I worked as a bike mechanic last summer, umm, in Hatteras, Cape Hatteras North Carolina. And its kinda fun and the biker is riding the wave like a surfer would, umm, Which is funny because everything there rust including plastic and every bike that came into the shop was just a rust bucket. So kinda pain to work on but a really fun experience. And I really like the shop and the people I worked for. Kathleen: I’m Kathleen Gardner, I’m from Kanab, Utah, I’m a professional photographer out of Kanab, Utah. Umm, my I own a two thousand, 2021 CrossTrek, uh I came up with the design for mountain goats and desert goats, I actually am, my family has always referred to me as the goat and yagi is the name I came up with to put on my car its Japanese for goat. So on the one side I have yama yagi and on the other side I have sabaku yagi, which is desert goat and on the hood I have a mountain goat again. So, an it took me a little while came up with the design. Had to find a wrap place in St. George to be able to cut it out and put it on there for me. Someone was daring enough to do it for me and of course they didn’t guarantee anything. They said don’t wash it, it should stay on there for a few years and I was pretty happy with it. Its very unique and one of a kind. Dave: Hi this is Ranger Dave, umm, and I’m here to talk about the stickers on my Nalgene, umm, and I have a lot of different Nalgene but the one I’m thinking about is one I just broke. Umm, and it was covered in superhero stickers, umm, and so what I did I had a group of kids that I mentor through entire ski season, umm, I teach adaptive skiing in the winters and at the end of the whole trip, the whole season I ended up giving them like goodie bags. And in these goodie bags were stickers. So the kids had all different ones and one of the kids didn’t show up so I kept his stickers. Umm, And so I took those stickers and put them on my bottle in different ironic places around the other larger stickers about skiing. Umm, and that’s kinda a fun little touch that I added. But that Nalgene just broke, I didn’t know you could break Nalgene, but you can. And umm, so yeah that’s my sticker story its all superheroes, umm, doing funny things. Ron: My name is Ron I’m from Portland, Oregon and my bottle with lots of beer stickers all over my bottle. This bottle does not contain beer. It does contain H2O and it is water, but beer very, I’m very fond of the beers of the great northwest and umm it reminds me every time I take a drink out of my water bottle it reminds me of the second best drink I have is beer, back in Portland, Oregon, so. I have carried this with me all over the place. I use to be an elementary school teacher and I would take it to school until someone pointed out, ‘you probably shouldn’t bring a beer laden to school’, you know you’re probably right. But I’m so use to just toting this thing around it just like my left arm or my right arm. So any way that’s me, and my beer, but water. Doug: Hi my names Doug and I have a vintage 1949 pickup truck and if you have a old truck, then you have to have an age appropriate bumper sticker. So I have a political bumper sticker that says ‘Give them Hell Harry’ and it says ‘Truman for US President’. I made this up myself, stars and strips, just to kinda have something to date from 1949 the same year as my pickup truck. I also have nine vintage reproduction national park stickers, uh, mostly from the 1930’s. These are stickers that are eight sided and they are about 2-3 inches across and based on historic windshield decal that park rangers would issue to vehicles when they came in through a check in station and entered the park. I have a Grand Canyon one for some reason has a beaver on it of all animals probably the less likely animal I would associate with Grand Canyon. I have a General Grant sticker with a squirrel on it. I have an Olympic National park with a Roosevelt Elk on it. Natural Bridges National Monument with a picture of Owachomo bridge and a rattle snake. Canyonlands National Park with a big horned sheep image. Yosemite National Park with half dome and a mountain lion. Grand Teton with a mountain view. Yellowstone with a bison on it. And Mesa Verde National Park with a coyote on it. And these stickers are all from National Parks that I have worked in over the years. Basically I have a resume that drives sixty miles an hour down the road with these stickers that I have worked in. Quick on and off at water filling station Hannah: Hearing everyone’s sticker story and collecting them was a ton of fun. I just wish I could spend hours collecting everyone’s story. In addition to spending hours on telling all my sticker stories. I appreciated the people that were willing to open up about a sticker or a whole theme of stickers that mean a lot to them. While I was recording other people stories I couldn't help but wonder about the memories or the value we give to objects. I know this episode was based on stickers, but we all have objects in our lives that help narrator our own stories. I love learning and hearing these stories as I talk to visitors and coworker. And I hope my joyfulness to tell my story with water bottle never stops, along with my curiosity to hear other peoples story via stickers or other objects. My question to you is what objects or items do you have in your life that helps narrator your life story? I'd thank Jeff Caton, Lisa Fiefe-Kollman, Lauren Cisneros, Kathleen Garder, Dave Kent, Ron Bagwell, and Doug Crispin for all telling their sticker stories. And a special Thank you to Jesse Barden for taking the time to sit down with me and record my sticker story. Behind the Scenery is brought to you by the Interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park. Audio production is done by Wayne Hartlerode We gratefully acknowledge the Native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

How do you remember important life moments? People often of preserve memories through physical objects like stamps, photographs, artwork, stickers, or other collectibles. The stickers on ranger Hannah's water bottle commemorate the experiences that lead to her first Park Service job on the North Rim of Grand Canyon. Listen to her story in the latest episode of the Behind the Scenery podcast!

Favorite Layers of Grand Canyon


CEILI: So here we are, sitting at the bottom of Grand Canyon surrounded by Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite. And most people when they come to Grand Canyon National Park to visit, they immediately have questions about the geology. Today someone asked me: What's all that green rock? How would you answer that? KATE: Yeah so, that green rock is the Bright Angel Shale layer. Um...The depositional environment for the sediment, when it lays down, it has to be able to form glauconite. So glauconite is the reason that it's green, but what's interesting about that layer for a lot of people is that it's rich with fossils. And when you're hiking across it or moving across it, there's a lot of worm tracks and tunnels and you can find trilobite track fossils out there pretty regularly as well. And when you're actually on that layer and looking at it, there's often a lot of different colors that you can see because of that shallow sea depositional environment that was present. CEILI: What other questions do you get on the trail about geology? KATE: I get a lot of questions about how old things are like, how old is this rock that we're standing on? CEILI: When people ask me that I usually just tell them they're really old. And that some are older than others. Another nice answer is that the newest rocks are on the top and they are 270 million years old. And then the oldest rocks are at the very bottom and they are between 1.8 and 1.6 billion years old. So we've got a whole spectrum here. Kate, can we find any dinosaur fossils here? KATE: The layers here at Grand Canyon predate all of the dinosaurs. So on the very top layer we see some sharks and we found shark tooths and things like that, but a lot of the fossils that we find in Grand Canyon are, um, other marine life. So we have a lot of trilobite fossils. We have shell fossils. We have different plant fossils that we can find in the Canyon, like ferns. And then we also have fossilized tracks of different animals that actually predate what we currently think of reptiles. So Ceili are these the same rocks that We see at ZIon here in Grand Canyon? CEILI: Oh yeah, were you just at Zion National Park? KATE: long pause with an unconvincing “yeah” (both laugh) KATE: sorry, I can't even lie when it makes sense to lie. CEILI: Yeah, most people come, or a lot of people come from Zion to the North Rim. So often people are comparing their experience to their experience at Zion and it's an interesting question to answer because the rocks in Grand Canyon are completely different than the rocks that you see at Zion Canyon at Zion National Park. But the very bottom layer of the Zion Canyon rocks is the very top layer of Grand Canyon’s rocks so Zion is essentially stacked on top of Grand Canyon, and that's because they're all part of the Grand Staircase, kind of geologic formation. So you can even see the full staircase from some parts of the Kaibab Plateau. Yeah, it's hard to remember common questions that people ask about geology, 'cause we've worked in the Canyon for a couple of seasons. And when people are hiking in the Canyon the questions are usually about: Where's the next water station? How do I fix my blisters? How do I hike out of here with success and how might I survive the day? But the cool thing is, all those questions do relate to geology. The geology of Grand Canyon determines every part of a hiker's day down here. Sometimes at the end of a work day at Phantom Ranch some of the Rangers find themselves on the porch eating dinner and sometimes we talk for hours about our favorite rock layers in Grand Canyon. And there's a lot of funny stories and experiences and emotions that are attached to different rock layers in Grand Canyon for different people. (Music) KATE: Inspired by these porch talks, we decided to go around and ask our coworkers and friends what is their favorite geologic layer here at Grand Canyon and why? DOUG: My name is Ranger Doug. I'm a second-year summertime seasonal ranger at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. My job is to meet and greet the public, answer questions, hand out information. KATE: So my question for you is what is your favorite layer here at Grand Canyon? DOUG: Geologic layer? KATE: Geologic layer. DOUG: My favorite is the Coconino, because it's so distinctive. I can point it out to folks at our outdoor visitor centers, prominently seen there. Last night I was out at the veranda behind the North Rim Lodge watching the sunset and somebody asked where the village was and the Bright Angel Trail and you can actually see the offset of the Coconino where the Bright Angel Fault has uplifted the west side and that's kind of a landmark that I look for, for trying to find where the trail goes in and out of the Canyon as well as the, the village area just to the east of where the Coconino’s been off set. So that's my favorite layer. (Music) MATTHEW: My name is Matthew Baldwin. I work in the Backcountry Office out of the Flagstaff Office, and we issue river permits and Backcountry permits and patrol the backcountry. My favorite rock layer here at Grand Canyon is going to be the Coconino Sandstone because when you're hiking out from the bottom of the Canyon means you’re almost home and just those big beautiful white cliffs with the cross bedding and the sandstone. It’s absolutely beautiful. So I lost my hat one time during a blizzard as I was hiking out it got blown off a cliff and it was just gone. So if you’re ever near the South Kaibab Trail and you look over a cliff and happen to see a green hat, its mine, bring it back please. (Music) CEILI: How many miles of under the rim Grand Grand Canyon hiking have you done? Just so we know that like this is really the best and the worst layers. JEN: Overall, or at one time? CEILI: Yeah, just whatever number you have. JEN: It would be impossible to say how many, um, if I had to estimate, it's probably upwards of probably in the 20,000 range. Well, the Esplanade is an easy favorite for so many reasons. It just feels like a different planet really. (Background radio noise “Dispatch, Canyon 20”) You know, like it really I feel like paints an amazing picture of the people who lived here before us because it was a very common layer for them to live in. You know, much like the Tapeats, but yeah, the Esplanade’s got so much history and just so much beauty. And it's really like nothing else in the Canyon. Maybe somewhat comparable to parts of the Supai. You can get some sections of the Supai, particularly at its ends that are very, very similar, but uh, the Esplanade is just amazing to me. It just feels like walking on Mars like just a whole untouched planet. CEILI: And is it like also because it's easy to walk on like is that, is that part of it you think? JEN: Actually, it's really not easy at all. It's actually a lot of switch levels, switch leveling and upping and Downing. And you know one of the challenges of the Esplanade is that you know there's a ton of cryptobiotic soil and can be very difficult to avoid the crypto. Like very difficult, yeah. So it gets very tedious. Now if you don't care about cryptobiotic soil – yes it would be easy walking, but if you're you know, protecting the Canyon as we all do, it's a lot of sidestepping and rerouting and switch leveling and then like you might be going on a level and it gives out and now you have to like scramble up slickrock which can be challenges as well. (Music) MICHAEL: Yeah, my name is Michael Wichman. I'm a backcountry guide for the Wildland Trekking company. I've been doing so for going on 13 years now. Worked for a couple other companies as well, but Wildlands is my primary gig. I often say that this is a difficult place to have favorites in because every layers got their own story to tell with different chapters at each, uh different location that they appear in the Grand Canyon. Uhm, off the top of my head. I typically say the Redwall Limestone's my favorite layer for several reasons, one, it has the most karst like systems in it. The most caves. Limestone is very porous, and water tends to percolate through it and so we get beautiful cave structures. The condors tend to like to roost in those caves. Laying their eggs there with the fledging - fledglings, first flight coming off the huge Redwall Limestone. It can be 1000 feet thick at times in certain places. Also, most of the water features tend to, like the waterfalls and such, tend to occur at the bottom of the Redwall, when the water that seeps through tends to hit the impermeable shale, Bright Angel Shale below it. So I love the Redwall. My other thought as I was talking about this is the...If I get to pick 2. The Chuar formation over up in the Lava Chuar Canyon area, kind of by Unkar Delta further upriver than here. It gets really beautiful. Teals and turquoise like beautiful wavy U-shaped features in it. And it's a more unusual layer that you only see in that area. So I've only ever seen it on a couple few river trips and by foot only twice. Once my partner and I, we hiked from Nankoweap to Phantom off route and that was one of the highlights of that trip. The Redwall for its commonality, or how often you see it, and so every time that we're out here guiding or hiking personally. You're almost always going through the Redwall. And so it's fun to see the different ways that it takes shape and the different members of it. Seeing the coral bed fossils and whatnot inside it. So it's nice to see the Redwall as often as we see it. JESSE: My name is Jesse Barden. I am the North Rim interpretation seasonal supervisor and I've been at the Canyon for like 6 years now. But the ones, the ones that stand out to me the most are the Redwall and the Muav limestone layers. They're kind of stacked right on top of each other, and I think they're just like they, they do the coolest things. They have all the cool caves. They have all the cool slot canyons. The Muav has all the flowing water, not all of the flowing water, but most of the major springs comes out of the Muav. Yeah, they're both just so excellent. A memory of a route through the Redwall. It's called the Red Slide Route, and it's probably the first like really challenging off trail route that I've done in the Canyon and me and my friend Darrin, we're on a river trip, you know, and he and I decided to do this canyoneering route. Down in Western Grand Canyon. And so we climbed up the Red Slide Route to get to the canyon and the route description was only a few sentences. And it said, you know, look for these things. You'll find some hoodoos. It's a little bit scrambly. Made no mention of the 5th class climbing that we'd have to do on the way up, so we started our trip at about 6:00 in the morning. In the dark, it was January, so it was pretty dark for a while. And we made our way slowly up this really steep slope and it's all like crumbly rocks barely held together. Like kind of like Pebble sized it seemed like and so many, many of the points going up the first bit we were on all fours, like using our hands, using our feet. And then we get to the top of this big kind of debris cone, and we're just sort of looking around and looking at each other. Like trying to figure out where the route goes, 'cause we're really just hoping that we don't have to go up the 15 foot vertical cliff that's right in front of us and then Darrin spots a cairn at the top of that Cliff and we’re like ughh, guess we have to go up there. (laughter) And so, yeah, there ended up being three or four of those kinds of like short, fairly easy climbing, but like unprotected and fairly high consequence like cliff bands that we had to navigate with heavy packs and it was a tremendous relief when we finally got through that Redwall section into the Supai where the walking is pretty easy. (Music) JEFF: I'm Jeff Caton and I'm one of the lead interpreters on the North Rim. JESSE: You’re the lead interpreter on the North Rim. JEFF: I am the lead interpreter. Yes, the only one. My favorite geologic layer is the Bright Angel Shale for a couple silly reasons. One reason is I like the way it sounds when it crunches under my boots. A weird, a weird reason, but I like the way it sounds. Another reason is when it was the second time I came to the Grand Canyon backpacking trip that went not terribly wrong, but pretty wrong. I got sick. I ignored everything the Ranger said, like I went out of my way to just check off like and not do what the Ranger said not do. And I woke up and I was sick and this isn't good and I remember the sound of it under my boots. I stopped maybe at Salt Creek, so I stopped somewhere for the hot part of the day. And then about three or four, I started hiking again. There were a few clouds, and I promptly started throwing up so I remember that the sound of the Bright Angel under my boots. And kneeling on it to puke several times. (Music) ELYSSA: My name is Elyssa Shalla and I'm a Park Ranger here at Grand Canyon. My favorite geologic layer is by far the Tapeats Sandstone. I think it, just being able to look at and touch and see all of those sediments in that layer gives you the opportunity to really kind of transform yourself back in time and think about all the different ancient landscapes that the Canyon has been through throughout its lifespan. When I think of the Tapeats, I think of all of the years that I worked down at Indian Garden as a Ranger and all of the times we went down into the Tapeats Narrows. You know getting to talk with people, people that were just excited to be down there. Some people that were struggling to get through that section and up to the Indian Garden campground. I think it's, it's packed with beauty and suffering. (Music) KATE: Behind the Scenery is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park. We gratefully acknowledge the Native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

Never take this place for "granite" again! Geology impacts every part of the human experience of Grand Canyon. People as diverse as the colorful cliffs have discovered secrets in stone. Come listen to their discoveries within layers of Grand Canyon. Are you open to being rocked by the canyon?

It's All About the Bike


(Ok Lett’er Rip) Hi, I’m Ranger Dave and this is Behind the Scenery. Many visitors have asked me about my bicycle. I ride it on the trails and roads to get around the park. It’s green, which is a bit of an understatement. It has a dark green frame, neon green wheels and tape. A custom made green seat cover that is also green. I usually wear a green backpack and matching helmet. For a bell I have a squeaky turtle, which is also green. My paneer bags are gray since there was no green option. For me it shows some character as a fashion statement.

But that’s not why I ride it. It’s a special bike to me. Let me explain how I got it.

My friend Miles gave it to me. Miles is actually my student, I taught him how to ski bike, after he no longer could ski. Miles has ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, but this doesn’t stop him. He still is an avid cyclist, downhill skier, and an outdoorsman. He lives right outside of San Francisco, so naturally when we visited he took us for a ride through Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Miles used a recumbent trike, so he offered me his old bike. After Miles showed us around we visited Muir Woods. Miles loves the National Parks and has visited quite a few. Some time later I was looking for a road bike and thought of Miles and asked him if I could buy his. He shipped it all the way to the National Seashore that I was working for. He even sent me a green jersey to represent him when I ride, so I can help raise awareness for ALS. It’s a great conversation starter and a grand way to honor my friend. So when visitors see me ride by in all green in uniform. They see a ranger on a bike, they may miss the story about the bike itself.

[Ranger Dave] Hi, I’m Ranger Dave and with me is Ranger Phil Arrington. [Ranger Phil] What’s up Dave? [Ranger Dave] So Phil tell me a little about what your role is in the park [Ranger Phil] Thanks for asking Dave I like to tell people that I’m an Office Ranger. I spend most of my time doing administrative work, my primary responsibilities involve managing concession contracts that the National Park Service has with the hospitality providers and making sure we’re preserving the cultural resources that are assigned to the concessions. So that’s part of my job and then another park is working with the concessioner to provide the best possible experience for visitors. [Ranger Dave] Phil will you tell us a little bit of how you cycle in the park? [Ranger Phil] Yeah, absolutely Dave. So, I ride around on a cargo Ebike and when I got my job it used to have a car so I decided to trade my car for an Ebike. I have about a four-mile range that I need to travel in. Not necessarily every day. So, the Ebike is just a really fun way to be able to do my job, get some exercise and be a little greener on the earth. [Ranger Dave] Ok, and cost wise are you spending a lot more money on this Ebike or is this more Economical? [Ranger Phil] Well I have to admit Dave that I got it mainly because I am a two wheel guy, and I would rather be on two wheels any day that four. That being said it is a lot more economical instead of having a car payment, filling up with gas, shuttling the vehicle back and fourth from the south rim to the north rim during the winter. My department spent about $1800 I got an Ebike I plug it in once a week, and I can ride around as much as I want. [Ranger Dave] Can you describe for the viewers at home what your bike looks like, because I think it is pretty distinctive? [Ranger Phil] So it’s a cargo bike and the reason I got a cargo bike is I could have a place to store my ranger hat, we call it a flat hat. So that when I got down to the Grand Canyon Lodge, I can take off my bike helmet put on my flat hat and be in full ranger dress so to speak. My bike is long, its big, its got two pinners in the back and the most distinctive part is its bright orange. So whenever I am rolling up. People always know that its me and its really fun because I think a lot of people like to see a ranger on a bicycle and its kind of a little bit different kind of bike that not a lot of people have seen before and so it starts a lot of conversations and creates a lot of interpretive moments so to speak. [Ranger Dave] Phil, you are starting up an employee biking program here on North Rim, why are you interested in improving the existing biking infrastructure here on North Rim? [Ranger Phil] Thanks for asking that question Dave. First of all I think the North Rim is just a really cool place to ride a bike. Living in this community we’ve got the Bridle path, it’s a dirt trail. We are pretty close to everything we need, we have got a little general store, all of the buildings that we work in and all the stations that we work in are close together. I think to answer your question that’s part of it, just how the community and how the infrastructure of this place is designed and how close everything is. I think the other part of it. Is that there’s a maybe certain type of ranger or a certain type of person that comes and works over at the North Rim. Whether you work for the park service or one of the concessioners or something like that. A lot of us are active and we like to bicycle anyways, and I have seen that a lot of us chose to bicycle around whether its to and from work or on their free time or whatever so I saw a need, and I saw some demand. First of all, what the infrastructure involves is just really some simple stuff, like getting some bike racks around getting a place where people can park their bikes, lock their bikes, feel comfortable biking to work, biking for fun, biking for recreation. So we are getting five or six bike racks around the administrative area of north rim and some of this is even going to help some of the visitors like we are getting some down by the visitor center, by the general store, there is definitely a need down there. People are just locking up their bikes next to trees. So I think that’s part of it. Just creating the infrastructure to facilitate people to bike more, if that’s what they want to do. We also bought some tools, and cleaned up an old building. Where folks can use those tools and that infrastructure to repair government bikes, government bicycle equipment and incidentally their own bikes if they need to do that to keep them safe. [Ranger Dave] What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced with this project? [Ranger Phil] In some ways the challenges aren’t dissimilar to a lot of challenges I face with other projects that I’m working on in the park. You gotta kinda have a vision and you have got to be able to explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and to be effectively sell to a certain degree and then you just stay with it. I think with this project it was just having a good understanding of why, seeing if there as a need and effectively communicating that with other people in the park. Especially those holding the keys to the bank, to the purse strings. Showing that there is value in making this investment and that it will be used. And then just stayed with it and we finally got it, and its really cool to see the excitement level for it and I think the appreciation that employees have for that. And to see that investment in them I think is a morale booster. [Ranger Phil] I have a personal bike a 1954 Schwinn. I’m kind of proud of it. I have it restored, and I ride that back and forth to work, and kind of around to run errands. [Ranger Dave] Do you find that you are using more of the bridal path or are you using more of the road? [Ranger Phil] It depends on how quick I need to get somewhere. If I’m running late for a meeting, I will just use the road. The nice thing about the Ebike is that I can keep a constant 20mph and keep up with traffic a little bit better. The preferred route would be to go on the bridal trail. Its jus nice to ride on. I can get out of the office for five or ten minutes and just have this national park experience where I am just riding down a trail. There’s birds chirping. The winds blowing in my face. If the flowers are blooming, we have a lot of Lupin around here I can smell the fresh scent of the flowers as I’m going to down the trail I can smell the pine trees, and so it’s nice sometimes to just be able to get into that national park moment in the middle of a work day. And that’s why we are here. The bike is a medium or acts as a means for me to be able to do that. Instead of just driving. If I were just driving from place to place, I would just miss it all. [Ranger Dave] So we’re here with Skye and ... [Joey] Joey [Ranger Dave] We are going to talk a little bit about cycling in the park. Skye do you want to just start and tell us a little bit about what you do in the park. What you do here, and how you spend your time? [Ranger Skye] Sure. I have worked up here for 3 years I am a wildlife Biotech. So, I do work with bison as well as Avifauna, I survey for Mexican spotted owls and help out with any resources trips that are planned for the North Rim. Therese only 4 resources staff up here so I help with vegetation work and occasionally hydrology or paleontology too. [Ranger Dave] Awesome, so spending most of your time outside, in the field? [Ranger Skye] Yeah most of my time in the field. [Joey] Well I’m Skye’s boyfriend and I just get to come up here and ride my bike on the weekends. [Ranger Dave] And what do you do professionally? [Joey] I’m the service manager for Absolute Bikes in Sedona, Arizona. Dealing with bike repairs, bike service, bike rentals. Everything to do with bikes. You wouldn’t think I would want to do it on my weekends, but… [Ranger Dave] Talk to me a little about your time and your experiences of riding inside the park. [Ranger Skye] Well the North Rim has some great riding. I think as far as national parks are concerned, there’s actually quite a bit of mountain biking up here. And when I think of riding up here there’s three options that I usually consider for rides. One of them is the Point Sublime Road. And it’s somewhere in between gravel riding and mountain biking. It’s pretty rough rugged road. The second option is the Arizona Trail, and that’s the only trail that’s available for biking in the park, just because of most of the area on the rim being proposed wilderness. Which doesn’t allow motorized or mechanized, which makes most trails off limits to biking, but the Arizona Trail you can bike on it and there’s 11 miles of Arizona Tail in the Park. And the third option is not in the park, it’s in the Kaibab National Forest, which is directly north of the North Rim. That’s 28 miles of single track along the rim. [Joey] Yeah the road riding here is pretty spectacular as well and the traffic’s not terrible. Usually people are driving at a pretty safe speed, so it’s not like you are getting blown off the road or anything. And the riding just helps you experience the park so much better because you are taking it all in, smelling the smells, you’re seeing the sights and you can stop wherever you want and check out wildlife or the plant life as well. [Ranger Dave] What would you say like remote types of rides that you have done, what does that kind of look like? [Ranger Skye] You know the park doesn’t have a whole lot as far as dirt roads, there’s one main road, Point Sublime Road that goes west for 18 miles and there’s another road that intersect with it, the Kanabonits Road. But if you go north on that, then the national forest, the Kaibab National Forest, has so many dirt roads there. It has been highly developed for deer hunting and bison hunting. They need easy access and there are so many options once you get out there. So, I think some really fun routes are linking roads in the Kaibab National Forest with roads within the park. And that’s something I have done, 35, 40 mile loops in a day going up into the forest service and out west on some of the dirt roads and back around into the park. You’ll notice when you are out there that the forest service roads are really well maintained and you get to the park and the roads are really chunky there’s loose rocks and you are pretty much going faster than all of the traffic you will encounter out there, you’ll see high clearance vehicles, you’ll see jeeps and trucks, and sometimes it’s just a matter of getting round people there’s not a whole lot of traffic though, when you see cars you’re likely traveling faster than them. [Joey] The other option is the AZT headed north you can take the AZT right out of the park and you are along the East Rim, and so you see into House Rock Valley, you can see into Marble Canyon, and its just a beautiful section of the AZT. That a lot of through riders just go fast through that area, but Skye and I have ridden it a bunch of times. You can stop at all kinds of other view points. You rarely see other mountain bikers you rarely see hikers unless they are through hikers. The AZT headed north you can get all the way up to Utah if you want to. It gets pretty hot up on the north end of it but, kinda in the aspens the whole way, headed north and then turn around and come back down, or you can take some service roads to come back to the North Rim itself. [Ranger Dave] Kinda develop your own loop so to speak, take the Arizona Trail and then take a different road back? [Joey] For sure. [Ranger Skye] Exactly. [Joey] The Arizona Tail is awesome. Its very smooth fun single track, there’s not too many chunky sections of it, its just like flowy through the aspens. You’re kinda going through forested areas, then you pop out in the meadows. It’s a really cool experience to not see anyone and you are in this huge meadow by yourself. The single track is really fun, just ripping through those meadows. [Ranger Dave] Do you feel like just a few people use it a day, or do you really have it to yourself? [Joey] I think it depends on the season. If it’s the middle of through hiking season, a lot of times in the spring, they are trying to complete the Arizona Trail while its still cool in the lower elevations, but up here if you ride in July, August, you’re still at pretty high elevations so its not too hot of temperatures. And there’s not many through hikers. We might have seen one or two other users on the AZT headed north from the park. There’s fire lookouts and just awesome forests, we are always finding fossils too, like, fossils in the Kaibab, and a pretty fun trail I would highly recommend it to anyone. [Ranger Dave] It’s a really cool feature and I feel like when I tell people, have you tried the Arizona Trail, people are not interested, so often. Its refreshing to actually have people want to use that trail. And its somewhere where our parks staff is sending people all the time and they don’t want to hear about it so… [Ranger Skye] If you have a bike its excellent, and even if you are on foot, there’s wild raspberries growing along the side of the trail. The aspens are just gorgeous. [Joey] I think everyone is looking for that view of the canyon off the rim, like no one wants to hike away from the canyon but they don’t realize that the AZT eventually just gets you back to the rim, the further you go, just outside the park, you are back on the East Rim, looking down into the House Rock Valley and the Vermillion Cliffs and it’s just gorgeous. [Ranger Dave] Tell me a little bit about some different factors to consider when you are heading into the backcountry or biking into the backcountry. [Joey] Here on the North Rim, bring water. If you don’t want a grumpy girlfriend, bring lots of water. If you can pack it on your bike, pack as many bottles or bladders as you possibly can just because there is very, very scarce opportunity for water. Sometimes we will bring a water filter just in case we find a spring or something or you run out of water, you just never know what you are going to encounter. It does get hot, sometimes you are exposed when you are in those meadows, its just really nice to have extra water. You can always bring water home, but you can’t get extra water when you are out there. [Ranger Dave] Right, so even for day trips, you are doing that? [Joey] Oh yeah! For sure. [Ranger Skye] Even for day trips. [Joey] We will fill a bunch of bladders and bottles. [Ranger Skye] Especially on the park roads, there’s days where you might not encounter any vehicles out there too so its good to just be entirely self-supported with all the supplies you need to fix a flat, and extra water, like a couple of liters extra in case you encounter trouble out there. [Joey] And definitely bike repair tools. Like bring two tubes, don’t just bring one extra tube, like bring a multi tool, read up on what you can bring to fix your bike. Flat tires are the biggest thing. Just have a knowledge of your bike and a knowledge of like oh if my chain falls off, I can get it back on. Don’t go into the back country without any knowledge of that and just expect your bike to work great. Because working at the shop you just see so many people come in with small problems that could have been fixed out there on the trail, but they just had no idea how to do it. If you’re out at Point Sublime good luck getting back, like, you don’t have the best service and if you don’t have the right tools that going to be a tough ride home, or walk home. [Ranger Dave] Do you feel like you need more knowledge than the average cyclist to do some of these rides, just because you are more independent? Maybe getting help is a lot harder if you do need help? [Ranger Skye] Yeah, I would say so. You’re just pretty far from resources out here. I think the nearest public bike shop is probably St. George, which is 3 hours away. Maybe Flagstaff is the closest. [Joey] Yeah, and to just have backcountry knowledge, not just bike knowledge, but have like an all around knowledge of what’s going on. Maybe bring a space blanket because if you’re out there a first aid kit is something I usually try to bring with us, and some emergency supplies because, what if you crash? What if you break a wheel? What if you have to wait for help and its in the afternoon, and help might be a long ways away. Or your partner has to ride in to get help. You don’t know how long you could potentially be out there. [Ranger Dave] So probably lights too and things like that? [Skye and Joey] Lights. [Ranger Skye] Paper map. [Joey] Snacks. [Ranger Dave] Paper maps are something that I don’t think most people are using when they cycle. So that’s a good one to point out. [Ranger Skye] Its nice to have if you’re not familiar with the area. I think the roads are pretty well marked. In the Kiabab, but there are so many junctions. I use the mapping app Gia, and it’s really useful for planning routes, and I love using that but if that were to fail and I didn’t know where I was out there, those road are really a labyrinth to get back. [Joey] Yeah the forest around here, you just cant see for a very far distance at all. I couldn’t imagine being lost or being off the road somehow. Even being on the road if you had no map and no phone it would be really hard to find your way out. Its really disorienting once you get really deep in the trees. [Ranger Dave] For people who are just starting out, is there any other advice you would give to someone just starting to dip their toes into getting into the back country on a bike here? [Joey] Ask question, ask other people. Everyone has their own experiences, and their own views on their way to do things. They might know a little more than you, they might just have a different way of thinking about it, but that’s always something to consider. Just as questions, just ask a ranger. Ask someone else riding their bike. [Ranger Dave] Is there any kind of community you guys use? Because I know a lot of areas will use a community like at a bike shop or somewhere else, but there really aren’t any shops here. Is there an online forum or anything that you guys are using to get information about rides? [Ranger Skye] I think the best option is the backcountry office. Our staff at the backcountry office know so much about navigating this area and what’s open to bikes, what’s available, I think they would be able to point people in a good direction. [Ranger Dave] That’s a great point, they could even do a backpacking trip via bike. I know we have Hiker/Biker spots up here, so if someone is through biking or through hiking they can just roll up, get a spot for the night, they are first come first serve. But there is a number of them set aside, and you can’t even park a vehicle there so its just for hiker/biker. [Joey] Bikepacking.com as well I think there’s a couple routes in the North Rim area not necessarily in the park, but bikepacking.com they have a gear list, and they have specific routes you can do, and you can kind of add on or not add on, but they have very detailed descriptions of different routes, and stuff to bring with you when you are bikepacking. [Ranger Skye] Yeah we have been thinking of putting up a route on bikepacking.com that incorporates all of the best stuff out her. Maybe going out on the Point Sublime road, through the park, and then outside the park on the Rainbow Rim, coming back in the park along the East Rim and the Arizona Trail. We figured out a loop that would be about 80 miles. It could be a good overnight, the limiting factor is water, so it might require somebody to put out a water cache, but it’s a nice way to see a lot of these areas, especially if you don’t have a high clearance vehicle, because right now neither of us own a vehicle that would make it down the Point Sublime Road, but to be able to get out there and see it on bike is a pretty amazing way to go. [Joey] When you’re riding your bike and a bison comes running out of the woods and then runs down the road in front of you, you actually feel the power of that animal, it’s happened to us a couple of times. It’s just pretty cool to stop on your bike and see this massive 2,000 pound animal go running down the road. It really puts it into perspective. [Ranger Dave] You really are out there with the nature and it is a different thing than if you just did it in your car. [Joey] Yup. [Ranger Skye] Definitely you notice little things, there’s a spot of Point Sublime trail where there’s Columbines blooming off the side of the road. You might not notice when you are bouncing around in a Jeep and its dusty out there. On the bike you are just so much closer to everything, yeah you just notice so much more. [Joey] Good conversation... [Ranger Skye] Good conversations… [Joey] It’s a good way to clear the mind… [Ranger Dave] So, tell me about your bikes that you use. Kind of describe your setup. [Joey] I have a bunch of bikes, and I have used pretty much all of them up here. I have gravel bike that I ride on the trails around the North Rim, and a lot of the road riding that we do. I also have a $5,000 full suspension mountain bike that I will take on the AZT and just go fast and have fun, but the bike I like the most is the one I paid $200 for. Kind of custom built it myself and just built all of wheels and components on in over the years, and that’s the bike I ride more than any of them, and I have the most fun on, but Skye has a great saying… [Ranger Skye] So we call our rigid mountain bikes, they don’t have any suspension on these bikes our fun bikes. Yeah and they are good for dirt roads, they are good for gravel, they are good for trail. We watched this documentary on Youtube, a while back and its something we pulled from there, its ride what you brung. That’s kind of a good expression I think that can be applied to North Rim biking. [Joey] Yeah you don’t need a fancy bike, you don’t need the newest highest quality bike. There is literally something here to ride any type of bike on, and that’s probably the best part about it. [Ranger Dave] So anything else that you want to add? [Joey] Quit driving your car. Ride a bike. [Ranger Dave] Behind The Scenery is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park. We gratefully acknowledge the native peoples on who’s ancestral homelands we gather as well as diverse and vibrant native communities who make their home here today.

What is your favorite way to experience a place? For ranger Dave, it's all about the bike. In this edition of Behind the Scenery, join Dave as he explores what makes cycling at Grand Canyon such a unique experience and interviews experts about the best (and safest) ways to enjoy the park by bike.

Butterfly Effect: citizens count!


Kid: Wait what is the net? Robb: This is for catching butterflies and then we are using cameras to take pictures of butterflies. Once a day each year I lead a butterfly count here at the Grand Canyon and we are actually looking at the butterflies that are here in 2021 and we are going to compare to the butterflies that were around in 1950 and 1940 and 1930. You remember 1930? Kid: Yes Robb: Isn’t that great there were butterflies all over the place. We are going to compare. Sometimes in science it is really fun to be able to have comparison. Butterflies, like a lot of animals and plants, we can actually see if changes are happening. We think that the climate is warming really quick, that’s been the trend. Even rain, precipitation, and snow is changing. And then plants will change and then even butterflies will change. Some butterflies will be new. There’s these ones I saw last year and they’re from Mexico. We’re not in Mexico, that’s way over there! So there might be some Mexico butterflies coming across to the US and up into Canada eventually. Emily: Hi, I’m Emily, a park ranger at Grand Canyon. You were just listening to Park Guide Robb Hannawacker, talking to a visitor on the North Kaibab trail. This is Behind the Scenery, a podcast that gives you a glimpse into the park’s goings on. I’ve pieced together a few interviews with staff here at Grand Canyon, discussing the topic of butterflies and why they’re an important part of the ecosystem here in the park. Allie/Kiersten: This is Allie Moskal and Kiersten Kolstad. We are Interpretive park rangers here at Desert View on the South Rim, we’re seasonal rangers. Emily: I asked Kiersten why the park holds a butterfly count. Listen in as she and Robb discuss the importance of butterflies as indicators of climate change. Why do we count butterflies? Kiersten: Butterflies are like a really great indicator on climate and the environment and habitat, butterflies are gonna be greatly impacted by habitat loss whether it’s by direct human activity or indirect like climate change. Also migration of butterflies can help us learn a lot about climate change, why patterns are moving, why is data different from 20, 30, 40 years ago, it can help us clue in on the health of our environment. So I didn’t realize butterflies did play such a crucial role in identifying larger environmental issues. Robb: Kind of exciting, but also a little bit scary honestly. I know that our civilization has done pretty well with a stable climate. Hopefully we’ll try to make it stay stable in the future. That’ll be best for us and probably best for all the other living things too. Emily: I followed up with Robb to understand how the warming trends affect insects. Robb: Generally speaking climate change is bad for biodiversity but since insects the trend, they tend to favor warmer temperatures than colder, some of them might actually expand in range including really amazing butterflies that are currently in Mexico but now being seen in what’s now the United States a lot more. Emily: So now that we’ve learned why it’s important to study butterflies, let’s get practical. How do you actually count butterflies? Robb gave us some practical advice during the count. Robb: Well, the trick is, is you want it to go into the net. Kiersten: Oh, oh Allie try that. (laughing) Robb: I’m so good at advice. (laughing) It’s not going to go in there by itself. Or it could you never know? Allie: I got it! Robb: Yay! Then lift up and it’ll fly toward the top hopefully. Kiersten: Fly to the top! Robb: Is it doing it? You’re getting it. Let’s have a look Emily: We caught and identified a variety of butterflies but there is one special butterfly sought after here on the North Rim. Allie is eager to find one. Allie: So do you guys ever see the Kaibab Swallowtail? Robb: Yeah. Allie: Is it pretty rare to see? Robb: It’s always a treat. Allie: Always a treat. I would love to see them, that would make my day. Robb: I’d love you guys to see it too. Emily: What is this special butterfly Allie is hoping to see? Let’s listen to Robb discuss the Kaibab Swallowtail with some visitors on the trail. Robb: It’s a special butterfly, it’s really sought after by collectors and a lot of them feel upset because it’s hard for them to get permit to collect in the park. We actually have a really interesting story about poachers. Actually it was here and other parts of the world, you’re not allowed to collect at all in national parks. I have actually permit to bring them back to the insect collection. Visitor: Yeah, it’s for science. Robb: Exactly. But for myself, if I was just bringing these home for myself to look at, put in a box and stockpile. To me, that’s kind of weird. Visitor: It’s super selfish! Like collecting arrowheads on the trail, ‘no this belongs to me now,’ no provenance, no nothing. Robb: And one step beyond there that is really scary, and it’s addictive I think is, I could sell these. Back in the 80s they were selling them for $300 for a male and female pair, but today it’s probably much higher. So our rangers need to keep an eye out for poachers. Emily: Wait, tell me more about these poachers… Robb: So what they did instead of falling off into the cliff like I nearly did, they would walk down the well maintained, albeit a lot of mule urine, North Kaibab trail and they would find these little side canyons that had the host plant that these butterflies really, really like. There’s like an oil inside of that plant and they just have to have it as a nutrient otherwise they won’t survive. They will go ahead and just walk off trail and grab as many of these caterpillars. But the caterpillar it’s got the most ridiculous, I mean it’s like a clown. It is black and pink striped horizontal with orange polka dots, so it’s like some sort of cool sock you’d wear from the 1960s, that’s what this crazy thing looks like. So they’re easy to spot and they’re just grabbing these things and then basically raising them at their houses until they became butterflies. They were catching some butterflies with nets, and they were like these little collapsible nets that they had that Bioquip sells. I think they called it the ‘park service special,’ just something you could hide really well and if a ranger was to pass by you could say ‘oh I’m just checking out these plants here, I’m a botanist’ or ‘I’m looking for birds, see I’ve got binoculars’ and you could hide your net really easy. But in the case of the Kaibab Swallowtail, they didn’t really have to net anything. In fact if you net it, that butterfly already had a life, it’s probably reproduced, it’s been flying around for a while and it will show on the wings, all these imperfections. For me, collecting for science, I don’t care if it’s got imperfections as long as it’s identifiable. I think it’s beautiful whether it’s fresh from pupa or not. These guys they’re selling them on the black market so they’re looking for pristine and they’re selling them since gendered sepsis of the two, the male and female look a little different, they would sell them in pairs so male and female pair. Back in the late 80s they were getting $300 each pair. So those caterpillars they raise them in their houses and as soon as they emerge from their pupae they are dead day one as an adult they never had a chance to get out there and do their adult thing, which by and large is to reproduce, so kinda sad but they didn’t want the imperfections that nature brings to their butterflies. So that’s how they made quite a lot of money and I’m not sure if the punishment was enough. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s ongoing or not but it’s the one and only case I know of. Besides they were actually poaching other butterflies around the world but in North America mostly national parks and fish and wildlife areas and eventually they got caught. Emily: Wow what a story. Turns out though this coveted butterfly isn’t even an endemic subspecies after all. We have new scientific research Robb will explain. Robb: The Kaibab swallowtail is not a subspecies it is not a separate segregate. It is a darker population of an extant, Minori subspecies of the Indra Swallowtail, so that’s really recent, it hasn’t been published yet. As it turns out to disappoint poor Baird, who, he’s the author, he’s the one that determined ‘hey this is a new species, or a new subspecies’ looks like he’s wrong, but I think it’s understandable. The phenology, that’s kinda how a gene is expressed, you can see it usually in what a butterfly or organism looks like. Emily: That was a lot of science talk. But let’s be honest most of us don’t have degrees in life sciences. That doesn’t mean we can’t participate in events like the butterfly count. Allie and Kiersten will elaborate. You all were citizen scientists for the North Rim butterfly count. Can you kind of define what that means to be a citizen scientist? Allie: Yeah a citizen scientist is a volunteer that participates in various projects that help the park service and every year the national park service puts on a butterfly count every July to keep track of the species that are living in the area. Kiersten: Also I feel like there are a lot of things that you can do to help park efforts without needing like an in-depth science background. And so being a citizen scientist anyone can learn how to identify and count butterflies. There are lots of things in the park that you can volunteer with that you don’t necessarily need an in-depth science background for, maybe with a little training and then you can help with a larger effort. That’s kind of crucial for being a citizen scientist. Allie: able to collect some specimens, so just learning to identify species, learning their habitat, their host plant, how to collect the species. We definitely learned a lot from Robb. Emily: Would you recommend the citizen science project to friends and coworkers? Kiersten: Oh yeah it was a lot of fun, again, it helps you find a new way to appreciate your environment. I feel like a lot of people go on a hikes and are like ‘oh it’s so beautiful out here’ but there are so many small intricacies in nature and just having that training to be able to look and identify new things and understand what role they play in the environment, it just adds a new sense of appreciation for nature. So I absolutely would recommend it to anybody. Allie: Kiersten and I were both really excited to come up to the North Rim. This was Kiersten’s first time to the North Rim, this was my second. So to be able to explore another part of the park that we work at was really exciting. Emily: So do you have any advice for people that are listening from outside the Grand Canyon that maybe they could do to help support the pollinator population in their home communities? Kiersten: Also because butterfly count did go to the North American Butterfly Association I did start looking on their website and it looks like they do have some efforts where you can start arrange your own community butterfly count. You can get resources there for what butterflies are in your area. That would be a great place to start to get some resources on how to help support these populations. Like Allie was saying, if you have the ability to plant anything that any native pollinator likes, it’s always a good idea, a lot of our pollinators are threatened. Emily: Yeah, we’ll definitely post links to some of those websites where people can find out about their regional native plants that would support pollinators and help them with some basic how to plant gardens in their home communities. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, do you have any final message for the listeners? Kiersten: It’s really cool to get out there and to learn a new skill and spend your day out in nature. That sounds so silly and maybe cliché but I think everybody should go find something local in their area. It doesn’t have to be a national park, it could be a local park, get out and volunteer. You really learn a new way to appreciate your environment and want to work for protecting and preserving that environment. So I hope everyone does find something they can get behind in their home town. Allie: It’s definitely easy to find somewhere to volunteer. Pretty much every national park has some type of citizen scientist project going on. I did one back at Indiana Dunes National Park for collection of sap and making maple syrup. There’s always something going on, might not be a national park, but for sure state parks are always looking for people to clean up trash. I see that all the time, so looking for volunteers to do that even. Just committing to your community to help make it a better place. Kiersten and I had a really great time at the North Rim doing the butterfly count, really happy we were able to come out and join you. Emily: Allie and Kiersten left the butterfly count with some new knowledge, but also new friends and new perspective. I will end this podcast with some final thoughts from Robb on that same note. Robb: You know, the ultimate goal is not to inventory butterflies as much as it is to encourage people that have an interest I nature to observe and often times as we are humans we learn from each other, we pick up on each other’s passions. So I think that’s really the ultimate goal of butterfly counts, is to get people that have similar interests together and to kind of enrich that social psychology of nature observation. I think it’s something that we’ve always had, ever since we’ve been people we’ve always been nature observers. I think there’s something very therapeutic and enriching in butterfly watching, bird watching. The same thing goes I think for people who hunt and fish. Might not be everybody’s bag but I still think it’s important to our psychology to recognize that we are a biophilic species. We are not something that is separate from nature. We need it. We need it for inspiration and learning and to learn more about ourselves. It’s just something a little bit innate in nature observation and appreciating all the variety and beauty not just the extreme geology of the Grand Canyon but all the little tiny things too can actually be pretty fabulous if you spend the energy to look into it.

Blurb for website: Have you ever thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to be a park ranger?” Well, it turns out you can be, for a day at least! Join us for a conversation about how to participate in the scientific research operations of a National Park as a Citizen Scientist. You can make a difference and probably have some fun too!

Grand canyon is a colorful place, but the creatures who live hear are just as dazzling Listen in to learn more about some of Grand Canyonb's most colorful characters and how they contribute to the community of life in the canyon and your backyard at home.

Theodore Roosevelt: A Complicated Legacy


Show notes: Over the summer of 2021, a temporary exhibit was placed up at Roosevelt Point on the North Rim. Three times during the season, the prompts were changed, and this podcast is a digitization of the visitor responses that were shared in a journal asking questions related to Theodore Roosevelt.

LAUREN CISNEROS (HOST) My name is Ranger Lauren. Over the last two months I created a temporary exhibit at Roosevelt Point on the North Rim. I simply wanted to create a unique visitor experience at a beautiful viewpoint with the name of a very famous President. What I didn't know were the complexities that Teddy Roosevelt contained. This is Behind The Scenery. After a lot of research, I decided to create something that visitors could see all sides of Roosevelt in a short and concise manner. At Roosevelt Point, there is a very clear view of the Bright Angel Fault and you can clearly see the vivid colors and the various layers of rock in the Grand Canyon.

At first, I had very plain print outs of quotes said by TR and a photo of him with a different prompt. These laminated pieces of paper were stapled to an old and bare informational display board.

These quotes were ripped down by visitors three times. I had to re-print and re-evaluate why this was happening. After talking with co-workers, we came up with the idea to make it look more professional by branding it and creating an all in one poster using inDesign. This idea worked, and the only person who has ripped it down since is me!

I was drawn to create some kind of programming here because at the same time in developing this, I was researching a ton on wilderness and Teddy Roosevelt’s involvement. I saw this as an opportunity to bring this viewpoint back to life with some interp.

After a few evolutions I found a NPS brown display case and put my prompts and quotes designed together in one document in a visually appealing way.

There was nothing fancy about it. I found an old waterproof box laying around and found some NPS staff issued journals for visitors to write in. I found a brick and placed it on top of the box, so it didn’t blow away! Honestly, I never anticipated for this to last all season long.

When I started working at the North Rim, my understanding of TR was that he was the father of the conservation movement. I really didn’t know about his involvement with the eugenics movement or his views on race. In the winter months I teach adaptive skiing at Beaver Creek in Colorado so hearing about his views on eugenics was pretty upsetting.

The first quote read, “The light has gone out of my life” the day that he lost his mother and wife on the same day. Teddy Roosevelt was inspired by the Grand Canyon and went into nature often with conservationist John Muir to grieve.

The second quote posted was, “The only man who doesn’t make mistakes is the man who doesn’t do anything.” Roosevelt protected wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service (USFS) and establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments by enabling the 1906 American Antiquities Act. TR protected over 230 million acres of public land.

The third quote read, “I don’t go as far to think that all good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

TR was a leader in the eugenics movement (“a belief that the genetic quality of the human race can be improved by the use of selective breeding”), and a believer in the white, European decent being superior to other ethnicities. The quote above is an example of that. However, without TR – the National Park Service might have never been created.

With all these quotes, I wanted the visitor to really feel empowered to write about their opinion of TR. I had three prompts I changed out throughout the summer.

The first one was: What would you most like to discuss with Teddy Roosevelt here, now? What would you say? I was genuinely interested in what others knew and understood about Teddy Roosevelt.

OHLSON: June 23rd, 2021 While I am glad you fought to protect our world; I wish you endeavored to protect the people to whom it belonged. You have preserved the rugged beauty for many white generations.

A complicated man.

CISNEROS: June 26th, 2021 “Teddy, Without the death of your loved ones, would you have NOT saved our precious lands? Would you have continued to hunt until the last animals were poached? Would you still be the typical human; death and destruction of our planet?”

KENT: June 28th, 2021 Manifest destiny was a white settler practice of colonialism that justified the oppression of our indigenous peoples.

What is the name of this land? Names spoken and carried by the wind over this canyon for thousands of years.

White names for ancient places erases our history.

We are not in the past.

CISNEROS: June 29th, 2021 the light has gone out of my life too, Teddy… when I lost my children to drugs.

A grieving mother with a broken heart.

CISNEROS: June 29th, 2021 Though history is complicated by the many interpretations, biases and perspectives of those involved and those observing, we are thankful for the good intentions that helped to protect places like this from the worst impulses of humanity.

More gratitude is owed to the first Natives who demonstrated what it means to live in harmony with nature. Always remember that humans are a part of nature, not part from it.

CISNEROS: Based on the multitudes that TR contained, would you change the name of this viewpoint? Why or why not? With all that is going on in the world today – I wanted to know what others thought if we should or should not re-name this viewpoint. TR was complicated – should we honor him? Or should we not?

HANSEN: July 3rd, 2021 Dearest Teddy, so glad your wisdom preserved this beautiful sight. If a man or woman spent a lifetime making nothing but mistakes, you had the vision, wisdom and drive to preserve this great canyon that in itself is worthy of having your name attached to it.

CISNEROS: July 5th, 2021 Keep Teddy’s name at this beautiful spot to commemorate all he did to preserve this American Landscape. A man cannot and should not be boiled down to a singular act – good or bad but can be recognized for both. In this respect, Teddy Roosevelt can certainly be celebrated for this contribution.

I am sorry though that we treated the indigenous people with hate.

CISNEROS: Mr. President, you were a man of your time! It is impossible for me to judge you by our current standards as I would hope I would not be judged by people 100-150 years from now.

The good you accomplished by establishing the National Park System is greatly appreciated by thousands today. For this and other good measures you performed, we are grateful. For the tragedies you endured, we share your sorrow.

CATON: July 8th, 2021 “Hey Teddy, you inspired me as a child to become the Geology Professor that I am today. You were a great man, but also a racist man. I can’t look past that fact, but you still are the man that helped pushed me to what I am today. Thank you & shame on you.”

BARDEN: July 12th, 2021 “Dear TR, thank you for your wonderful efforts to preserve such beautiful lands. However, I must disagree with your opinion about European decent being superior. If you were alive today, you would see how wonderful diversity is in America. Surely a man with your intelligence and passion for nature would agree.”

CISNEROS: “Mr. President, I have read about you extensively in my younger years and became a great admirer of yours. Your accomplishments are many and the creation of this National Park and the National Park System that followed was but one of them. I do remember, despite my admiration, being shocked and saddened when I read about your feelings and attitudes towards Native Americans. But I also know that you had travelled the west and spoke to many settlers there who described what they saw as atrocities committed by Native Americans, who were only trying to protect themselves from their lands.

Knowing what I do of your character, I would like to think that were you alive today, your attitudes would have evolved.

CISNEROS: July 13th, 2021 Dear Teddy Roosevelt The world is different now. It is a lot more different than I think you’d ever consider. We are facing challenges you’d never begin to imagine, and I’m not sure we should be asking for your advice either… but that is the big question, isn’t it? Are you someone to look up to? Are you a hero? Does the good that you did in the word erase you from your crimes? I understand that you grew up in a world where this was normal… but does this excuse you? Does the time of your birth excuse the prejudice that you pushed into the very roots of yourself? You led well, that can’t be denied. I am just not entirely sure that it means you are right.

Rest in peace, or maybe not.

SHALLA: July 14th, 2021 Dear Teddy, your quote, “the only man who doesn’t make mistakes is the man who doesn’t do anything” seems prescient considering the contrast of this record. You made mistakes, even horrific ones. All men do. But you also made triumphant choices, like this park here. Let’s stop highlighting the worst things someone has done, but in most cases, let’s remember the honorable things people have done. We all have complex stories, let’s remember that.

CISNEROS: How do you form opinions about people? I wanted visitors to reflect within themselves for this prompt. I definitely once again was taken away by the stories shared.

VELTKAMP: August 11, 2021 I love every human’s soul. But I don’t have to love every human’s personality. I just have to remember the difference. BRENNAN: August 2021 Laurell K. Hamilton said, “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” Everybody suffers in their own specific way, no matter who they are, what they look like; everyone is the same. We hurt the same, we just perceive it differently and have other ways of expressing it. So just because someone looks okay on the outside, does not mean they are okay. It is OK to hurt, it is not a weakness. KRAUS: August 2021 All people do great and terrible things. We can only focus or judge them, hoping the good outweighs the bad. Is the good in your life something you’ll be remembered for? Or is it the bad? CRISPIN: August 31, 2021 Teddy R was a contradicting person. In many ways he was wonderful, in other ways, less so. I think that some of the ugly things he believed was a function of the times he lived in. Sadly, in some ways he never overcame them. However, I tend to believe if he lived today, he would have never said or thought those things. Teddy did a lot of the things that have created the improved world we enjoy today. His actions more than his words are what I remember him for. Actions are what I judge others by more than their words. May we all seek to live in such a way that make our actions worth remembering. May also such actions outweigh the dumb things we have said at one point or another. P.KENT: AUGUST 14 2021 An opinion of a person is based upon what the observer brings in their experience. If they are taught prejudice from an early age it is hard for them to form another opinion. With personal experiences with another person who is from a different background, we can learn that what we were taught may be incorrect. Prejudice can be washed away by experiencing new places and peoples and cultures where we can learn to appreciate the diversity. Roosevelt certainly appreciated the diversity of nature in establishing the national parks. For this aspect of Roosevelt, we can all be thankful. It was not taught to him as prejudice was taught. He came to the realization through experience. Perhaps if he had spent the time to learn about other cultures, he would have come to appreciate human diversity as well. VELTKAMP: August 26, 2021 Sometimes we must respect a person’s deed from his thoughts, or a person’s professional accomplishments from his personal demons.

GOODKIN: August 15, 2021 I base my opinions on actions and not words and realizing that anyone can change! I was once addicted to drugs for many years. Today I am successful in my career and have lived two lifestyles in one lifetime. My life today is a blessing. I am a good mother, daughter, and friend. Today I always try to think about what someone else is going through. You never know. Treat all people with respect!

GOODKIN: August 26, 2021 I believe that whatever negative thoughts TR had were far outweighed by the good that he did. The same with John Muir. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. Should we disown them? I think not. Without them, the country would not be the great country it is.

GOODKIN: August 2021 We are not defined by the color of our skin or where we are from… were defined by how we treat others.

MACLANE: August 22, 2021 It varies. It can be the way they look at me or others. It can be the words they use to describe the world around them. It can be their body language, whether they appear closed off or open with facial or body expression.

I have found however, that my own meter for judgement is skewed. I limit my own ability to learn from others and expand my own viewpoint. I believe most people are fundamentally good, but they may size up and judge other individuals in an effort to protect themselves.

This behavior is not something we should immediately dismiss and forgive, but we cannot go backwards. We cannot erase. Those who are exposed to different ways of living outside of their comfort zones have the power to know that different doesn't mean bad.

With that power, the informed must challenge themselves to continue pushing past their comfort zone and truly empathize with the darkest souls and most hurtful people. It's hard work, but everyone who hurts others is doing so from a place of fear. There is some exception for truly disturbed folks.

My advice: Be patient with yourself and others. Continue to learn and challenge yourself to ask "why" when someone upsets you. Their actions may not come from a place of hate, but rather fear. And your own understanding may come from a sense of fear and an instinct to protect against the unknown. Understanding their fear gives you the power to help them see the light.

VELTKAMP: August 22, 2021 Society. In the world we’ve grown up in, at least personally, we are born and made to judge. I don’t believe there is much of a specific reason why. It’s just the hateful world we’ve all grown up in. Every day we judge both the smallest things. Our hair. Our eyes. The stretch marks on our bodies. The way someone might look & their size. Yet, I don’t think we ever just step back and admire the beauty in every person. Opinions are formed from hatred, pain, happiness, and so much more. But we can change to see the world as beautiful. I hope anyone who reads this can find some happiness. Be it from this letter or from the squirrels under the sun. Find a little happiness. You are loved. You are valued. If you don’t believe in yourself, I will. Be happy, safe, and healthy everyone.

From a young 10th grader in the Grand Canyon!

CISNEROS: We gratefully acknowledge the Native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

CISNEROS: Thank you for listening and for anyone listening that participated in this project – I wanted to say thank you for sharing your ideas, thoughts, and personal stories. I am so inspired by the responses I received, and I am constantly learning something new every day.

CISNEROS: Behind The Scenery is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park.

No one is infallible, not our heroes, not our leaders, not even those who pioneered for the preservation of the natural world. President Theodore Roosevelt left a complex legacy. While he helped to create the National Park Service and set out to protect and preserve public lands, he excluded Indigenous voices. What would it be like to sit down and talk with Teddy today? —What would you ask him? In this episode, park visitors share how they respond to this multifaceted human and the legacy he left behind.

Dude, It's Just a Rock


Transcription: DUDE, ITS JUST A ROCK

(Guitar strumming music) Doug: “… kind of like the Blues Brothers. I was “on a mission from God.” I was going git this rock somehow back into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Because I had rock remorse. I had rock regret. And I figured by returning the rock I could gain a little bit of rock redemption. And maybe even a little bit of rock renewal.

Jesse: Grand Canyon is defined by rock. The colorful layers, stacked on top of each other, tell the story of how the earth has changed. I’m Jesse, a park ranger on the North Rim and today, on the podcast, we bring you the story of one of those rocks. A small piece of Vishnu Shist nestled near the Colorado River for perhaps millions of years. Until it caught the eye of one 17 year old. It a story of a rock leaving, then returning to the Grand Canyon. It’s the story of a young man becoming a ranger. It’s the story of redemption. It’s another story from ranger Doug Crispin. His story begins here.

(Soft guitar strumming music)

Our family did a vacation to the Grand Canyon where I fell in love with the canyon. I asked my parents to drop me off and leave me, which they did. And that started a park career. Between my Junior and Senior year in high school I worked as a bus boy at the El Tovar Hotel right on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. And during my time there that summer I was able to make four backpack trips all the way to the bottom of the canyon.

On one of those backpack trips I had my eye on picking up a souvenir … a rock from Vishnu Shist formation. I knew enough of the Grand Canyon, that I knew that was the oldest rock available in the canyon, or layers exposed. And I thought if I could pick up a Vishnu Shist rock, that would be pretty cool to add to my rock collection.

In the seventh grade, I had a science teacher who inspired me to learn about earth sciences, geology and rocks. And that’s how I got interested in collecting rocks. My parents encouraged me to start a rock collection, which I did. My mother was a librarian at a local high school. She had connections with the public library in town. And she was able to arrange for me to display my rock collection in the local public library. In a glass case. The newspaper reporter and photographer came out and took a picture of sitting right in front of the glass case. I was age 13. It was pretty heady stuff to have my picture taken when I was just in the seventh grade … a picture in the newspaper.

I picked up that pink rock … its about the size of an egg, I packed it out of the canyon, and I just kind of hung to it over the years. I kind of lost interest in collecting rocks in High School. Became more interested in body surfing and auto mechanics and backpacking and other interests. But for some reason, I hung onto this rock as I got rid of all the rest of my rocks in my rock collection.

Song (based on the Beatles song “Get Back”): Once there was a lad who Went to the Grand Canyon Where he found a special stone Picked it up and put it in his back pocket Then he took the rock back home Back ………

Doug’s summer working at the El Tovar started him on the path to becoming a career park ranger. The rock from the bottom of the Grand Canyon followed him as he moved from park to park, first as a summer seasonal, then as a permanent ranger. It travelled with him to 13 different national parks, before he and his wife settled down in Oregon.

Twenty years after I worked at the Grand Canyon, I was living in Oregon. I married a former park ranger. We moved to Oregon, started a family and our son was a year and one-half years old. And I decided to create a time capsule for his second birthday. For Christmas, I sent out empty envelopes to all four of his grandparents who were still alive, my wife and I had an empty envelope each. We had a couple months to decide what treasures and items we wanted to put into our personal envelopes which would be locked into our son’s time capsule, on the occasion of his second birthday. I remember a few things I put in there: my college ponytail that I cut off, my draft card from the Vietnam War era, a marathon medal, and I had also put that Grand Canyon rock in there.

We sealed up the time capsule. It sat on the shelve of our son’s bedroom for the next 16 years. And when he graduated from High School, and turned 18, we called for a gathering of the clan. And we were going to open up our son’s time capsule. Which we did. It was a grand occasion. I notified the television and the print press. And people came from 6/7 different states and we had a great time opening up the time capsule.

I took custody of all of the contents of the time capsule as my son went away to college, and later became a world traveler, living twice in Thailand, Germany and currently living in Japan.

The rock, accompanied by Doug’s college ponytail, and the other contents of the time capsule, sat on a shelf in the garage. It wasn’t until the spring of 2021, that Doug was organizing his things, and getting ready to return to the North Rim for the summer, that he rediscovered the time capsule. He was immediately drawn to the small pink rock. As he picked it up, the memories came flooding back. There was also something new.

And then as I held that Grand Canyon rock in my hand, I thought back to my career, as a career park ranger. Thinking about the many times that I have experienced kids, primarily, that would walk into my ranger station or my visitor center, and proudly showing me their treasure that they have found in the park. Treasures like a freshly picked flower, a pinecone, a live lizard, a shiny rock, things like that. And it was my job as the attendant park ranger to somehow give them an educational message: “yes that’s a beautiful flower that you have there young lady, but really you shouldn’t pick up rocks, shouldn’t pick up the flowers, you shouldn’t pick up the pine cones and what not, those are all protected items. That’s a very pretty flower you have there but please put it back where you found it.”

It was difficult, but it was a duty that park ranger across America have to do regularly. In fact yesterday, in my duties, I saw a woman picking flowers in a meadow and I had to go remind her “those are nice flowers, take all the photographs you want, but please don’t pick the flowers and put them back where you found them.”

So here I am, a career park ranger, with a rock from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. And I started to develop a little bit of guilt and remorse over having that rock. But it wasn’t my rock. I did have to contact my son in Japan and ask permission … if I could return that rock to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I explained “that I gave it to you as the second generation, it was part of my really cool rock collection when I was a kid, but, it was good intentions, but a bad idea and illegal. And I would like to return it.”

And so he was on board with that. He said “sure, go ahead. I think that’s a good cause.”

So then I developed a mission. I was on a mission … kind of like the Blues Brothers. I was “on a mission from God.” I was going git this rock somehow back into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Because I had rock remorse. I had rock regret. And I figured by returning the rock I could gain a little bit of rock redemption. And maybe even a little bit of rock renewal.

(song) Back Put it back Put it back to where it once belonged “Put the rock back, son!”

Doug brought the rock with him when he returned to the North Rim for the summer. At the beginning of each season, rangers sit down with their supervisors and discuss their long term and short term goals.

Typically, young up and coming rangers say “I want to be Chief Ranger someday. I want to be park superintendent in ten years, I would like to be Park Director in 20 years, or something like that. But my goals were a little odd, I guess. I revealed my plan to my boss. I said I have the rock I picked up 52 years ago and I am on a mission to return it back into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If I can do that, I’ll feel I had a successful season.

And I thought … she probably thought “well that’s kind of a weird goal and objective,” but you know I was just keepin’ it real and being honest with her. So she was one of the few people I shared my plan with.

And my plan was to try and get into shape, and hike that rock back down into the canyon on a long weekend if I could do it. But I kept my plan on the down low for two reasons.

One, I had a friend of mine I know if I shared it with him his reaction would be “Dude, it’s just a rock. Why bother? It’s no big deal, man. Just let it go. Forget about it. You’re making too big a deal out of it.” So I definitely didn’t want to share it with that friend!

And the other thing I had on my mind … it’s not easy, you know, at my age, to make it all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. From the North Rim side it’s even harder. So I didn’t want to announce my plan and not be able to achieve that goal. So I did keep it on the down low.

Hiking in Grand Canyon is hard. To get to the Colorado River from the North Rim and back requires hiking nearly 30 miles with more than 12,000 feet of elevation change. Temperatures can be extreme. For highs near 120 degrees at the river, to lows in the teens on the North Rim. It is extremely important that hikers choose the right season, an itinerary that is suitable for their fitness and experience, and train for their trip.

Fortunately for Doug, the best place to prepare for hiking in the Grand Canyon, is Grand Canyon.

So in the ensuing month working on the job I did some patrols on the job, lots of hiking after work and on weekends. I logged over 80 trail training miles, including four long day hikes into the Grand Canyon. And about a month later I figured I’m in shape, I think I can try this.

I reported to the Backcountry Office, secured a three-day backpacking permit, loaded up my pack, including my Grand Canyon rock and headed down the Canyon.

The first day I hiked 6 ½ miles, down 4200 feet. Set up camp for two nights … a place called Cottonwood Camp halfway between the North Rim and the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. Day two was the big challenging day of my trip. My plan was to wake up early, with a day pack only, and hike about a 15 mile day hike, all the way to the Colorado River and then back to my Cottonwood Camp. Which I left shortly after 4 in the morning and by 7, I was at Phantom Ranch, which is not on the river. It’s a short distance up stream from the river but there I rested and recovered. I wrote a couple postcards, and then threw my day pack on again.

I said, you know, I have to make it all the way to the Colorado River. And boom, but as soon and I saw and heard the river and smelled the Colorado River it brought me back 52 years to when I was a kid and first hiked to the bottom of the canyon.

I got really excited at that point. I pulled the rock out of my pack. I wondered over towards the Silver Bridge, one of the two footbridges across the river. I pondered the history of the rock, and gave it a big toss, threw it down towards, not into the river, but down towards the river. And I said goodbye to the rock. And, I felt great! It felt wonderful. If it’s possible to have a sweaty pack and hiking in over 100 degree temperatures, I floated all the way back to Cottonwood Campground. I just felt I had done the right thing and it felt great.

I was back in Cottonwood Camp. Hung out in the creek the rest of the day, read a book, hung out in camp, and my mission was partly accomplished so I still had to make it out of the canyon. (song) Fifty-two years later Back at the Grand Canyon With that very special stone Hiked it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon Then he put that rock back home

Back, put it back …

So I spent my final night at Cottonwood Campground, there was no tent. I slept on top of my sleeping bag. I woke at 4 in the morning. The moon was up. I started up-trail with my red headlamp on, but after a short 5 or 10 minutes, I turned that off. I got completely accustomed to the moonlight hiking. Had the whole canyon to myself that early and I was singing Cat Stevens: I’m being followed by a moon shadow all the way up the trail until the sun came up.

I was still floating on air. And I made it back to my cabin by about 9 in the morning. Grabbed a shower. Cooked up the pizza. And I celebrated. Mission Accomplished! (Song) Put it back to where it once belonged Back Put it back Put it back to where it once belonged. “Put the rock back, son!”

Mission accomplished.

The rock that had weighted so heavily on Doug, was back where it belonged. But Doug’s mission was always about more than just the rock.

And then, I started thinking about this. Reflecting on my mission. The rock redemption story. And are there any life lessons to be learned from this? And I can say, from a personal point of view: yes. There are several.

And the most obvious life lesson is: Don’t pick up any natural or cultural items in the national parks. They are all protected by law. Leave everything that you find where it is. And I wouldn’t have gotten in this predicament all these years later.

And the other thing I thought about is: It’s never too late, or you’re never too old to do the right thing in life. If it’s the right thing to do, then do it. Who cares how old you are?

And then the bigger picture understanding I think I gained from this story was: Try to make it through life with a minimum amount of regrets.

You hear stories all the time of people who have a falling out with a family member or a friend and they never have a chance to reconnect with that person. And you have to carry around that weight of that unfulfilled, undone business on your mind for the rest of your life.

So the biggest takeaway from this story for me is: don’t have any undone business.

Do you have a thank you that has been left unsaid?

Is there somebody who has influenced you, an influential person that maybe you haven’t sat down and told them that you appreciated what they did for you? Their inspiration.

You know, is there an apology out there that you need to make?

Then my questions is: What are you waiting for?

I would say:

Write that note. Say I’m sorry. Say I love you. Say thanks.

So basically I’m saying: Throw that rock. Because, dude, it’s more than just a rock in you life.

And I can guarantee you this: if you throw that rock, if you live your life with a minimum amount of regrets, you will feel great inside, for the rest of your life.

My name is ranger Doug. I’m a summertime ranger at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, and this is my story of rock redemption.

(Soft guitar strumming music) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks to Doug for sharing his story and writing the parody song Put It Back, with apologies to Paul McCartney.

Behind the scenery is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park.

Audio production is by Wayne Hartlerode with music by Doug Crispin, Hannah Veltkamp, Brian Lozano, Mike Bahrmasel, Ana Stevenson and Wayne Harterode.

We gratefully acknowledge the native people who’s on ancestral lands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant native communities who make their home here today. (song) Back Put it back Put it back to where it once belonged Back Put it back Put it back to where it once belonged. “Put the rock back, son!”

A small piece of Vishnu Shist nestled near the Colorado River for perhaps millions of years. Until it caught the eye of one 17 year old with an impressive rock collection. His story begins with carrying his rocky burden out of the canyon and follows his rocky path to the edge of redemption. It’s the story of a young man becoming a ranger. It's everyone's story of redemption. How do you touch renewal at the rocky bottom?

Photography Grand Canyon


Adam: My name is Adam Schallau and I am a full-time professional photographer, and I actually specialize in landscape photography which seems to be pretty rare nowadays. I’m a guy that came to Grand Canyon 20 years ago, thought that would be my only visit, I spent one night. I came back 10 years later and absolutely fell in love and for about the past 10 years now, my passion and my specialty has been Grand Canyon from rim to river. (Sounds of thunder and rain) Kate: My name is Kate, and you're listening to an episode of Behind the Scenery, Canyon Cuts. How did you get into photography? Adam: I grew up being really into art in general not really photography, probably like a lot of people, I didn't necessarily see photography as an art form perhaps. I saw something, as a tool for documenting, you know, what was happening. But I started out with an interest, just like a lot of kids, in drawing. That morphed into painting, mostly working in oils, but I continued experimenting with different types of art, and when I was in high school I was into working with clay on the wheel, still painting as well. Eventually, it was like “okay I got to start thinking about a real career” and art kind of got pushed to the side. So there were several years where I just didn't have a creative outlet and, uh, after High School I was invited to work at a high altitude field research station in Colorado. A place called the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, I actually spent two summers working up there. And while I was there, one of the things I did on the side, I assisted a guy who was a wildlife biologist by trade, I guess he'd say. But he was also a landscape photographer. He was in his mid-to-late fifties and had bad knees, bad back and he said “Hey, do you want to carry my gear?” This is cool, I get to climb mountains, ride mountain bikes. So I started doing that, and I honestly thought initially it was the stupidest things possible. I couldn't understand why we’d get up at 4 O’Clock in the morning to climb a mountain and photograph sunrise, set up this massive large format view camera. It was just this bizarre world to me but that was my introduction to photography. And again, initially it did not take with me. Many years later I started going on trips myself across the American West. And of course, you take your camera with you, and this is back in the film era still. I took the camera to document the trip. And after my first trip, I realized when I got my film back you can do more than document … you can actually put your own interpretive slant into what you're doing in terms of how you build your composition and what kind of film you use to record the light and color. That was kind of the start. I didn't have a clue what I was doing but I could see that there was a real possibility there to share my own vision of what I was seeing. Kate: So, you mentioned your first time at Grand Canyon was just a one-night stay … Adam: That was South Rim, and to the best of my recollections, right around, it was like September 1999 and I was with my wife, Sally. We had actually planned to spend, I believe, three nights and we were camping at Mather Campground, and we hadn’t done a lot of research to be honest, but we did have reservations, so we had a campsite, and we showed up … and had no idea where to go, and I was so very, very new to photography. We followed the crowds ended up at Mather Point, with half the other visitors in the park, heh heh. I was awestruck by what was in front of me. I was just awestruck and intimidated … I had no idea how do you start putting a composition together and the light began to happen and I think I took about three photographs put the camera down and I just enjoyed the show that nature was putting on that evening and it was kind of an end of monsoon type evening some nice clouds in the sky. No real theatrics it wasn't raining, there were no rainbows. It was just very soft, pleasant and a real moment of peace and tranquility. That was fantastic. We went back Mather that evening, we camped add Froze! Heh heh! I had no idea how cold it could get in Arizona. I think a lot of us have heard that story over and over and over again. I had no idea how cold it could get in the desert in the middle of the night and not considered the elevation and long story short we spent the one night before moving on. And, I honestly thought well we've been here, and we've seen Grand Canyon was kind of my thought about the experience. How much more could there be? And again, I had no clue. (Sounds of thunder and rain) My first river trip down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon was an 18-day oar trip in September into October of 2015, so, only 5 years ago and still fairy new in my career in photography and to be honest struggling with the business aspect of it, trying to make a living. But the first person I had met in Flagstaff was David Edwards. And Dave, for those who don't know him, is a National Geographic published photographer, river guide with hundreds of trips under his belt as well. And Dave in September of that year, 2015, was getting ready to run an art trip through the Canyon and my wife said if you have to put the cost of that trip on every credit card we have you need to do it because you need to go down the river with Dave. And we made it work and I signed up for this 18 day trip. It was really an incredible experience because it ended up being a very small trip there only five participants, we had five 18-foot oar boats, we actually had six crew members. We had five people rowing, five river guides plus a swamper. So, the passengers were outnumbered by guides, that was neat in itself, but we had Dave leading, and we had some other big names on the trip. And not to name drop, but just to share what a special experience it was, we had a woman who most people know by the name of Martha Clark she's now Martha Stewart … Martha is one of those Grand Canyon Legends. We had Andy Martin rowing a boat as well, a former park ranger, photographer, river guide, just an incredible individual. Joseph Bennion who is a potter from Spring City Utah was also rowing. Peter Nisbet, who is a credible painter of Grand Canyon and the American West. Here I am, this relatively new guy, surrounded by all these incredibly talented people who really know the canyon, who have incredible passion for the canyon and the river and I can't think of a better way to have been introduced to the world below the rim along the river corridor. To see the world through their eyes and to hear their stories.

(Sounds of thunder and rain) Kate: Do you think there's any like big challenges or misconceptions about photography that a lot of people might not be aware of? Adam: Oh, hah hah, huh. Oh boy, where to start. Oh yeah, because I had my own … that it wasn’t or couldn’t be an art form. The challenges…there’s this belief that the product has to be finished in the camera. And I just I don't believe that's true. It’s easy to drop Ansel Adams name into these conversations. For those people are familiar with his work, or how he worked. The negatives, the film, was just the beginning of the process, and once he got into the dark room he was doing things called dodging and burning for example, which is darkening and brightening parts of the image so that we can kind of control the viewer’s journey through the photograph, you know, drawing attention to certain areas and trying to not draw attention to other areas and we still do that today, digitally. So of course we still end up being asked the question “Do you photoshop your images?” and the reality is it's not fair to say we all do but most of us that are into photography are doing something to our photographs. It's really open to that artist how much they do to the image. Myself, I have a lot of rules or restrictions that I place upon myself. My Photoshop work for example, is limited to contrast and tonal balance. It is really difficult to set it up in the canyon and represent it in a way that resembles something like what we saw. The camera has difficulties recording the brightness of the sky and balancing that with the darkness of the canyon. In my postproduction work I photoshop, I’m working on adjusting those balances. But I find a lot of people who perhaps don't really know the world of photography as an art form don't understand perhaps what goes into creating the final photograph that gets printed and hung on the wall. And the world wants to place a lot of restrictions on how we achieve the final result. My goal is always to be true to the landscape and true to my experience. And what I mean by that is I’m not there to add a sky for example, if it was a blue-sky day and I wanted clouds, I’m not adding clouds. I’m not adding lightning. I’m not, what I consider, faking the image. Another challenge is that a lot of people may not understand or appreciate how much effort goes into making one photograph. I may visit a particular location three, four, five times, maybe even more, before I get the photograph I really want. Kate: Do you have a particular process that helps you, like capturing the light here, do you look for certain like cloud formations or anything like that? Adam: A lot of it is an emotional response for me, on that particular day, where I am at in my life. I spend a lot of time watching the weather forecast here at home and if it looks like the weather is going to be conducive to the kind of work I want to create then I come running up to the canyon and I’m almost always starts with a stop at Yavapai Point. Not that intend to photograph there, but Yavapai has that 180° panoramic view of the canyon and so I run up to the viewpoint and I study the weather conditions. So, I’m watching where are the clouds. Where they were, where are they at now, where does it look like they are moving towards. And then that kind of drives my decision towards where I want to go in the park. And, I do the same thing if I’m up on the North Rim. If I'm up at the North Rim it may be quick stop at the lodge, to try to see what's going on with the weather. The North Rim’s a bit more challenging in that regard because, for example, from the lodge you can't see back around to the northeast real well back towards point imperial. My process always starts with just observing what Mother Nature is giving us to work with. Kate: Do you think being a photographer has changed the way you view landscapes? Adam: Oh yes, oh definitely. I see so much more than I did before I was a photographer. Little details that maybe just get easily overlooked for example noticing how the light plays across the inner canyon. Those basement rocks become so reflective, that’s something I may have just overlooked on my first visit 20 years ago. Now, I’m just noticing all those crazy little details, how the light scatters through dust how it creates a soft painterly effect … just little details like that. Definitely photography has changed how I view the world. Also, with regard to relationships. Relationship between foreground, mid-ground, background … how shapes can play off of each other how they can help one shape highlight another shape within the canyon or frame that shape. Kate: So I see that you teach a lot of different types of workshops. Is there any specific like type of lesson or type of interaction you have with your guests that, like, stick out to your mind and brighten your day? Adam: When I teach workshops one of my goals for my students is that they grow or mature as a photographer or as an artist if that's how they want to see themselves. And what I mean by that is, when we’re learning, we tend to copy the work of others. In my line of work we call it chasing tripod holds. We try to figure out where someone else set up their tripod and place our tripod there but it's easy to get stuck in rut of making everyone else's photographs. So when I work with someone I hope to break them out of that habit. I hope to help them realize or discover their own creative vision. And that’s something we should all be doing, forever, up until our last day clicking the shutter. We’re always maturing and chasing our own vision and defining that vision. But that’s what gives me the greatest satisfaction. I can show someone how to make the kind of photos I like to make, but I want to see what they want to make, what they want to share, and when they can do that that makes me smile. (Sound of thunder and rain) Kate: What do you want for the future of Grand Canyon? Adam: Oh wow. I'd like to see people really respect it. I think it to respect it, you have to have a deep appreciation for it, and I think that's the challenge. You know what’s the average length of a visit for the typical visitor, like three and 1/2 hours, something like that. It's hard to really appreciate the place. I have seen a lot changes in the last 10 years in terms of how people interact with the park when they’re here. There’s the selfie generation now, people seem to be all that just getting the shot of themselves. I'd love to see people slow down and really appreciate the canyon. I just hope we can protect it from ourselves and protect it from being loved to death because I can definitely seeing the signs of that when I’m out at the different viewpoints. I wish people can make more than just the one trip. I was just very lucky. The luxury of time allowed me to begin seeing the canyon in a new way. I learned about the parks artist-in-residence program and ended up applying and being accepted for the next year, and it again it was that luxury of time that helped me develop that deeper appreciation for the canyon, being able to see it in different light, different weather. (Sound of thunder and rain) Kate: Thank you for listening to this episode of Canyon Cuts, a Behind the Scenery micro episode. Brought to you by the North Rim and Canyon District interpretation teams at Grand Canyon National Park Rich: Hey Holly, uh, don’t know if she’ll listen to this.

This episode was produced by Kate Hensel with assistance from Wayne Hartlerode for the National Park Service. This episode was recorded in September 2020 on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Thank you, Adam Schallau for your time spent being interviewed.

Adam Schallau never imagined what he thought was his one and only visit to Grand Canyon would lead to a decade of photographing the canyon, rim to river. Asking "How much more could there be?" he was surprised by the wonderful perspective Grand Canyon reveals when you looking behind the lens. Join a professional photographer to learn pro tips about photographing Grand Canyon

In the Field with Emergency Services Volunteer Bob Derr


Bob Derr: My name is Bob Derr, my wife Lori here, we’re volunteers here for Grand Canyon National Park. We perform fire, structural fire, I do and then we both do EMS and search and rescue and a variety of other things whatever is usually ask of us up here on the North Rim [Guitar music begins] Kate Hensel: My name is Kate and you’re listening to an episode of Behind the Scenery, Canyon Cuts. [Guitar music ends] How long have you been volunteering with the National Park Service? Bob: This is year six. Kate: And before you started volunteering with the National Park Service did you perceive it differently? How has that perhaps changed for you? Bob: Well, I don’t know if we had a perception of what it was, we were getting ready to retire, Lori had already retired, I was getting ready to and it's…you know people had talked about “Hey you can volunteer for the park service and do different duties.” We researched on the Volunteer.gov and just started researching what positions were available and then we decided to pick a park to start with, so we decided Grand Canyon. The chief asked about coming over here to the North Rim as a structural firefighter, being a paramedic which I am, and it just escalated from there. Kate: Can you give a brief background on like your professional history before retirement? Bob: Well for Lori she was an administrative assistant in a Catholic School. My history is I started in the fire service in 1971. I’m a retire battalion chief out of Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Been a paramedic since the eighties. I flew eight years as a flight medic. Was in charge of a regional urban search and rescue team in South Carolina. So background in emergency services, I have a pretty decent background. Kate: What was your first Grand Canyon experience? Bob: Jeez, our first experience we brought our kids here. I guess that was back in the mid-nineties. We were doing a cross-country trip and brought the four kids, so we brought the kids here to the South Rim. Came back again, it was about 2013, we were heading out to California for a wedding and stopped at the South Rim again with my sister and her husband. Kate: When you were looking at different volunteer opportunities was Grand Canyon high on the list or was it just something that you fell into? Bob: No, after we talked about what park do we wanted to start with, because our plan was to go to different parks each year, but Grand Canyon was on the number one to start selecting. Kate: And then what brought you back here over and over again. Bob: I think the big thing was that just we love the North Rim. I mean the community that we have here, with the rangers that we work with, you know the people from Forever Resorts. I mean everyone we work with up here, it’s like a small community that’s pretty tight nit you know. If somebody something, somebody was there to help you. So I think that’s it, the environment itself; the weather on the North Rim, the beauty of the North Rim is one of the big things that we like. We kinda like the isolation. You know, away from the crowds. The city that we used to live in we’d get 14-15 million tourists there that used to visit there. So being up here was awesome. Kate: A lot of people might not realize that the North Rim is a pretty seasonal operation, and we get a ton of snow up here, so what do you do in your winters? Bob: While the past three years usually January and February we go to the big island of Hawaii and volunteer at Hawaii Volcanos and do interp[retation] there. And one of the reasons we go back to Hawaii is because Lori is from the islands, so we get an opportunity to stay with family and visit family, and continue our service of the parks by volunteering at the volcano. Kate: Being able to spend so much time returning to the same place that a lot people may only visit once, how has that changed your view of Grand Canyon over time? Bob: I don’t know how much it’s changed my view. When we were tourist visiting the South Rim it was ”oh wow this is pretty amazing place.” But once we started volunteering up here on the North Rim we really got to see Grand Canyon. I mean not just driving by and looking at Grand Canyon but to go out to a lot of different places that most people do not get to go to, or when we’re out on patrol, and really seeing, and even it’s still a small portion of Grand Canyon National Park that we get to see. This year we started kayaking so we got to kayak up by Horseshoe Bend and down the Colorado River. So now we are getting another perspective of Grand Canyon. About the second year I was here my oldest daughter, myself, and a couple other friends hiked the rim to rim in a couple days and being down in the canyon really changes your perspective. You really, really get to see what this beautiful place is. Kate: So before you had mentioned that the community is one of the driving forces that brings you back every year. With the community also being made of so many seasonal workers who often move from one park to another and you don’t necessarily have a lot of longevity of people who stick around, how has that impacted your life? Bob: Having the permanents, again that communities there, and even the seasonals coming in, they’re seeing what the people that are here all the time haver to offer. So we get to meet a lot of new people, mostly a lot of young people that are coming in seasonal in the park service and get to meet them and learn where their from and some of the things that they think about. Kate: What are you most proud of about being on the North Rim? Bob: The thing that we’re most proud of is that we don’t hesitate to help whether it be a medical, a fire call, or we’re on a search and rescue, or somebody locks their key in their car and we go break into their car and get their key. So I think it’s service, I think that what is comes down to. Our entire lives have been service at some point. With Lori working in the school and me doing emergency services in wherever we lived so it’s giving back what it’s all about. Kate: Are there any particularly funny or interesting stories that you’d want to share? Bob: Some of things when you start talking to people cause we just talk to people while we’re taking care of them because were not with them 10-15 minutes and we’re to a hospital like you are in a big city. We’re with them for quite a while, especially if we’re transporting or waiting for a medevac helicopter. So we really get to share a lot stories between each other. Kate: How long are transports usually? If you are doing it by ground. Bob: Our longest was we had to transport a young lady that was pregnant all the way to St. George. So you look at two and a half, three hours one way on that transport. That was our longest. Usually the transports from the time we start the medical call to if we’re transporting down towards Kanab, outside of Fredonia, we actually do a change. An ambulance will come out of Utah and we’ll transfer the patient so we can back up here. It can run anywhere from two and half to three hours on that transport going down and coming back for the entire length of the call. Kate: What are some challenges or misconceptions about EMS work that you think a lot of people might not be aware of? Bob: I think the challenges that I first had when we got here, so I lived the city we had a trauma center within ten minutes of transport time for our medics. So the challenge that I had is I was used to number one: I had a trauma center real close; number two: being a battalion chief in a city like that I had resources I could have by my side within a matter of minutes if it was major incident or there was multiple patients. The challenge up here was again we’re isolated. We have one medic unit up here. We can call for helicopters, but they could be twenty, thirty, forty minutes away. So, the challenge here is definitely rural medicine and being with the patient a lot longer and having to take care of them in the process of that. So our protocols at Grand Canyon, which is pretty amazing, they have us trained to take care of those long times that we may be taking care of a patient or again our resources that we have are limited. Again one ambulance and if we have multiple calls going on, which has happened, we only have one ambulance to take care of that patient and we got to determine at that point if we can get a helicopter in here. So the challenges are just being so isolated. The closest hospital by ground is in Kanab and it’s eighty miles by ground. Kate: What do you want for the future of Grand Canyon? Bob: For me personally, and I think Lori would probably agree to this, that we would like to see the people who come here will respect this place. Not just to all the beauty of the place. What Grand Canyon means not just to the visitors but to the Native Americans, that this is their home. A lot of people I don’t think they really realize what this means to the Native Americans that are in this area. There are quite a few tribes that are here. So, for people to respect it. To see somebody leave trash or to drive where they shouldn’t be driving or to mark up the place with graffiti and that, that’s heartbreaking when you really think about it. They don’t respect it, they don’t understand it. Kate: Anything else you would like to get on the record? Bob: Number one is for people to come and enjoy what our country has to offer: Grand Canyon, and all the parks that are so close. To come and embrace what our country has, but also to think about when you retire giving back. What better way to give back to our country is to volunteer for the park service and Lori and I get to live at Grand Canyon, on the North Rim. I right now, I can look out and see the canyon from where my RV is parked. What a better opportunity to come and volunteer for the park service. [Guitar music begins] Kate: Thank you for listening to this episode of Canyon Cuts, a Behind the Scenery micro episode. Brought to you by the North Rim and Canyon District interpretation teams at Grand Canyon National Park. [Guitar fades out] To learn about volunteering for the National Park Service visit https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm and https://www.volunteer.gov This episode was produced by Kate Hensel with assistance from Wayne Hartlerode for the National Park Service. This episode was recorded in September 2020 on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Thank you, Bob Derr for being interviewed and thank you Bob and Lori for your many years of service to the National Park Service and our country.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to volunteer at a National Park? Bob Derr has been volunteering on the North Rim of Grand Canyon for six years in emergency services. Join us as we discuss his time here and and the value of volunteering.

Your Questions Answered


Kate: [00:00:00] My name is Kate and I'm a Canyon District Interpretation ranger. [00:00:04] Brendan: [00:00:04] My name is Brendan notes and I do the exact same thing as Kate. [00:00:08]Kate: [00:00:08] How many years have you been at Grand Canyon? [00:00:12] Brendan: [00:00:12] Well, I tell everyone that I couldn't hike out, which is why I had to get a job down here. But that wasn't true. I've been here for since 2014, so six seasons cause I leave in the winter. [00:00:25] Kate: [00:00:25] Nice. Same sorta, like I only worked the summer season basically. And then I'm gone in the winter. This was my first season in the Canyon and I was on the North Rim last year. [00:00:34] Brendan: [00:00:34] I think a big part of our job, especially since we're interpretation rangers or education Rangers is to answer questions. And how many questions do you think you get in a day? [00:00:44] Kate: [00:00:44] Maybe like a hundred right now because it's quiet. I bet, like when I was at the visitor center on the North room, I probably got like 500 to a thousand today. [00:00:52] Brendan: [00:00:52] Yeah. I think on the South RIm, like on the holiday weekends, I think I got probably like tens of thousands of questions, but it's more like you get the same three questions, but just like thousands of times, but what is the, what's the most common question you, you have gotten? [00:01:09]Kate: [00:01:09] In the Canyon, I think the most common question is like, is the water on Oh yeah. Like the trans Canyon pipeline. Yep. Yeah. And that, one's always really difficult to answer because I really don't know it was on when I walked by, but that doesn't mean it's still on. Cause it breaks so much. [00:01:25] That one can be a little tricky to answer. [00:01:27] I also think [00:01:28] Brendan: [00:01:28] we get a lot of like logistical questions because we do spend a large amount of our time down here. So I think people don't think we leave, which isn't true, but yeah, [00:01:40]Kate: [00:01:40] I definitely, I think that might actually be one of the most common questions I get is like, how, how does your work life work? [00:01:46]Brendan: [00:01:46] Or how do /you eat? [00:01:50] So Kate Hensel, if you could help me out because I went on the internet and searched for all the most commonly asked questions on various websites. And this is what the internet wants to know. And I was wondering if you could help me answer this. So I just punched it in Grand Canyon and like question Mark into Google and then I just let it auto populate. [00:02:15] So this is what we came up with. So the first one, Kate Hansel, are you ready? [00:02:20]Kate: [00:02:20] I'm ready [00:02:20]Brendan: [00:02:20] What is grand Canyon? [00:02:22]Kate: [00:02:22] Grand Canyon is a big drainage ditch that goes from. Well, like kind of the border with Utah to the border with Nevada just across Northern Arizona. [00:02:37]Brendan: [00:02:37] And what is grand Canyon made of? [00:02:40] Kate: [00:02:40] Rock? So many are rocks old rocks and then kind of older rocks and then crazy older rocks at the way [00:02:48] Brendan: [00:02:48] bottom [00:02:50] when ranger told me and I asked him. Something similar. He said grand Canyon is rocks with dirt and dirty rocks. That's in a way that's not an incorrect. Yeah [00:03:01] Kate: [00:03:01] so it's a lot of sedimentary rocks from, I think the Precambrian era, the most part, I think the top gets into the Cambrian era. [00:03:09]Brendan: [00:03:09] Old Rocks, kind of young Canyon. [00:03:12] Kate: [00:03:12] What are the oldest rocks at grand Canyon? [00:03:14]Brendan: [00:03:14] Well, the oldest one, well, grand Canyon is like stack of pancakes where the oldest and coldest pancakes on a stack of pancakes would be at the bottom. And as you go higher up the stack of pancakes, you have the newer and fresher pancakes. So the oldest rock would be the basement rocks at the bottom. [00:03:29] This is my favorite one grand Canyon. How big? [00:03:32]Kate: [00:03:32] Depends on where you are, but at the North rim and South rim where they. Look across the Canyon to each other. It's 10 miles across as the bird flies or 21 miles to hike. [00:03:43]Brendan: [00:03:43] What if I wanted to drive from the South, from, to the north Rim [00:03:46] Kate: [00:03:46] 200 some miles, [00:03:48] Brendan: [00:03:48] despite it only being 10 miles? [00:03:50] Kate: [00:03:50] Yeah. It's the river length of grand Canyon. So how long green Canyon is, is 277 miles. [00:03:58]Brendan: [00:03:58] And how do I get to Grand Canyon? [00:04:00] Kate: [00:04:00] You can drive to the North Rim and, South rim sides of it, and pretty much drive almost right up to the rim. It's in Northern Arizona, right below the Arizona strip. So you can like come into Flagstaff and then drive North from there, or drive from Las Vegas, which how long has that drive? [00:04:19] You can also get here on the Colorado river or coming from the green river. You're doing a big river trip. Yeah. [00:04:26]Brendan: [00:04:26] Well, you do have the dam in the way now. [00:04:27]Kate: [00:04:27] Oh, that's true. I mean, you can just jump to the dam [00:04:31] Brendan: [00:04:31] if you get enough speed and just like launch yourself [00:04:35] Kate: [00:04:35] Like a Glider on your boat. Cool. [00:04:37] Brendan: [00:04:37] I think was like one of the sweet, like ramps, like a big like evil Knievel style ramp and just hit it. [00:04:45] Kate: [00:04:45] Yeah, please don't do this. (Laughing) Disclaimer, do not do that. This is kind of a segue from the dam jumping thing. And I think I get this question a lot but it is a tad morbid. How many tourists die at Grand Caynon? I think I get that. [00:05:02] You know? I tried to like look up numbers for at one time and I couldn't get something that was like accurate. [00:05:08] It seems like anywhere between like 10 and 20 is normal for a year. [00:05:11] And I think a lot of people have the misconception that everyone's falling off the edge, which really isn't [00:05:16] true. [00:05:16] , no, that's not, I wouldn't say that's even the majority of them. [00:05:19] No, that's kind of a fraction. I think the, the river is I think a major contributor, cause it's a really big, really cold, really remote river, normal problems like car accidents and things as well. [00:05:33] Heart attacks are fairly common, [00:05:35] especially. Yeah. Grand Canyon overall is a pretty safe place. Yeah. Yeah. But stuff happens for sure. [00:05:42] What is grand Canyon West? [00:05:44] Brendan: [00:05:44] We have grand Canyon national park, which is what we're in right now. And then we have grand Canyon, which is the whole Canyon and green Canyon West is not the national park it's owned by the Walapai tribe. [00:05:56] Kate: [00:05:56] Yeah. So that is closer to Las Vegas, kind of towards the very end of grand Canyon. And then they also have the grand Canyon skywalk, which I think is another question we get it's this really big class walkway. But a lot of people don't realize , like grand Canyon West is five hours away from Grand Canyon national park. [00:06:18] Brendan: [00:06:18] So I think we get where's the glass and we have to tell them that they are nowhere near, near the skywalk, [00:06:28] [00:06:28] Sorry, man. Yeah, but I've never been on the skywalk. I've only seen it. [00:06:33] Kate: [00:06:33] I've also never, I've never been anywhere over in that area. [00:06:37] Brendan: [00:06:37] So yeah, it is interesting. Cause it is, it looks very different from this section of grand Canyon. Like kind of you get, Oh, a little bit different rocks, but you also kind of get different animals and different plants in different desert. [00:06:51] Kate: [00:06:51] Speaking of animals, what's the most dangerous animal at grand Canyon? [00:06:54]Brendan: [00:06:54] Humans. Yeah. , but if you want it, but if you want it to go more in depth, statistically, it's the squirrel, the Grand Canyon rocks squirrel, because we have at least one person bite on the hand because they're trying to feed the squirrel. [00:07:07] But I was looking up the record is 30 bites in one day. [00:07:11] Kate: [00:07:11] Whoa! [00:07:12]Brendan: [00:07:12] Yeah. And I, I'm assuming it's from multiple squirrels, but I could not confirm. [00:07:16] Kate: [00:07:16] Yeah. Maybe just a serial biter squirrel. [00:07:18] Brendan: [00:07:18] Yeah. Just go. And just malicious. Yeah. What are some other animals that you've had encounters with? [00:07:27]Kate: [00:07:27] Instead I've had encounters with, I guess they could be dangerous that they weren't cheap, especially when they're like running or in mating season. [00:07:35] And when the males are. Butting heads. Like I bet if you got too close to them, you could have a really bad day. [00:07:41]Brendan: [00:07:41] I think that the biggest danger, well, I don't think one's going to like challenge you to like a headbutting competition, but I've get kicking rocks off is probably the biggest danger that they pose. [00:07:51] Kate: [00:07:51] Yeah. Was the elk on the South rim. They freak me out a little bit. Cause like, they'll just hang out right next to the road and then step, step into it. Cause they're so used to having cars around, they don't care at all. . Yeah. And then they can get pretty aggressive during the rut or when calving season. [00:08:07] Brendan: [00:08:07] Yeah. Yeah. And I also think with grand Canyon, everyone's like super aware of like snakes and Mount lions and scorpions and herbivore. You're like, whatever, like I'm going to put my kid on the elk. [00:08:19] Kate: [00:08:19] Yeah. And then we have the bison on the North rim. We haven't had any like bison verse human incidents, but we have had a Car versus bison on the North rim and the deer and the cattle [00:08:31] Brendan: [00:08:31] The Road from Jacob Lake to gGrand Canyon. North rim is also known as the deer slalom, which is accurate. [00:08:40] Yeah. I always try to avoid driving on it at dusk or dawn last year. Cause it was always like a white knuckle drive. ] that freaks me out. Just thinking about it. All right. Moving on. Who owns grand Canyon? That's a tricky one, because as you mentioned before, there's grand Canyon national park, which is owned by the U S government native American reservation land as well. [00:09:05] Kate: [00:09:05] So you mentioned the Haulapai Tribe in Grand Canyon and then the Havasupai have land in Grand Canyon as well. But the Grand Canyon is also affiliated with 11 different tribes who have historically or culturally have significance at grand Canyon. So really who owns it is not a simple question to answer. [00:09:29] Brendan: [00:09:29] Does grand Canyon have trees? [00:09:31] Kate: [00:09:31] Yes. [00:09:31] Brendan: [00:09:31] Does grand Canyon go through Colorado? [00:09:34] Kate: [00:09:34] No. [00:09:34] Brendan: [00:09:34] Does grand Canyon have water? [00:09:36]Kate: [00:09:36] Yes. So much water. [00:09:38] Brendan: [00:09:38] I think people come down here and they're like, there's water everywhere. Cause they're in like Bright Angel Canyon and you have bright angel Creek and you have the Colorado river, but then you get on Tonto and you can look at the river, but you can't get to the river. [00:09:51] Kate: [00:09:51] Yeah. It's just their view. [00:09:54] [00:09:54] Brendan: [00:09:54] I have drank out of some questionable potholes where there's like green scum and man. After we're hiking on the Tonto all day in summer you're like this pothole, is amazing [00:10:06] delicious [00:10:07] Kate: [00:10:07] scum water, [00:10:08]Brendan: [00:10:08] Grand Canyon flavoring. [00:10:10] Kate: [00:10:10] How much time do you need at Grand Canyon? [00:10:13] Brendan: [00:10:13] I think the average visitor not counting, driving spends less than 10 minutes on the rim, but that's understandable. Cause they usually have a lot of places to go to. We're also people are just driving down the road and they're like, see Grand Canyon, like. 70 miles and then just like turn off of route 40. [00:10:33] So I think it's totally up to you. I would say at least a couple hours at least, but very famous thing. And this wasn't here. This was where someone went to a visitor center in Yosemite national park. And they say, Oh, we only have two hours at . What should we do? And apparently the ranger said, you see that rock over there, go sit on that rock and wheat, because he only have two hours at you, 70 national park. [00:10:59] So I would say as much as you can any length of time you can afford a Grand Canyon is worth it. Even if it is just like 10 minutes. Yeah. Alternatively people have literally spent their entire lives. So, you know, it's up to you really? [00:11:16] Kate: [00:11:16] Why is Grand Canyon called Grand Canyon? [00:11:19] Brendan: [00:11:19] It had a bunch of different names for a while. But I think John Wesley Powell, who did an expedition via the river through Grand Canyon was kind of credited naming for it. But I think it had a bunch of different names way before Grand Canyon, but that's the name that just kind of stuck? I don't even think John Wesley Powell is like a hundred percent confirmed with naming Grand Canyon, but yeah. [00:11:44] Kate: [00:11:44] Why Grand Canyon famous? [00:11:48] Brendan: [00:11:48] Cause it's very big. I think that's it right? [00:11:54]Kate: [00:11:54] Like, look at all those layers, [00:11:57]Brendan: [00:11:57] but I guess it's also famous because the miners didn't make any money here. They're like, Oh yeah, giant hole in the ground. We're going to find the gold and then didn't find gold, we're going to find trying to silver and they didn't find any silver. So, and they did find a lot of copper, but they couldn't really make any money off it, but then they had all these sweet trails. I think they were just really good promoters of the grand Canyon. So that could be another way. [00:12:23] Let me know if you've got the sun before grand Canyon coins kill you. [00:12:28] Kate: [00:12:28] I actually haven't gotten that one. [00:12:30] Brendan: [00:12:30] It's a weird question. [00:12:33] Kate: [00:12:33] From the Condor signs? I typed in grand Canyon. And then the third one was the coins. Kill you. Question Mark. I think that might be referencing cause there's a couple of signs, like at Mather point and then plateau point has it as well in the Canyon, we're talks about how if you throw coins into the Canyon, so sort of wishing, well, California Condors will eat them cause they like to eat shiny things and then it's super bad for them. It can kill them. [00:12:59] Brendan: [00:12:59] I always thought it was like an empire state building thing where grand Canyon so big. If you Chuck a penny off the ramp, it's going to like accelerate and then like hit someone in since it fell so far. It's like traveling at like the speed of a bullet, which isn't true because think, I don't think 5,000 feet like a penny. It would probably hurt, but it wouldn't kill you. [00:13:19] Kate: [00:13:19] I don't know. [00:13:20] Brendan: [00:13:20] But also grand Canyon. Isn't like a straight pit in the ground. No, there's a few spots where you could maybe get it to go fast enough, but like most of the times it's going to hit rock. What about it? Two weeks, probably a thousand feet, 2000 feet to the river. [00:13:33] That's pretty good. That's no higher than like the empire state building. I actually don't know how tall the empire state building. [00:13:39] So I have a book from a former river guide and park ranger, and this is some of the. Questions he's been asked. So let me know what you feel about these. So grand Canyon, when do they turn the lights on in the Canyon? [00:13:58] Kate: [00:13:58] I'm trying to come up with a funny answer [00:14:02] Brendan: [00:14:02] how many undiscovered ruins are there in the Canyon? [00:14:08]Why did they build the Canyon so close to the hotel? [00:14:12] Kate: [00:14:12] It's better for the tourists. Yeah. [00:14:15] Brendan: [00:14:15] Why is the department of the interior, which is what we work for in charge of everything outside, [00:14:21] because naming has to be difficult. How old is a mule deer have to be before? It turns into a mule, a hundred years old, a hundred years old, but I've also gotten when what elevation do the mule deer turn into elk. [00:14:34] Yeah. Yeah. 7,000 feet, I guess. [00:14:40] What type of uniform does a cattle guard were asked by a passenger on a tour bus after seeing a cattle guard sign? [00:14:47] I think, well, we did talk about like dumb questions, but I don't really think there is a dumb question, your grand Canyon, because this is a truly strange place. [00:14:56] And I think despite like, there is like dozens upon dozens of books written about it. There is a lot that I don't think is really recorded well or like something you really can't just look up on the internet. So I think the only real place to learn about grand Canyon, it's just asking tons of questions, even if they're really, really dumb. How do you, how do you feel about that? [00:15:21] Kate: [00:15:21] I definitely feel like there are some questions that you pause and go like, huh? I wonder how you came to that conclusion, but ultimately yeah, if you've never been here before, it's really hard to understand the scale of this place. Hmm. And even just like, for me, who hikes in the Canyon quite a bit, I still don't understand the scale of this place. [00:15:39] Really. So a lot of questions just come from it being so different from anywhere else a person can go. Yeah. [00:15:47] Brendan: [00:15:47] So Kate thanks so much for answering some questions with me. [00:15:52] Kate: [00:15:52] Yeah. And we'll have to keep track of other questions we get. If you have any questions about grand Canyon, You can send them our way and we'll answer them in the future. [00:16:01] Brendan: [00:16:01] Yeah. We encourage really obscure and really weird questions and we will, and if you send them to us, we will try to answer them to the best of our ability. [00:16:09] Kate: [00:16:09] It'd be cool to do like a prize for somebody who sent the most out there question. [00:16:13] Brendan: [00:16:13] Yeah. Well, I think the common game that we know is like stump the ranger, or if you stumped the ranger, you like win. So yeah, if you can stump the ranger, well, we'll send you a condor sticker.

You ask - we find the answers together! After google-ing what were the most common questions people ask about Grand Canyon in online searches, rangers Kate and Brendan chat about common interests in the park.

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