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!


Notes from the Deep - Hiker Reflections from Havasupai Gardens


Jesse: Hey, this is Jesse. Today’s episode was recorded before the name change for Havasupai Gardens became official, so you’ll hear it referred to as Indian Garden. Enjoy the episode.

Intro music plays.

Brendan: A While back a green journal was thrown into a backpack on the South Rim and hiked down the Bright Angel trail to Indian Garden campground. From there, it was put inside an old ammo can and placed underneath the shady tree. The only prompt was a request to take a minute and reflect. After two years, the journal very much looks like it's been living in a Canyon. It's covered in red dirt. The cover is warped, and it looks like it's been rained on a few times and has several stains on it, including one labeled ramen broth. Inside, the book is now filled cover to cover with hundreds of names, drawings, poems, and stories. Reading it is like opening a tiny window into Indian Garden. Hikers talk about how nice the Creek is, how much their feet hurt and how they are not looking forward to going uphill. People also share about their lives at home, how much they love their hiking partners and why they traveled all over the world just to see this Canyon. These are thoughts and ideas that are shared amongst strangers and are only found in this worn out log book. So let's look into the thoughts of people who for many different reasons found themselves in the middle of Grand Canyon.

Female Voice: Kind thoughts, kind words, kind actions. This is my favorite place in the world. Much love C L H heart peace smiley face 9/28/19

Male Voice: Thursday, October 10th, Joe, the sublime pleasure of connecting with our planet on such a personal and deep level. I am humbled by this experience.

Beware of the squirrel. They're getting frisky. I'm pretty sure they like men as they only started showing up after we took off our shirts, but don't let your guard down. Don't turn your back. We just barely survived a surprise attack from behind. They distracted us in the front while others moved in for the kill. They're surrounding us. We've thrown almost every rock we can find, but they run low. Their chitters are all we can hear, now. If you can read this run. Escape before they trap you, we won't survive, but maybe you can. Don't let them smell your fear.

My feet hurt, but I am happy.

Female Voice: A love story. 3/15/20. In the late 1980s, Wade and Jill were both on separate camping trips with their friends in the Canyon. The group set up camp close to one another here at Indian Garden. Wade and Jill met and started talking. The next day, Jill took off early and Wade's group missed her. So Wade got Jill's friend's number from the camping permit left behind. He called her, connected with Jill from there, and the rest is history. They had me in 97 and at the age of 22, this is my first time here. What a special place to be. You can feel and start to understand the powers of the earth and sky that made the place what it is. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty of this point in time, how comforting it is to feel something bigger than ourselves. The river will keep carving its way through, even if we're not here to see it. And life can be serendipitous two East coasters meet in the Arizona desert and fall in love. It is so wonderful to be here with good friends. Love remains in my life. I am grateful for this moment to just take it all in. Love always, Ellen.

Once quatro dos mil y noventa. Hello America, I'm Chilean. Nuestras. Visitas son marvillosa. Nos Encanto estas a venturas. Se vasa Chile desos visitas Torres Del Paines. Chile!

Male Voice: I don't know who dug this hole, but they were very strong.

Day three in Grand Canyon. Highlight of the trip was the contents of my stomach yesterday. Biscuits, gravy, two IPA's, and loaded potato soup. Fuel for a great hike with great guys. Joe.

We took a trip and down, we went into the Canyon, deep. We've stepped and strode and striding stood with every guided leap. We made our way into the depth where water met the land And on the Colorado made our castles made of sand. So out we trekked our legs were wrecked, but slowly step-by-step, We'll make it out and smile about the memories we've kept.

Female Voice: 9/24/19 I'm with my dad and mom, bro. Smiley face . I never hike alone. I'm nine. And if you saw the other page with the people go upside down, don't judge him. He's my bro. I live in Alberta and doing a three-day hike. My dad did a long run. I come from Lefberg. It's really windy. Drink lots of water and eat salty. Stay hiking, stay wild. Little Sis.

Male Voice: 17 January, 2020. First time at the Grand Canyon. This place is absolutely magnificent. So incredibly humbling. I feel so lucky to be here and particularly lucky to get a last minute corridor campground permit from the back country office the morning after I arrived. This little mission was a bit spontaneous. This has inspired me to prioritize time in nature, even higher for my remaining four weeks in your beautiful country. Hiking through here by myself has given me a wonderful opportunity to think and reflect. A thought, which has come to mind is that if we pursue only our own self interests and well-being, we ultimately will not be fulfilled. When we devote ourselves in whatever shape or form to the wellbeing of others and contribute to something greater than ourselves fulfillment and happiness will come. Let our values, our core values, guide our actions. Happy hiking, William New Zealand.

Female Voice: 3/16/20 As someone who is a local and has hiked the Canyon a number of times, it never ceases to amaze. The world seems to be in chaos, but some truths do not change. The Canyon heals your mind and body if you allow it. The Canyon has stood the test of time. You will not. There is more in the grand scheme of things than you and I will ever comprehend. Be kind to all people. Much love.

Brendan: And that was the last entry. There’s more entries we didn't record it, but what stood out is this theme of kindness. People wrote so much about being kind to each other, to the Canyon, to themselves, with everything. Why do you think the hikers all chose to do that? What is a moment of kindness in your life that has stuck with you?

Jesse: The Behind the Scenery Podcast is brought to you by the interpretation team at Grand Canyon National Park. Music in this episode by Cooper-Moore. We gratefully acknowledge the Native People on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

In 2018 a journal was hiked to Havasupai Gardens. A prompt asked hikers to take a moment to reflect. People filled the journal with drawings, poems, and stories. In this episode of Behind the Scenery, listen as visitors reflect on their experiences, what brought them to the Canyon, and what they will take away.

This episode was recorded before the Havasupai Gardens name change became official. Visit our website to learn more: bit.ly/3SZETOm

Music in this episode by Cooper-Moore: bit.ly/3mGOKwk

In the Backcountry with Rich Rudow


Rich Rudow: I spend probably 70 or 80 days a year below the rim these days. (Acoustic guitar fades in) Jesse Barden: That’s probably more than most rangers and you certainly get into some really remote wild places. Rich: It was probably 10 years of getting acquainted with the canyon, and hiking trails, and then we started to go off trail from there, and it just kept progressing. Kate Hensel: My name is Kate and you’re listening to an episode of Behind the Scenery, Canyon Cuts. Jesse joined me in interviewing Rich Rudow, a famed canyon explorer. (Acoustic guitar fades out) Rich: Rich Rudow, and I’ve been coming up to the canyon for thirty years now, going places and learning about things. My first experience with Grand Canyon was in 1989 my wife bought my uncle and I a river trip. We launched at Lees Ferry in June with Hatch and travelled down the river for a week and were pulled out by helicopter at Whitmore. Like a lot of commercial trips still are today up to Bar 10 Ranch. During that weeklong introduction you quickly realize, you do these side hikes, and we did all of the typical side hikes that most folks do that are on a river trip. Like going up Saddle Canyon in the Marble area, going to Elves Chasm, and Deer Creek, Havasu, places like that. So I had that customary commercial river trip experience. I was just enthralled with the place. Every time that we would hike to an attraction site I would be asking the boatmen “What’s up there? Can’t we go further?” And I always got this puzzled look. Ultimately at some point in that week the river guides at the time, I still remember them, said “you know you really just get Harvey Butchart’s book and learn about this place. Jesse: Just to give folks listening some context Harvey Butchart is considered the most prolific Grand Canyon hiker in the modern era. He hiked over 10,000 miles in Grand Canyon and pioneered or rediscovered many rim-to-river routes. Rich: And so when I got out of the canyon, my brother-in-law and I both had a real interest in hiking at that point. We were in our late 20s, I guess. So, we just started hiking the trails that everybody hikes. Starting with Bright Angel, and South Kaibab, and doing a rim to rim, down South Kaibab up North Kaibab. And ultimately as you scroll through the 90s I’m reading Harvey’s book about these routes and we started to get more interested in going off trail and doing some of these routes that Harvey had talked about in his very terse prose. Jesse: There’s often a moment when you realize just how meaningful each word in every sentence is for Harvey Butchart. Did you have one of those moments? Rich: (laughs) Oh yeah! I think one time…this is probably 2001, I’m kind of guessing on time frames here, it was close to 20 years ago. My brother-in-law Dale and I had the idea to go off Swamp Point and down Saddle Canyon into the Tapeats Amphitheater and we had never done that. George had actually talked about that trip. Jesse: George Steck connected horizontally through the canyon a lot of Harvey’s rim-to-river routes. Rich: But the idea was to go down to junction of Crazy Jug and Saddle Canyon and then exit this route that goes out of Crazy Jug Canyon up to the esplanade layer. And then traverse the esplanade level towards Bridger’s Knoll but go out this sneak route in between Crazy Jug and Bridger’s Knoll. So we had this grand plan, and it was a mixture of some stuff that George and Harvey had written about. And we were depending on Harvey’s terse prose for the Redwall break to get out of Crazy Jug and then to get up the rim break to get out between Crazy jug and Bridger’s Knoll. So we were following George’s instructions down Saddle Canyon and had a great time and found water. We’re sitting there that first night kind of reading Harvey’s sentence and a half on this exit out of Crazy Jug, of this Redwall break, near the mouth of Crazy Jug. And I was starting to get nervous about this whole enterprise because it was super hot. It was well over a hundred degrees. The thinking was, if we missed we’re probably okay and you know retreating a different way but really didn’t want to do that so we weren't having this debate about the meaning of six words and Harvey put in a sentence and a half. And so we finally decided we would give it a try and we tanked up with 8 liters of water to go up this Redwall break because it was hot we weren't gonna find water we knew once we Got the Esplanade so we found the Redwall break and scrambled up to the top of the Esplanade in a relatively straightforward way, we were pretty pleased with ourselves. But we realized you know that we're down to about 3 liters of water at that point and so we made a run for, we’re on Esplanade level at the edge of Crazy Jug Canyon and we’re going to traverse the Esplanade to a rim break, a break in the Coconino that Harvey had written about and so you know we’re traversing across its 105° probably and I remember its two o’clock in the afternoon we're both down to about a liter and a half, we’re sitting under a juniper tree trying to catch the smallest shade, trying to catch any shade at that point. Looking at the Coconino cliffs and having this debate about what Harvey's words meant because we weren't picking up the break. We didn't visually see the break and at that point it was like, well this is really a big problem if we make a guess at what Harvey really means, and we can get to the base of the Coconino and it doesn't go we’re really in big trouble. We don't have the water to make a try at it and then retreat any place we’d be in big trouble. So, we finally kind of cursed Harvey and decided the safe route would be to make our way around Bridges Knoll and connect with the Thunder River Trail and then go out the Bill Hall Trail to the rim. We did that, the whole-time kind of thinking oh man this is really long way, we could have saved ourselves hours and hours and hours of hiking in the heat had we had we had some certainty about what Harvey was really talking about. So by the time we connected with the Thunder River Trail we were out of water and it's I don't know 6 at night in the middle of summer it's still really, really hot and of course we remembered that people leave water caches on that route. We found a gallon jug of water that had a date that was 2 years old. We figured this one was fair game. We were both just so thirsty we were taken a swig, and the water was so hot water, it was like drinking water out of your shower as it comes out of the hot water spigot. But uh, that saved us, and we topped out of the Bill Hall Trail 9 or 10 at night or something in the dark. The whole time was hours and hours of discussion about what Harvey really meant by those six words. And of course, it bothered us so much that we came back a few weeks later bound and determined to find that Coconino break and we did. And it didn't turn out to be that hard. And so we would go do some of these routes and see more things and learn more things and we would just getting more interested, it was like this place had a magnetic pull that got stronger with each trip that you did. Jesse: It's funny like, you know, there's the puzzle of trying to parse those six words and then the puzzle of looking at the potential route and often in Grand Canyon there are things that look like from a distance there's no way it goes but actually are pretty easy and then the reverses is often also true where it looks like it goes and it's going to be pretty easy but actually doesn't go at all. Rich: Yeah that's right there a lot of these routes that Harvey found that from a distance just look like complete no goes, no way it's going to work, and when you get up and start climbing around -- and that’s how a lot of routes are. I mean, I found some routes in the canyon that are really really fascinating intricate routes that you would think had no way that they would possibly go. And you on these routes and you'll find a stick stuck in a crack or you'll find couple rocks stacked on each other and you immediately realize it was an ancient Indian route and it totally goes. One route in the western part of the canyon it took me four years to put it together and you know just poking at it from the bottom up from the river and poking at it from the top down for the rim. And the crux was between the Supai and the bottom of the Redwall, the rest is pretty easy so if it took about four years and maybe I don't know half a dozen trips to kind of piece it all together and realize that it really could go. And then, of course, you know you figure it all out you start to find signs that you know the Ancestral Puebloans were there and they use the route too. Jesse: Yeah, I think chances are if it goes somebody else has been there. Rich: Yeah, That’s right. (Canyon Wren song) Rich: You know we started doing things where, you know, Harvey would talk about well, you know, a hand line would be great or you know you need a short rope there to lower a pack. And George Steck talked about the same things. So we started doing these routes where you know, that were harder and where there was a little climbing involved and you're using some ropes either as a handline or to lower packs and ultimately we started to get more and more confident with that and started to do some things with short rappels involved and I guess some point maybe 1999 or 2000 my wife got nervous about hearing these stories about what me and her brother were doing. And she thought we were not educated enough to be doing hard things so she bought us rock climbing lessons, which turned out to be just another faster slide accelerating down the slippery slope because once we got some training on what to do with ropes and gear we bought longer ropes and more gear and would go do harder stuff. And so, ultimately, that kind of morphed into checking out some canyons that you know really didn't have good beta or that were hard and involved some anchors and some repelling. You know by maybe 2005 or 2006 I’d become acquainted with Todd Martin and Todd and I had lots of mutual interests and one of them was the idea that there were a lot of slot canyons in the in the Redwall Limestone layers that probably hadn't been seen before. And we got really interested in in these places because some of these canyons we were going into were just stunningly beautiful and so the more we did this the more we got enthusiastic about just finding more of these Canyons and we just kept going and going and going. Any given adventure that we take these days you know sometimes…we did one in October of last year so just about a year ago not quite and I ended up blowing out my rotator cuff on a climb in this Canyon but it was a canyon that hadn’t been done before and we had a 600 foot rope with us. You know it just seems to spiral deeper and deeper into the abyss and you discover the place is so big you never find the bottom. Jesse: A 600 foot rope is a pretty punishing load to be carrying through Grand Canyon. So in all your time exploring Grand Canyon what do you think is the most important thing to know or one of the most important things to know if you're traveling off trail in the canyon? Rich: Well by far the most important thing to know is where to get water. I think that’s the problem in the canyon. There have been instances where I have walked by a water source, you know, a hundred feet away and never knew it was there and found it four years later and like wondered how could I have missed this? But, it’s pretty easy to miss water. Jesse: Yeah sure can be, surprisingly, especially those potholes where there's not necessarily as much growing around it as there would be a spring. You can’t spot it from a distance. Rich: Potholes are interesting on the Esplanade. It’s not intuitively obvious which ones actually dry up first and which ones might have water longer-term. You know there are some clues that you can get but I've actually gone to some really big potholes that are eight feet deep, and you’d swear they have to be holding water for a long time and they’re dry as a bone and two hundred feet away there’s a pothole with 3 inches of water, It's very minor so it's not obvious where those you know where those potholes are that hold water either. Jesse: So you said you've been hiking and traveling in Grand Canyon for about 30 years in that time like what are some of the changes that you've noticed? Rich: The threats to the canyon seem to just increase year-over-year the threats from developers especially. The idea of Building a tram at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River for example. The threats from uranium mining are still ongoing. There’s a mine that has big tailings piles that are exposed to the elements in a bowl basically a breccia pipe bowl that feeds into Parashant Canyon that's kind of an open source sitting there today. And Parashant runs right into the Grand Canyon and into the Colorado River this particular mine goes down this drainage through the Supai and then it starts to cut a Slot Canyon into the Redwall and we call that slot canyon, it’s never been published, we call it Radioactive. It’s a beautiful canyon, it’s stunning, but when you go through that slot canyon you can look down in the water or in the gravels and you can pick up big pieces of copper. And so the mine’s called The Copper Mountain Mine and they first discovered copper there and mined it for copper and then in the 50s realized that there was uranium. It kicked into a full-blown uranium mine and they stop mining uranium there in 1974. To this very day there's been no remediation done at that site at all and so you know if I can look in in the waters and the gravels of this beautiful slot canyon and pick up copper, I'll guarantee you there’s uranium in there too, I just don't know what it looks like. There’re some old wounds, the Orphan Mine is another perfect example. No matter how much money they end up spending you know through the Superfund Site funds you know remediation of something like that once it's gone wrong is almost impossible, it's really hard, and they've been spending millions and millions of dollars at the Orphan Mine over years trying to remediate that site to keep uranium from leaching in the water and it's still an ongoing project. They haven't even started on this site that I'm talking about, probably never will, it's kind of far enough out there that nobody really thinks about it. So certainly some of these threats are kind of accelerating in there I guess maybe in the frequency or the audacity of some of the developers to do things whether it's mining uranium or building a giant retail shopping space and homes in Tusayan where a lot of water’s required or building the tramway at the confluence. The idea that something the size of the Grand Canyon is large enough that it can't be impaired by man is really a folly. We continue to demonstrate that we can impair that place in a lot of different ways. Jesse: So, Rich, the last question we have for you. What do you hope for the future of Grand Canyon? Rich: I really hope that we have status quo for the future. That the various crazy development ideas that come along don't happen you know we don't need more development of a canyon. There are very very few places where you got large swaths of undeveloped wilderness and the Grand Canyon is probably the preeminent place in the lower 48 where you can literally go get lost. And I think there's some real value in that and I think that the public deserves to have a place that lives up to the ideals of the Organic Act and when the Park Service you know, when Grand Canyon was selected to be a National Park and what the idea of the National Park is. So I hope there isn’t any development at the confluence and there isn’t development in any other part of the canyon. And I would hope that someday there's some more balanced ideas around the aviation tourism problem that’s ruining the western part of the park. That is a reversible problem that does not have to continue and I think, you know, if people start thinking about striking a better balance I think that there is a way for the Hualapai Trip to get the economic benefits that they desperately need. So, I hope for the status quo. I don’t want to see the canyon developed or improved anymore. I don't think we can improve it more. There are obviously a few exceptions. I think the pipeline that provides drinking water to the canyon really needs to be fixed. We ought to come up with the money to do some basic infrastructure things because people do have a right to come see the park and enjoy it and then they ought to have a right to see parts of it by automobile or public transportation or whatever. You’ve got to have drinking water as a basic piece of infrastructure that has to exist so certainly continuing to invest and improve the infrastructure of the park has in the corridor area I think it is important, but I don't think we want to have any other big developments in other parts of the part that don't exist today. (Acoustic guitar fades in) Kate: 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. 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. (Acoustic guitar fades out) Jesse: I really wanted to get that like dun-dadun-dun-dadun- dun Recorded phone music and message “Your passcode has been confirmed”

Ever wondered what secrets are hiding way down in the depths of Grand Canyon? That curiosity has driven Rich Rudow to spend over 1,000 nights below the rim. On the latest episode of the Behind the Scenery podcast, Rich talks about getting his start in backcountry hiking, canyoneering first descents, and his hopes for the future of Grand Canyon National Park.

We are the Rangers (and Friends)


(Sung) We are the rangers, my friends And we’ll guard the park, till the end We are the rangers We welcome strangers No time for losers ‘Cause we are the rangers … of the park!

Overlayed quotes:

Doug: Because I like national park views, I like breathing national park fresh air, but mostly, I wanted the low pay. Emily It was a little bit of Eat, Pray, Love. I quit my job and I sold my house and bought a plane ticket to Europe (chuckle).

Jeffery Rocky Mountain National Park ruined my life it’s the least you can do is to hire me

Ron “…I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up”

(song ends)

Hannah: Hi there. I’m ranger Hannah. And welcome to our Podcast episode: We Are the Rangers, and Friends / What Do You Want To Be When you Grow Up?

I know for me, I wanting to be a violin teacher at one point which didn’t make sense because I have never played the violin, but I thought it would be cool. After that I tended to just want to be a teacher. And I know for a lot of people we get asked that question quite a bit even into our early twenties and later on. We constantly get asked what do you want to be when you grow up?

We talked to some park visitors, some kids and young adults and ask them what they want to be when they grew up. We’ve got some clips throughout this episode of answering that question.

I even talked to some of my co-workers that have changed career paths and became a park ranger later on. And when it comes to changing or being a park ranger in general there are some down sides to the profession that we’ll discuss within this episode. And as a park ranger you do tend to sacrifice stuff for your dream job. What would you sacrifice for your dream job?

I’m early in my career at the age of 25. And for me, getting into the Park Service I started with internships at two parks: Great Basin and Capitol Reef. And now I’m here at North Rim finally in the uniform. And I’ve met some cool people here, even my co-worker Doug.

At the age of 70, he celebrated his 50th season in the parks. Half of that time was in Oregon State Parks and the other half was with National Parks. Here’s worked at 14 different Parks. He’s the inspiration for this episode, so let’s bring in Doug.

Hey Doug.

Doug: Hey, how ya doing, Hannah. Thanks for inviting me to join you.

Hannah: My question for you is, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Doug: Well I wanted to be a park ranger. I figured that out pretty early in life, because I like National Park views, I like breathing National Park fresh air, but mostly I wanted the low pay!

Hannah: That’s not something people always want.

Doug: I know. Obviously, that’s a joke. But the listeners don’t know a lot about you and me. So why don’t we share a little bit about our background how we got into the parks.

Hannan: Oooo, how about we do that via song?

Doug: Okay. And I do have my guitar with me. I’m thinking of a John Prine/Bonnie Raitt song: Ranger From Grand Canyon. What do you think?

H: I’m totally in.

D: Let’s do it!

Doug singing:

I am on old ranger Been doing at this a while My hat is the flat one Worn with pride and with style

(Spoken) I Had dreams of rangerin’ Since being a kid, you know Now it’s 50 years later (sung) Yes, a long time ago

(duet: Hannah and Doug) Make me a ranger That works at Grand Canyon Make me a poster Of rangers at work

I just feel so grateful For all I hold on to This ranger profession It ain’t no hard way to go

H: (spoken) When I was a young girl I wanted a career I needed me some Nature to (sung) Always be near

First as a Intern Now I get paid As a real park ranger I’ve really, got it made

(duet) Make me a ranger That works at Grand Canyon Make me a poster Of rangers at work

I just feel so grateful For all I hold on to This ranger profession It ain’t no hard way to go

D: But now I’m much older Yes, still rangerin’ you say My old legs still can hike This Canyon today

H: How the heck can a ranger Not love the Grand Canyon When they think of the time Spent in this awesome career

(duet) Make me a ranger That works at Grand Canyon Make me a poster Of rangers at work

I just feel so grateful For all I hold on to This ranger profession It ain’t no hard way to go

This ranger profession It ain’t no hard way to go

H: It was a lot of fun singing that song. But I do want to some voices of the visitors that I mentioned earlier. So let’s hear what those kids have to say.

-My name is Luke and I’m 10 years old and I want to be a realtor when I grow up -Mattie, four, doctor -My name is Lyla, I’m 14 and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. -My name is Tyler. I’m 22 years old and I want to be an audiologist when I grow up. -Hello. I’m Logan. I’m 10 years old. I want to be a rocket scientist.

H: I’m excited to hear more of those voices throughout the episode from the kids. Hey Doug, Let’s bring in Emily.

D: Okay yeah, she is a park ranger here at the North Rim. But let me give you a little bit of her background because you’ll find she has a very compelling story.

She’s an amateur athlete and scholar. She’s completed three full triathlon races. Get this, she’s completed 40 marathon races in 25 different states all by the time she turned age 40.

H: Whooo!

D: I know. Impressive. She has won academic scholarships. I guess you could call her an honors graduate. She has one Bachelor’s degree and two Masters. Then, she had a mid-life career change.

H: That is a lot! On top of that, she has one of the best laughs here at the North Rim.

D: Yeah, I agree completely. So let’s bring her in and let her tell her own story. But be prepared for a National Park surprise at the end.

Emily: My name is Emily. I’m 43 years old and I’m a Preventative Search and Rescue Ranger here on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I came to the North Rim in 2017, after a career in finance and talent management. I was on a little break from my urban life where I had a career and a house and all the happiness and fulfilment you would expect from a corporate-type job. But after a series of events in my personal life, I just wanted to take some time off and travel. My Mom had been sick and I was just having a seize the day moment. It was a little bit of Eat, Pray, Love. I quit my job and sold my house. And bought a plane ticket to Europe. And started traveling. And I gave myself about twelve months based on how much money I had saved up. Thinking you know that I would have some fun. And then I would be inspired to pick a new place and set up my life in a different town but probably doing the something similar to what I had been doing.

I was a C.P.A for a while and then I also got a Masters in Organization Development. I worked in the field of talent management and leadership development. And it was really fulfilling. I just needed a break. And so I was actually living down in Tucson in an Airstream trailer working as an accountant and the job contract ended. And I saw an email for a job here at the North Rim with the Conservancy. And you had to live in your RV because that was the only housing up here. And it didn’t pay a whole lot. But you got to work in the Visitor Center and live in the park. And I just thought that sounded like the perfect little get away.

So I moved up here and it was only for about eight weeks at the end of the season. And I got to rub shoulders with all the interp rangers working in the Visitor Center. I hiked every trail. I was an Ironman triathlete at the time so just biked all over the plateau and ran all the trails and I hiked across the canyon. And just absolutely fell in love with it. But I didn’t know how to become a ranger you know, coming from a background in like accounting. So I talked to some of the interp staff and they gave me a little bit of guidance. And I went down and spent the winter as a volunteer trail crew worker because I knew I needed something more like outdoorsy on my resume for people to be interested in me as a park ranger.

So I ended up coming back that next summer again to work for the Conservancy because I hadn’t gotten any interviews with the Park Service. And I was all set to come back and live in my RV and a week before I was scheduled to drive back to the North Rim for the season I got a phone call from someone at Yosemite asking if I wanted to come work in one of their campgrounds for the summer.

So, I did like a quick pivot. I did come up here for like a month because there was like background check waiting period on boarding stuff. And so in July I left the North Rim, which I loved, to go work at Yosemite. And the staff here was so excited for me. They had a big going away party. They were just really supportive and knew that is would be a great opportunity. And you know, hopefully I could come back to Grand Canyon after I got in with the agency.

I spent a couple summers working in fees operations. And in the winter season, I kept trying to build that like outdoorsy resume. And I would go volunteer to work in the backcountry.

I got my EMT certification, ‘cause I knew that was something they were looking for to work in these remote districts. And finally, I guess the winter of 20/21, I got a phone call from the district interpreter up her who I was friends with. Cause I kept coming back. I had a lot of friends and I kept coming back all the time to do these volunteer jobs in the off-season. And she asked me if I want to come work for her doing interpretation down in the inner canyon.

And I just thought that was like the dream job to like actually work down in Phantom Ranch. Put on the uniform every day.

And I’m not going to say it was easy. I hiked 14 miles to Phantom Ranch every week and then back out every week. And we were super, super busy. The world had kinda like started traveling again after the pandemic. But I learned so much and the people that I got to work with down in the bottom of the canyon are like legendary. Some of the rangers down there have been doing it for decades and they are just so professional, and they are so savvy. And they were really welcoming. And you know, taught me everything I need to know about being a canyon ranger.

So I loved it and I thought about what I wanted to do because that summer we spent so much time doing like medicals, like search and rescue those kind of calls. And that was always when I got the most excited. And so, thinking about what I wanted to do the next season, I really wanted to focus on emergency services. And the park had sent me to firefighting school, And then I had an opportunity to get my advanced EMT certification. And so I ended up staying up here on the rim this summer.

It is basically like my dream job. I get to ride mountain bikes. I get to go hiking all the time. I get to go down the trail and help people. And then I work on the ambulance and the fire engine when we need it up here in the developed area.

But it wasn’t easy. It was like, really five years of very strategic moves to get the right kind of skill set to network with the right people. I definitely like started over kind of at the bottom coming from the place where I had a lot of master’s degrees, and you know job experience out in the private sector. It didn’t mean a whole lot trying to come and work here. I really kind of re-invented myself. And it was difficult, and it was a little bit intimidating. But I knew it was what I wanted. I had some really great people along the way who encouraged me and helped open some doors and provide opportunities. And really and truly, I can say I have my dream job now.

D: Now there are some downsides and challenges. Do you want to talk a little bit about those, being a park ranger at the North Rim?

E: Yeah, I mean we are very isolated. We are like 80 miles to the closest town. And you can’t like just run out to the store if you ran out of eggs or something. But we have such a tight knit community, and everyone really supports each other. I had no idea what to expect. When I moved up here, I was told there’s no internet, there’s no cell signal. Bring a lot of books. Like, there’s not a whole lot to do.

But like infrastructure has improved the last couple of years. And we do have pretty decent satellite internet these days. But that first summer I did. It totally got me outside. It got me socializing with my neighbors. So what kinds seemed like a downside, like the connectivity issue, it really just created a different bond than I was used to.

I’ve met some really wonderful friends and co-workers up here.

D: And Emily, what advice would you give to folks that are mid-career and are thinking of taking the drastic, making the drastic change?

E: You know, I was poised for something different in my life. Like I had enough kind of stressors that were like maybe you need a break. Maybe you need something to change.

And so if anybody is feeling like, they are just a little unsettled and want to try something on for size, coming and working at the Park Service is honestly really kind of low commitment.

The seasons are short. You can often get a volunteer job easier than getting a paying job. And so if you have some savings and can come and spend a month or two months you know just trying something on, and getting to know the community, it’s just a great networking opportunity. And it’s low commitment.

If you come up for a month or two and you hate it and you want to nope I want to go back to my life. Like, no harm, no fowl. But everybody is always so welcoming. Like I met a new volunteer this morning. And just like hopped on bikes and we went around on like an orientation tour and got to know each other a little bit. I think that’s exactly what this place is.

D: Now do you have any surprises you want to share with our listeners in your personal life?

E: Well, moving up here I certainly did not think there was not going to be a large dating pool.

D: There definitely isn’t!

E: I think that can be a little bit of a bummer. I was a single gal in my 30s and I was obviously I was you know open to a relationship. And luckily, I ended up meeting a super nice ranger man. And we have done the long-distance thing for a couple of years. And now that we are both working on the North Rim we actually got engaged and are planning a wedding.

D: Well, good for you. Okay, thank you very much.

-I’m Knox and I’m 7 and I want to be a coach for soccer. -My name is Landen, I am 6 ½ years old and when I grow up I want to be a skimboarder. -My name is Amy, I’m 13 and I’m really not sure what I want to be when I grow up. -I’m Coen. I want to be a police officer. I am 5. -My name is Hailey. I am 8 years old and I want to be a scientist that explores space when I grow up.

H: That was a great story hearing from Emily.

D: How about ranger Jeffery?

H: He also has a great story too how he became a ranger here at the Grand Canyon

D: Let’s bring him in to hear his story.

Jeffery: I’m Jeffery and I’m 39. I grew up in rural Kansas Hannah: What do you want to be when you grow up? Jeffery: When I was in 5th or 6th grade, we had a career day and one of the local district court judges came for career day and she asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said I wanted to be a bond lawyer. That’s what my dad did and at the same time I wanted to be a solder. So I’ve missed both marks, by a fair bit. After I left high school, I went to the University of Kansas and I got an economics degree. And then I went to work at a public finance law firm in Kansas City, Missouri helping school districts and hospitals, county and cities with their bond issues. I took care of the bond issues after the bond had been issued. I helped them fulfill certain security laws and tax laws. And I did that for about ten years. Hannah: What got you into the park service? Jefferey: A buddy of mine that I ran with ask me if I wanted to go hike up Longs Peak that weekend. And I was like yeah sure. I’d never been hiking, I grew up hunting, but not hiking, anything like that. So off we went to Colorado from Kanas City. We drove all night. We got to the trailhead 5 or 6 in the morning and we hiked up to the boulder field and then we hiked down. And we came back to Kanas City the next day we slept for a couple hours and drove back. I had a really good time doing that and it was a lot of fun. Then a couple weeks later. I’m going to do that again. So I went back and I summited Long’s Peak. And later that summer I took a week off work and went hiking in different places in Colorado. And the hikes got longer, and longer, and further, and further, higher, and higher, and here I am working in a National Park. Doug: Well come on we need more than a little bit more details Jeffery: Well I kept working at the law firm I worked at for a couple more years. And realized I didn’t want to do that anymore. I worked with really good people, I had great clients, but the work was just boring. And I was done. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that point, but I was done. So I quit before I had a job. And I went hiking and climbing in Colorado for a couple of weeks to a month after I quit. And then I went to work on a contract position at H&R Block in their compliance group. I did not enjoy that work. So I went to work for a company, also in Kanas City, that did telecom taxation and that is exactly as awful as it sounds. And I did not enjoy it so I quit that job. But by that point I had the idea of becoming a seasonal ranger in my head. At the same time I wanted to be a teacher, and work with special ed kids. So I enrolled at Wichita State University. And went two semesters in their teacher ed program. And then decided I just wanted to be a ranger full time. And I got an email from Rocky Mountain National Park to work in the wilderness office. So I called who would become my boss and we had a wonderful two or three hour interview. It went on forever. And she goes well, “why should I hire you?”, “Well Rocky Mountain National Park ruined my life it’s the least you can do is to hire me” She like “What do you mean we ruined your life?” said, “Well I went for a hike here couple years ago and I climbed that mountain and I really haven’t come back off of it so it would be nice if the park could write me a check every couple weeks and give me a job.” And she said, “Your hired and we want to see you in two months.” And I lucked into working for a wonderful ranger and I fell into the wilderness. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the Park Service. I thought I wanted to be an interpretative park ranger. And I just backed into the wilderness and it just grabbed me. Heart and Soul and the next season I worked in the back country at Yosemite. And the next two seasons I worked in the wilderness at Rocky Mountain National Park. Taking care of the park that ruined my life. Doug: In a good way. Jeffery: In a wonderful way. Doug: Okay, so how did you end up at North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park? Jeffery: Well I was volunteering for the winter in interpretation on the south rim and I meet your guys boss. And she found out I worked in the wilderness. And she said “oh you should work for me on the north rim.” Hannah: Yes! Jeffery: She said “You’ll still be able to do search and rescue and all those things that you do, EMS,” “So well okay tell me more”, This was a ten minute conversation. This was not a long thing. And I asked her for a couple days to decide. “Yeah, I’ll come and work on the North Rim. I’ll give it a shot.” She said, “Come in the water is nice over here.” And that’s how I ended up on the North Rim. Hannah: So how do you feel about this career change and shift? ‘Cause I know you said Rocky Mountain ruined your life. Doug: in a good way Jeffery: It was very dramatic. And I was standing in wind swept on top of the mountain. It’s been a wonderful shift, I’m happier, I’m healthier, I make less but, I’m much happier it was a wonderful choice. And now I work in Facilities, maintenance so I am a janitor that drives a snowplow. And it’s wonderful. I mean I’ve been very fortunate to work in so many different divisions in the park service. Hannah: And you get to drive big cool vehicles. Jeffery: I do get to drive the snowplow, the loader, the backhoe, and the grader, the dump truck. I get to drive it all. Every little kid’s Tonka truck dream. Doug: Well there is lots of stereotypes and romanticized view of National Park Service life and working, and the lifestyle, so how does the stereotype romanticized view compare to reality from your perspective? Jeffery: It lived up to that romantic view for me. It really did. Doug: In what way? Jeffery: When I started at Rocky, we had two weeks of training in the beginning on the east side of the park with the main wilderness office. And for training a volunteer offered their enormous cabin outside of Estes Park for all of us to have two weeks of meetings. It had huge windows and it was snowing, and there was a herd of elk. We were, weren’t talking about how to use the software in the wilderness office. We were talking about why we want to take care of the wilderness, the philosophy behind the Park Service and we spent two weeks just talking about the mountains and the wilderness in this wonderful cabin. And that is how I started that was my first day of work. You can’t get more romantic than a herd of elk and the snowy Rocky Mountains. Hannah: Yeah Jeffery: And after that I worked in the wilderness for three seasons. So for my job I lived out of my backpack for 4-8 days at a time, wondering the hills. And helping hikers, search and rescue, I rode horses in the backcountry. It really was the kind of ranger that a lot of people have in their mind. I took care of the entire western half of Rocky Mountain National Park in the wilderness. That was mine. Doug: maybe some the challenges that you face living and working at place like North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Jeffery: Part of the biggest challenge working at on the North Rim, at Grand Canyon National Park, is, it’s an 80 mile trip to the grocery store one way and I usually drive further than that to get to St. George, instead of Kanab. That’s the most obvious hurdle. You know being out of milk, sugar, flour, or almond milk, whatever, it could be a while before you get some more. You know little things like that or I really want some pizza in January and it’s a long drive. And often I have to plow my way out to get groceries. I’ve driven the snowplow 45 miles to Jacob Lake got in my truck drove an additional 50 miles to the grocery store and then plowed my way back in. Hannah: What advice would you give to folks that want to become an employee at Grand Canyon someday? Jeffery: If they are not already working in the Park Service I would tell them to find the nearest national park to them or recreation area or preserve, or historic site, whatever and volunteer. That’s a great way to get started that’s how I got started. I volunteered at Tall Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. So go volunteer you have skills the National Park Service needs. We need interruptive rangers like Doug and Hannah. We need facilities people like me. We need law enforcement, we need firefighters, we need people to fix the copy machines desperately. We need IT, we need human resource, we need people who ran sewer plants. If a city has it we need it. It’s been a wonderful career change, I’ve been very fortunate. -Hi I’m Kennedy. I’m going to school to be a mechanical engineer. - My name is Caden. I’m 11 and I want to be an architect when I grow up. -My name is Mateo. I’m 10 years old and I want to be a vet when I grow up. -My name is Fiona. I am 10 years old. And I want to be a video game designer when I grow up. -My name is Katie. I’m 22 years old. And I want to be an environmental engineer when I grow up. -Ivy, 17 and a cosmetologist.

H: We just heard two dropouts of the corporate world now working here at North Rim.

D: Yea. Now ranger Ron also has an interesting story as well of how he joined the “We Are the Ranger’s” club. And like Jeffery, he had a mountain top experience that changed his life. Cause when he was a little boy, he was in the Boy Scouts, maybe in his teens and his troop had climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine.

H: Isn’t that the end of the famous Appalachian Trail?

D: Yea. About 2200 miles long, it stretches all the way from Georgia all the way to Maine. And Ron had a chance encounter with an Appalachian Trail hiker on the summit of Mount Katahdin who had just finished her hike. And this kinda planted a seed in young Ron’s head. That maybe. Someday … Who knows, the whole Appalachian Trail????

H: Let’s bring in Ron and let’s hear his whole story.

Ron: Hi I’m Ron. I’m 48. I’ve been volunteering with the Park Service for a few years now. Home for me is Pennsylvania, at least that’s where I’ve got family at and what the license plate says. But I’m a full time RVer, so home is wherever I happen to be parked.

Doug: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ron: It would have depended on when you asked me, I was one of those kids whose interest changed every couple months. At one point I might have said astronomer, astronaut, paleontologist, so really whatever I was interested in at the time I thought would be a career

Hannah: What was your life path before you entered Park Service and volunteering?

Ron: Well I went to college for a chemical engineering degree and after I got out of college I joined the Navy and did a career with them for 20 years.

I was what they call a Surface Warfare Officer, so I was on the officer side and that meant we were the people who were in charge driving and fighting ships, managing people and I finished up with my last job, I was the executive officer, the number two person for a training command over in Japan.

Doug: Wow, very good. So what happened after you retired from the U.S. Navy?

Ron: Went back to Pennsylvania started getting ready, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to do one of my lifelong dreams and hike the Appalachian trail. So I went and hiked the Appalachian Trail and by the time I was I done I decided rather than go back into the regular real world work force I would go ahead get an RV and start traveling and find volunteer opportunities.

Hannah: How did you end up at Grand Canyon?

Ron: It was mostly Park Service but I’ve also done some volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity while I’ve been on the road and with the Park Service it was just a matter of trying to get a position. Turns out it was harder than I thought it was, but I got my first position was with Fort Bowie. I actually worked at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site first just the way timing worked out. But from there I kinda jumped around parks. So I was at those two, I went to Fort Vancouver up in Washington. Voyagers National Park up in Minnesota, Everglades in Florida, and then found out there was a volunteer position open here at North Rim of Grand Canyon, so I put in for it.

Doug: And your life has gone downhill ever since you showed up, no I’m just kidding.

Everyone: Giggling/Chuckling

Doug: What’s some of the best parts and some of the more challenging parts for you to live the National Park lifestyle?

Ron: Some of the best parts is you get to live in absolutely amazing places and as opposed to just doing that quick trip you get to dig into the park and learn a whole lot more about it and explore it in a way you just can’t, even if you have a week that you spend at the park.

Downsides: beautiful areas often mean remote areas, so I’ve gotten to the point now that I would consider only one hour to get to the grocery store to be a short trip. And some of the stuff that you just get used to living near an area where you can go shopping easily you have to adapt to that. And of course, the other part it’s not a find one spot and that’s where you live lifestyle its move around all the time.

I’m one of those fortunate people because I did 20 years in the military that I’ve got a pension. So, by volunteering with the Park Service, I don’t have to work as much, and it changes it from being something where it feels like a job to it’s just for fun.

Doug: So, what would you say to other folks, if they ask you how can I get started in volunteer ranks?

Ron: Well I’ll always tell them to go to volunteer.gov so they can at least find out at least what kind of positions are out there. And if that they live near a park even if it’s a state park you know talk to them see what they need. Because it can be competitive getting these positions where you live at the park. So having some experience helps. And then just to keep on trying and find out what their interested in and take a look and see what is out there.

-My name is Davina. I’m 20 years old. When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. I’m currently a student at Western Washington University to pursue a degree in management information systems. -I’m Nash. I am 10 years old and I want to be a scientist when I grow up. -Hi I’m Larrah and I am a junior in college applying to nursing school. When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a doctor so kinda the same thing, just a little bit different. -My name is William. Five. Cowboy. -My name is Noah. I’m 13 and when I grow up I want to be an architect. -Hi. My name is Theodore. I’m 9 years old. When I grow up I want to be an actor.

H: I really enjoyed listening to Emily, Jeffery and Ron’s stories. And they brought up the challenges of isolation and distance. But I’m pretty sure there are more than that.

D: Yeah. There are. I can think of several challenges and downsides. How about this one, Hannah? Look around here at the North Rim. Every single one of our National Park employees lives in a one-generation home. It’s artificial. There are no kids. There are no grandparents.

I grew up in a with parents in a two-generation home and at times we were three generation family.

H: I really hadn’t thought about it. Because it’s just the circumstances that just who is pulled into the park.

D: That’s right. And how about this one? You can work had as a repeat summer seasonal coming back every summer. But to be real about it there is very little chance of you getting hired into a career position. There’s just very few of them and the competition is really tough.

And then how about the uncertainty of winter and off-season work? You have to make money year round. So what are you going to do in the off-season?

H: I mean your not wrong there. As an intern a lot of my co-workers in the uniform would constantly tell me not to pursue a career in this because how difficult it was and they were personally experiencing. But obviously I was still interested.

D: And I’m a white male. But I can look around and see that there is very little racial diversity in the National Park Service.

H: That can be really tough. Do you have any examples that stood out to you that you experienced?

D: Well, you know actually, when I was an Oregon State park ranger, a local museum, this was in rural Oregon, a local museum had a Japanese American exhibit and my wife contributed some of her family artifacts for the exhibit. And the museum called for all the Japanese families in the three-county area to come and have a potluck for the grand opening of this Japanese American exhibit. And we, there was a total of 12 people that showed up. Twelve Asian people including our family that showed up for this grand opening.

H: Wow.

D: What the chances of doing some tiako drumming or participating in the New Year’s mochitsuki ceremony? You know, she just didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do that.

H: And I know these are just a few things, with isolation, distance, and one-generational families, uncertainty of true career path, and racial diversity here in the Park Service. But it’s still a place where I think it’s still one of the best jobs, but that’s from my personal experience.

D: I agree. We want to keep it real in here this podcast so we did feel it was important to mention some possible downsides. But the lesson I get is, you know, follow your dreams wherever they may lead you.

H: And there you have it. Several stories of how various people, my coworkers and friends, ended up joining the We Are The Rangers club at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

D: Yes. And even threw in a few stories of park visitor, their dreams and aspirations.

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

I want to thank all the park visitors who contributed their dreams and stories, as well as ranger Emily, Jeffery, and Ron for sharing their stories.

And thank our listeners that dream of joining the “We Are The Ranger’s” club.

Thanks to ranger Dave for podcast editing. Thanks for my podcast partner, ranger Doug, for writing two podcast parody songs, with apologies to John Prine and Queen.

I think we need to finish this podcast off in style, Doug.

D: Okay, let’s invite in a bunch of our North Rim ranger friends for a very special ending song.

(sung) I wear the hat Its brim is flat I rove the trails I tell park tales

And the park views, I’ve seen a few I’ve seen my share of great sunrises and sunsets They’re here for you too!

We are the rangers, my friends And we’ll serve the park, till the end We are the rangers We welcome strangers No time for losers ‘Cause we are the rangers … of the park!

I’ve learned the rocks And I give the talks I lead park tours And so much more

And it’s been a lot of fun But I’m far from done The park ranger profession is the best It’s second to none!

We are the rangers, my friends And we’ll serve the park, till the end We are the rangers We welcome strangers No time for losers ‘Cause we are the rangers …

We are the rangers, my friends And we’ll serve the park, till the end We are the rangers We welcome strangers No time for losers

(Alrighty. I’m Nathan. I’m 21 years old and when I grow up, I want to be happy!

‘Cause we are the rangers … of the park!


Have you ever contemplated a mid-life or post-retirement career change? What did you want to be when you grew up? Join us for a fun look into some park ranger careers and life at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park including the benefits and challenges.

First Voices - Interview with Autumn Gillard


Kelli: 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

Jesse: and I'm Jesse I'm a park Ranger across the Canyon from Kelly over on the north rim. Welcome to the First Voices, a series designed to elevate the voices of people whose connections to Grand Canyon stretch back to time immemorial. In this episode we'll hear from Pipe Spring National Monument park ranger Autumn Gillard.

Autumn (Translated from Southern Paiute): Hello friends my name is Autumn; my mother was Delphina Edmo from the Cedar Band of Paiutes my grandmother is Nola Zuniga from the Cedar Band of Paiutes and my grandfather’s name was Nober Zuniga also from the Cedar Band of Paiutes.

Autumn: My name is Autumn Gillard. I’m a descendent from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, descending from the Cedar Band on my maternal side, and my grandfather was Norber Tom Zuniga, also from the Cedar Band of Paiutes. And so, I currently work for Pipe Spring National Monument. I am in the interpretive division. So, some of the tasks that I focus on in the interpretive division at Pipe Spring is giving the history of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians and the Southern Paiute People and their existence around the very large aquifer Pipe Spring. I also talk about the Euro-American introduction, the Spanish introduction, and the existence of the Ancestral Puebloan People who are ancestors that lived here around the spring. And so, through interpretation I give these histories by performing cultural demonstrations, doing star programs, I oversee a very large heritage garden that I use for ethnobotany information related to the Southern Paiute People. I work in the visitor center, so greeting people as they come in and just orienting them about their monument and the public lands and how they can enjoy the monument there.

Jesse: The history that Autumn interprets at Pipe Spring is so complicated.

Autumn: Yeah it is a pretty complex story. We touch on some very sensitive subjects, you know, so we talk about the history of genocidal trauma and what happened to the Southern Paiute People upon Euro-American introduction. We also touch on the big subject of water in the desert and how it is utilized, and how the aquifer is sustaining this community here on the Kaibab Paiute Reservation. We talk about polygamy in the desert, interaction with the government, and religious freedom. So some pretty big subjects we discuss.

Kelli: Having Autumn talk about the indigenous history of the area, and talking about colonialism, and maybe genocide, it's really interesting to listen to Autumn and just have her just be comfortable talking about this to the public. And I really appreciate that because not a lot of Park Rangers are comfortable talking about that.

Jesse: Yeah, totally inspiring. She's not only comfortable but she's excited to talk about complex issues.

Autumn: Yes, definitely. I think that what excites the most about the history is that, as the Native American woman, I think that it's very important to elevate indigenous voices and so being able to work at a place like Pipe Spring that has such a close connection with a sister band of mine that my ancestors are related to makes it that much more precious to me. I think that the American public and the other visitors that come to public land deserve to learn about American history in true form and not have any curtains placed in front of them. And so, that excites me, just teaching and passing knowledge along is something that I really find fulfilling. And I was born and raised in Utah and so I have a really good understanding of the Mormon pioneers and how they interacted with the tribes of Utah and the surrounding states.

Jesse: I met autumn the first time in 2018 when she came up with other Rangers from Pipe Spring to the north room for our Native American Heritage Days event. What I didn't know at the time was that that was her very first visit to Grand Canyon. Autumn: It was very emotional, and it was actually with Ranger Benn Pikyavit. He's been here at Pipe Spring for over 20 years, he's one of the tribal elders for the Kaibab Paiute People, and so he invited me along to come with him to work at the North Rim Heritage Days. Jesse: That was your first time here?

Autumn: Yeah, it was. He took me out on the rim and he explained some pretty important cultural stuff to me. One of the things that always stuck in my mind is that, you know, like when we sat there and we looked across the Canyon, he said that this place is so powerful and it's a part of Southern Paiute People’s power. And it's where we come to gather ourselves and gather our thoughts. And so, we must honor and recognize that when we're there, because just as much as that Canyon can give us it can take it away very quickly. And so, if you don't go there with respect in your heart the Canyon will show you a lesson. It will teach you. So every time I go there I always think that, honor this place, pay homage to it, and leave my traditional offering to the existence and the spirit of the Canyon

Kelli: And I totally understand what she means by that because I also hadn't experienced Grand Canyon until I actually was, you know, working here as an intern. And knowing that this place, you know, it has meaning behind it, that you know it always will call back to you to help. It's like calling for help, like it wants us to introduce it back to the people. Or, you know, it's like you have a sense of being a park ranger, a storyteller, to talk about these stories, being like we need you to tell the story about this place, talk about the story of our people that have this cultural connection to this place.

Autumn: Yeah, yeah so with Southern Paiute People, not a lot of people realize that the north end of the Canyon is really, really sacred to the Southern Paiute People. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a place of power. It is a place for us to go and kind of rejuvenate and refill our spiritual power, but also just ourselves. I’ve heard many Southern Paiute People refer to it as, the Canyon is our heart, it's a place where our heart is, it's where we belong. And so, even before I had went up there and stepped foot and looked across that Canyon, you know, I have that connection internally inside of me through past generations who have made pilgrimages there. So, you know, we have sacred areas there in the Canyon, whether it be through petroglyph sites, or just the river. The Colorado River is very, very sacred to my people. It's a life giving force and it's older than time. That’s something that we always honor and recognize. So I think that that would be the best interpretation or understanding of that. It's just that the multitude of power, if one could just grasp that through our physical eyes you would feel that spiritual feeling that I felt even before I ever went there.

Kelli: Yeah, and you think about all these tribes, you know, the 11 associated tribes that have this cultural connection to this place, and you know it's crazy because like the Diné knowledge, the tradition knowledge that we have, is like we put our umbilical cord when under the ground of our homestead within the reservation or where you think your home is at. For the Navajo people it is always within the Four Sacred Mountains. And the they say if you stay within the Four Sacred Mountains it protects you. And if you do leave it you always come back. And your umbilical cord wherever is buried at it knows that you've been gone for so long but you do have to come back to it. And, you know, the Canyon is part of that umbilical cord for a lot of the indigenous tribes, and it's like this is our homestead, and this is a place that we do have a connection.

Jesse: When we interviewed Mae Franklin she said the Grand Canyon is a lot of things to a lot of people so we asked Autumn what it means to her.

Autumn: I think one thing that visitors should keep in mind when they visit the Grand Canyon is that the Canyon speaks for itself, it doesn't need to be spoken for. When you go there realize that this place is very important to Indigenous People. Not just the Southern Paiute People, but all of the other tribes that have a connection to the Canyon. And I think just recognizing that we need to leave the Canyon as it is. It doesn't need to change. It doesn't need new technology added to it. It doesn't need you know all of this multitude of advertisement for tourism to it. This is a place that is meant, and set aside for people to come and totally enjoy and gain that psychological connection to the environment, and just to release. And so, I would say when you come to the Canyon release, and enjoy, and relax, and just taking in something as simple as a sunset across the Canyon can be fulfilling. So don’t change it, just leave it the same

Jesse: You know, one of the hardest things to hear when talking to Autumn was that she frequently gets comments from visitors that Native People should just get over the past.

Autumn: I would like people to recognize more of the Indigenous People that are connected to the Canyon, and not to so much think of it in terms as you know something negative. We as Native People, especially those of us that work for public land divisions, continually hear remarks that we need to get over the past and that we need to get over the past history, but history is what defines us. Every single person. It doesn't matter what walk of life that we come from. And so, just respecting that, you know, that this place does have a deep connection with Indigenous People. And that we are still here. We have voices. We do want you guys to come and learn about us and to see where we live and to gain an understanding of us. We're not so much different as everybody thinks that we are, we're just like everybody else.

Kelli: And when people do make that comment it's really hard to, you know, understand why they want to just leave the past as it is. A lot of these wayside exhibits talk about the past tense of a lot of the indigenous history here, so today we still have people who still don't believe that Indigenous People still exist. We cannot forget about the past in order for us to have a better future. We have to bring up the history.

Jesse: Yeah, well said Kelly. Last I asked Autumn to reflect on the link between protecting the Canyon and preserving Southern Paiute culture.

Autumn: In terms of cultural preservation within the Canyon, you know, I think one of the easiest ways to make people understand that they're outside of Native spirituality and Native culture is that you wouldn't want, if you are a religious person, you wouldn't want somebody to go in and desecrate your church. Or you wouldn't want anyone to go in and desecrate your way of prayer, or your way of gaining spiritual connection with a higher power. And so, that is how we view the Canyon, and that is how we view areas like Deer Creek. These places are very sacred to us, they create a bond between Southern Paiute People to the spirit world where our ancestors are, and where those of our family that have passed on. And so, when we get people that come into the Canyon and don't understand that or don't respect that, it's basically like treading over somebody church or sacred area. So for cultural preservation, I would like to see the Canyon to integrate more Native American People into CRM programs, even into resource management, so that we can have our own people there speaking, teaching how to protect, or taking those responsibilities upon themselves to protect it to preserve these areas, because they are very, very precious to us. And that goes back to the point of the power that we see in the Canyon is that if someone outside of our culture could learn what we see or what we feel in our hearts in these places, I don't think that they would feel comfortable just, you know, kind of traipsing around in there, or doing graffiti, or leaving garbage, or even urinating in these areas. We always need to be conscious that there is another point to our life, that everything that we believe in as as Native People isn't physically what we see in front of ourselves. There is a deep spiritual connection. And so, that does come into play with cultural preservation

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.

Autumn Gillard is a descendent of the Cedar Band of Southern Paiutes and has been an important voice in the Inter-Tribal Working Group. This group works very closely with Grand Canyon National Park and is made up of many voices from the associated tribes. They are responsible for helping the park with management decisions, Indigenous representation, and resource protection. Autumn also works at Pipe Spring National Monument where she helps to interpret Kaibab Paiute and Fundamentalist Mormon stories.

First Voices - Interview with Mae Franklin


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.

of 3