Monday, June 6, 2011
Hello again from the Upper Delaware River! This past week has been much more exciting than my first week here. The week started out with basic first aid training on Tuesday, followed by CPR training on Wednesday. We also received fire extinguisher training and driver training so that we can drive the National Park Service vehicles. The most exciting and best part of our training (in my opinion) was saved for last: canoe training! On Thursday we learned about safety and basic canoe skills, and then we hit the water for some hands-on experience. We paired up in the canoes and went over skills such as paddling, putting your life jackets on in the water, getting back into your canoe if you fall out, rescuing other people from your canoe, and ferrying across the river. We also went “swimming” down Skinner’s Falls (a set of class II rapids). We floated down in only our life jackets, while the other seasonal rangers practiced their throw-bag skills to “save” us.
On Friday we hit the river again for an 18 mile trip from Skinner’s Falls to Lackawaxen, only this time we were solo. We all made it through Skinner’s Falls, then continued downstream while enjoying the many Bald Eagles we saw along the way. Let’s just say that by the end of the day my legs looked like a freshly cooked Maine lobster, and next time I won’t forget the sunscreen.
Saturday was our first day on the job in uniform. My housemate Becky and I were paired up to shadow a seasonal ranger, Adam, for the day. We worked at Ten Mile River which is one of the accesses along the river that we will be stationed at during the summer. The accesses are places where people can put in and take out canoes, boats, kayaks and rafts. There are informational kiosks at most of the accesses, where we simply provide information to people, answer questions, and give safety talks. We watched Adam give safety talks, gave a few of our own, then hiked up a trail along the river, picking up trash and doing maintenance on the way.
The 3 of us were together again on Sunday, only this time stationed at the Skinner’s Falls access. We hung around the kiosk in the morning, talking to people and giving safety checks. After lunch we took a short walk over to the area where people swim and hang out on a stretch of massive rocks along the water. The area was packed with people blasting music, sprawling on rocks, swimming, drinking, and just having a good old time. Becky and I walked around and picked up trash while Adam talked to people, advising them of poison ivy and promoting safety. Skinner’s was crazy, and definitely seemed to be one of the more popular places on the river.
Well, that’s all for this week. I need to go lather my legs in aloe now!!
Until next time,