Tuesday, May 17, 2011

last weeks at Rock Eagle

Yes folks, we're sad to say, but our final season at Rock Eagle is coming to a close. For those of you who haven't heard, our next job/adventure will be working as interpretive park rangers at the Stehekin area of the North Cascades National Park complex in Washinton State. At the end of a grueling series of job applications, we had a few nice job offers and ended up getting one of our top choices. It was a difficult choice with an Audubon Center in the San Fran area, but being back in Washinton and with the National Park system was important to us.

Life at Rock Eagle continues to be a wonderful experience. The nature of the job is essentially the same since our earlier posts, with a few minor changes. We are still teaching the same classes, but after 6 months of teaching, there is less stress about class preparation and such.

The following are a few more interesting and perhaps random things that happened here. Kate finally got to do some belaying and climbing this season (she was sick during training last season):

During a hike in one of the nearby national forests, we were greeted by a large timber rattler in our trail:Our training in February began with cool weather and a little snow. This was the pioneer site at our camp during our pioneer tool class training:

And here's a picture of me and Brian, a coworker, at the well pump just a few hours later as the snow melted off:

My mom and cousin Kristy came to visit us for a weekend. We went to Jekyll Island again to show them around. There are miles of empty beach near the 4-H center where we stay, and a neat shipwreck near the shore:

There were horseshoe crabs, and this was the first time we got to see these strange creatures up close:
After long walks on the beach and sunset evenings on the piers, We all came back to Rock Eagle and showed them around campus a little. They both got to see our birds and hold our snakes. Here are Kate and I with our screech owls, Ollie and Ellie:

Kate is working in the ornithology lab this season, so she has the training with the big raptors. Here she is with Buddi, the great horned owl. She's a pretty intimidating bird, but quite a beauty once you know how to handle her:
Here's Kristy with Hugh the corn snake:
Mom got to hold Hugh as well:

And here's Kristy again with Digger, the gopher tortise
Kristy was here coincidentally for a wilderness first responder course in a nearby town, where she and her classmates met us a the local swimming hole for some swimming and cliff jumping:
The 13 year periodical cicadas just happened to emerge here this spring. We were lucky enough to catch them in Kentucky a few years back, so we got to witness the whole phenomenon here for a second time. The forest has been ringing and singing with those buzzing creatures.
That's it for now. On the 27th of May we start our drive west to Stehekin. More to come later!