Celebrating World Ranger Day with Fond Memories from our National Park Travels
Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of visiting nearly 50 national parks, monuments and memorials. Often, we’ve done this with our family, and with virtually no exception, we’ve encountered friendly, kind, helpful and passionate rangers who have been eager to make our visit memorable and enjoyable. Here’s just a few fond ranger memories from our trips to the national parks.
Just a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of participating in the extended historical tour at Mammoth Cave National Park. Two rangers led us through the maze of interconnected caverns and shared fascinating stories about life in the caves from pre-Columbian times to the present. Rangers Jim and Shannon were clearly gifted and passionate about what they do and it showed in they way they spoke and shared. I had the pleasure of spending much of my time with Ranger Shannon, and it proved a wonderful experience. Needless to say, we exited the yawning maw of the cave system with an added appreciation for the beauty, history and fragility of Mammoth Cave.
In 2018, we spent several days with our family in Yellowstone. One of the highlights for our clan had to be the ranger-guided tour of Geyser Hill, adjacent to Old Faithful. The hill is lined with boardwalks that take visitors along geysers with names like Plume, Beehive and Cascade and over the incredibly fragile springs and razor-thin crust that has accumulated over eons of slow bubbling from the super-heated waters below. Our ranger, whose name escapes me at this moment, did an expert job of navigating us through the maze of paths, touching on the fragile beauty of Geyser Hill and positioning us perfectly for the 200-foot-tall towering eruption of Beehive Geyser just moments after Old Faithful had sent its spire of water and steam to the sky. He was eager to answer the cacophony of questions from guests, ranging from the mundane to the bizarre – and seemed to always have an answer.
Over the years, we’ve interacted with literally hundreds of rangers, and I truthfully can’t think of one negative experience among them. From tours to junior ranger programs, chance encounters to visitor center interactions, rangers have played a crucial role in our enjoyment and appreciation of our country’s national parks. Indeed, the rangers are a crucial component of the park system, integral in making it the national treasure that it is. So, today, we take a moment to thank you all for your unsung service to the nation.
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