Travel break!

I’m 3 months into my internship with the BLM in Buffalo, Wyoming and last week I got some time off to take an amazing trip up north!

First, we visited Glacier National Park for a few days and did some really awesome hikes. From there, we continued north through Alberta, Canada to visit Calgary, Banff National Park, Yoho National Park (British Columbia), Jasper National Park, and Edmonton. This trip was full of gorgeous colored lakes, glaciers, and wildlife sightings. Southern Alberta and Montana were quite smoky due to all of the wildfires in the area, but the views were still incredible! Over the ten day trip, we hiked around 46 miles, skated 19 skateparks, and climbed in some cool new areas. Today, I am back in the office and eager to finish up this last stretch of my internship so I can take off again!

Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park

Crowfoot Glacier in Banff National Park

Banff National Park, Alberta

CLM Intern or Truck Driver?

Things have seemed to settle into a rhythm. Almost every day I come to work, grab the keys, hop in the white Ford F150, and drive between 1-3 hours to a site by myself. At the site I do things like recording GPS tracks of trails, collecting Visitor Use data, or sometimes even picking up trash. All that time alone on the open road can be lonely (especially in Wyoming), but it still beats sitting in front of a computer!

It feels like I’m trying out two (not so different) possible career paths- BLM Employee and Truck Driver.

Every day I see about seven times more hoofed animals than humans.

My view after scrambling up part of a new trail I GPSd

Sometimes truck driving can be beautiful! Little detour I took through Crazy Woman Canyon

Crazy Woman Canyon detour

The highlights of this internship is when I get to help out teaching science lessons or outdoor ethics at day camps or to school groups, always in an outdoor setting. Last week I got to hang out with a bunch of six year olds!

Young Naturalists!

Life as a Recreation Intern

The second week of my internship consisted of the CLM workshop in Chicago. It was a lot of fun, and nice to be in a big city for the week. It also made me appreciate the lack of heat and humidity back in Wyoming.

The day after I arrived back in Buffalo, I drove to Newcastle, WY and met a group of 8 middle schoolers that had all signed up for a science camp. We drove up to Summit Ridge in Black Hills National Forest and set up camp. For the next four days, teachers from Upton middle school and BLM specialists from various offices came to teach lessons and facilitate activities. Some topics included Astronomy, Wildlife, Gold panning, GPS, Forestry, and Water Quality testing. I helped teach Orienteering and Water Cycle lessons, and put my Master Educator certification to good use by teaching a Leave No Trace lesson and a game. The kids were great and really enjoyed and learned a lot from the week. It’s hard to believe I’m getting paid to go camping!

Helping kids build bat boxes at the Upton Science Camp

Leave No Trace lesson- notice my diy backcountry white board 🙂

The next week started out with a long and hard day. A trail at one of the sites was being rerouted by a Montana Conservation Corps crew because of some old bison bones that had started to become exposed along the old trail. Rachel and I hiked the flagged out route for the new trail carrying carsonite trail markers and the heavy, awkward beast used to pound them into the ground. Once we got to the end of the trail, we turned around and hiked the old trail so we could dig out the old markers. Although I expended a lot more energy than I normally would on a hike, the trail and area were both stunning and I was glad to be spending the day outside recreating.

Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of some more necessary trainings- GIS and ATV, the latter being quite exciting.

ATV Training

On Thursday, I got the chance to teach another Leave No Trace workshop for some teens on a camping trip through an organization from Casper. Outreach and education is probably my favorite part of my job so far. I’m really passionate about LNT and love getting to introduce it to others!

One of my favorite LNT games- Okay! No Way!

I’m loving the variation in duties that a “recreation intern” has, and the amount of time spent thankfully outside. My days off are also amazing, being only a few hours from some of the best and most beautiful climbing, hiking, and National Parks in the country.

Got to spend a weekend in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks- only a 4 hour drive!

First week in Buffalo!

Last Wednesday I left Indianapolis and made many stops on the way out to Buffalo-my home base for the next 5 months. I hiked at Badlands National Park, saw tons of wildlife in Custer State Park and the Black Hills, did some rock climbing in Spearfish Canyon, and stared in awe at Devil’s Tower for an evening.

Bison in Custer State Park

Devils Tower National Monument

Monday, my first day at the BLM Buffalo Field Office, was filled with learning including new names, acronyms, protocols, and more about the area. Despite all of the required training, I was still able to spend hours out in the field, even on Day 1!

Petrified Tree- one of the BLM sites in the Buffalo Field Office range!

The fact that my position entails being outside and exploring this beautiful country every day is what excites me most about the upcoming 5 months… So far, so good!