It’s my final week at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and this will be my very last blog post. I have been trying unsuccessfully to step back and reflect on the entirety of my summer. What better way to give closure to these digital journals? But every time I attempt it, my mind starts wobbling off its axis. My time here has been so densely packed with valuable experiences and I’m the kind of person who needs time and perspective to be able to properly engage in reflection. What I can offer now are small morsels of the memories and skills I’ve gained over these last few months.
I have gained confidence in my ability to learn and apply knowledge quickly. I didn’t know a thing about trail monitoring before this summer and now I’ve written two trail monitoring protocols. While it’s unlikely I’ll ever have to consider the difference between sandstone and limestone aggregate trail surface again, I now have faith in my on-the-job learning capacity.
I will not quickly forget the memory of hiking with a volunteer to an overlook accessible only by social trail. We stood there basking in the late afternoon sunlight and the beauty of valley laid before us for a long while before picking our way back down the ridge.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is not only my internship site. It is and will always be my hometown national park. I will end my time as an intern at CVNP very soon but I’ll be back as a regular park-goer in no time.