Falling in Love with the Desert

Falling in Love with the Desert

This blog marks the halfway point of my time at Glen Canyon. For such a short period of time, I’ve learned and experienced so many new things. It’s impossible to choose a favorite part of the internship, but I can share some highlights…

My favorite part of my project is the field work (taking new imagery of sites). Most of my days are spent processing data at the computer, so it’s always exciting to get out in the field. Most of the sites we had to access by boat, so I saw places I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Plus, if it gets too hot, I just wade into the river! In the beginning of the summer, I read a book called Brave the Wild River about the two botanists who first mapped the botany of the Colorado River through Glen and Grand Canyons. I enjoyed reading about what the places I was working in were like before the dam was constructed and greater access to this area was established. The botanists were the first non-indigenous women to successfully boat through the Grand Canyon, so it was cool learning the story of other women scientists here before me! One of the days we were visiting a site on the river, we saw a replica of one of the boats from the botany expedition preparing to raft the Grand Canyon alongside the modern-day rafts. Reading that book helped me feel connected to this new landscape, and I’ve surprised myself by becoming really interested in the history and archeology of the area. Working with archeologists has given me a different lens with which to view the landscape around me, so I’m grateful that I’m getting exposed to different fields in NPS!

Outside of work, I’m keeping busy exploring the area surrounding the park. Page itself is a small, touristy town, but I live within a few hours’ drive of dozens of other national parks, monuments, and public lands. The perk to working at a desk most of the week is that I have lots of energy to travel and play outside on the weekends, so I’ve learned how to make the most of my weekends here. Some of my favorite trips include Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Moab, UT. Soon, I will be visiting Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks for the first time! This region is steeped in so much natural, cultural, and geologic history, and I’m just trying to absorb as much of it as I can during my short time here. (Featured image: Looking out over the hoodoos of the Bryce Ampitheater in Bryce Canyon National Park.)

Petroglyphs in Moab, Utah. This wall is known as the "Big Man Panel", named for the figure on the left.
Sunset over Monument Valley. The following morning, I participated in a bike race inside the tribal park.
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