I came to the City of Rocks and Castle Rocks for the month of May to volunteer with little understanding about what I would do except give tours of some sort. I had driven through the area about ten years ago and liked it. After a quick phone call and a check of my references, I was hired for the volunteer gig. I was sure all would turn out and it would be a happy month. How could it not be happy? I was going to where rocks are 2.5 billion years old.
My job has been to explain the geology and California Trail to visitors. I give geology tours that last about an hour and I hang out at Register Rock and talk about the California Trail and Daniel Tickner (see previous post).
And I also provide roving interpretation. That means that that I spend time in the park talking to people I happen to meet. In the parking lots I walk up to people and introduce myself as the interpretive ranger and give a one minute overview of the geology. I also walk the trails and give the one minute overview of the geology and California Trail. Often people ask questions and we talk for five minutes or so.
I felt good the other day when I was called over to a car and was asked to repeat my one minute geology lesson I had given to a man on the trail. He wanted his daughters to hear it.
In exchange for this work I get free camping, live in a gorgeous area, spend time absorbing and feeling the stories this area can tell, exchange stories with other travelers, and spend time working with people who’s livelihood is ranching and will answer all my ranching questions. I think I’m getting more out of this deal than City of Rocks and Castle Rocks.
And then I left.