Into the Gorge…

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Howdy folks! I meant to post sooner, but as there’s no internet access at my housing, I have to walk or cycle into town to get wifi. I guess this is a good thing, in that I am spared much of the chaos and political flame-wars of the internet, but it also means that my ability to keep up my posts will be rather limited.

I am very excited to be working in the beautiful Red River Gorge, with 3 other backcountry ranger interns to share the workload. On our first field work day, our supervisor took us to Indian Staircase, which is an unofficial, user-created trail. The views made the precarious climb well worth it:

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The next day, we trekked Auxiere Ridge, which is a very popular designated trail route, with a spur trail to Double Arch.

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We made good distance that day, hiking approximately 11 miles. Auxiere Ridge is one of the trails that receives a lot of use, and was the site of a fairly recent wildfire caused by negligent visitors. Part of our job as backcountry rangers is to provide navigational assistance to visitors, educate them about Leave No Trace principles using the Authority of the Resource, and to naturalise illegal campsites.

Bordering the Red River Gorge is the adjacent Clifty Wilderness, of some 13,000 acres. It is the home of rich conifer woodlands dominated by Canada Hemlock and Eastern White Pine.

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Many of these trees are gigantic, reaching over 100 ft in height and probably over 200 years old.

Fortunately for me, I have made solid friendship with Charlie, who is a crosscut and chainsaw evaluator in the Cumberland Ranger District, and I will be receiving my crosscut certification in time. Right now I am looking forward to going out with his wilderness trail crew on April 8th.

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” ~ John Muir

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