Bears Ears National Monument Volunteering: Day 1
Biblical Rains Mixed With Incredible Views
The rain and hard winds have been relentless for the past 24 hours and as a result I didn't get any sleep last night. To complicate matters this morning, the tremendous amount of runoff is causing all of the washes to run at deep levels cutting off the only road out of here. I’m essentially trapped at my present location 19 miles deep in Bears Ears National Monument. I arrived to Bluff, UT 2 days early, training for the Visit with Respect Ambassador doesn’t start until Saturday morning. I’ll be with 23 other volunteers and look forward to spending time with everyone in the Monument. I was hoping to get a jump start on familiarizing myself with this area but it looks as if the rain has put a halt to that endeavor for the time being.
I made a rookie mistake last night when I got into the Monument. The sun was setting and I was struck by the beauty of this place. To say the scenery here is impressive would be an understatement, the Valley of the Gods is unreal. So in my bewilderment air-headness of this place, I parked the adventure truck to camp for the evening in a low lying area of the desert knowing rain was on the way. I awoke to a messy soup of sand/mud/water and had to tromp around in my flip-flops with that stuff caked all over my feet with temps hovering at 42F. Sierra didn’t fare much better, her feet were caked with desert mud after just a few minutes so I spent a good amount of time cleaning her off this morning before she got back into the truck.
Weather hardships aside, I’m really happy to be here and look forward to volunteering full-time over the next 6 weeks. I’ve been told my duties will be site stabilization and surveying, cattle exclusion fence building, and backpacking patrols throughout the Monument. Due to my trail capable truck I’ll also be the “go to” guy for transporting tools and supplies deep within the Monument for special projects.
Tomorrow training officially begins at the Bluff Community Center where we’ll learn the in’s and out’s of the Visit With Respect Program developed by the Friends of Cedar Mesa specifically for this area. Saturday will be spent in a classroom type setting and then we’ll head out into the field on Sunday broken down into smaller groups on different hikes into the Monument. Monday I will receive my volunteer work assignments, look forward to getting my hands dirty!
I’m raising money for the Bears Ears Education Center located in Bluff, UT…please consider giving a tax deductible donation by visiting HERE!