15 October 2018

USFS – San Juan National Forest, Pagosa Springs

Written by: Super User

It has been a beautiful season, so far, here at Chimney Rock National Monument. My day begins by arriving to the office at 8am. I meet with my supervisor and the other Chimney Rock Rangers and discuss how our days went at the site, including the game plan for the day. After our meetings, around 8:45am, we take off from the office on our shuttles and arrive to the site around 9:15am. My day officially begins when I arrive at the site. I start by greeting the public at our visitor's cabin since most of our visitors are congregated in that area. Like a Visitor Center at a National Park, our Visitor Cabin operates similar. The cabin has Tour informations, merchandise, snacks, drinks, and some archaeological artifacts from the Ancestral Puebloan site.

The first tour of the day begins at 9:30am. The CRIA (Chimney Rock Interpretation Association) volunteers and the Forest Service Rangers gather the people up by the cabin to get a count of those participating in the tour. As a shuttle driver, I offer the participants the shuttle if, in case, they don't feel comfortable driving up to the site (2 1/2 mile drive to the top on a very bumpy, washboard road). Usually, I commonly convince participants to utilize the shuttles since it saves wear and tear on the road. I continue to speak with the public even in the van, to listen to everybody's traveling stories.

Through most of the day, I am shuttle driving and engaging with the public. I lead tours at 3pm (if we have one, usually because of weather conditions, we have been suspending them) or lead the 10am/12am tours of The Great House Kiva on the Ancestral Puebloan Trail. I have shuttled over 500+ people this season, including leading 100+ people on tours since the site has opened (May 15th). The site's last day of operation will be on September 30th. Will I lead 200+ people by the end of season? Shuttle 1,000+ people, as well, by the end of the season? I must patiently wait! After all, this is my mid season, and so far, I am succeeding! Hasta La Victoria, Siempre.

By: Jesse Portillo


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