Kathleen and Chelsy are great. Kat is from SC and worked at Congaree. Chelsy worked at Hot Springs in Arkansas. They've been NPS considerably longer than I have, but they treat me like I have seniority since I worked here last year. (So I have to pretend like I know what I'm doing. Heh.)
Just six weeks left until the season ends, and my camper and I have to move on. I've been applying to winter positions. They are hard to come by. It's stressful and also exciting (in a stressful kind of way) not knowing "what's next." But I know I have a place to park the RV in my parents' yard.
I know you are going to miss those people. But you will get some R&R with your family, always a plus. My parents are both gone. Enjoy them while you can. I really hope you will find a stint with the USNPS during the cooler months. It was a neat summer under the hat, eh?
Down here, Park Rangers will not talk about the effects of the recent sequester and that idiotic closure during October. What a fiasco that was. We lost some damn good Rangers. Many did not come back. Some went over to the Police units in the area. Others transferred to parks elsewhere. Some just outright stopped serving altogether. The Volunteers did their best to hold it all together, but even they were forced to walk off when the gates closed. Some did not return when those gates re-opened. However, there were some new faces after the dust settled along with a host of old timers. I still serve my park and have no plans on quitting.
What strikes me as funny is how we cannot find a permanent Superintendent. Ranger Dale Ditmanson served the Smokies for many years. When he stepped down into retirement, folks actually cried to see him go. You just had to know Ranger Dale. He was a fine man in the Service as well as on the street. He always had kind words and that warm smile he is known for. He never met a stranger and always found time to lend a hand. He loved kids. He is sorely missed, indeed. That is not to say that our current Superintendent, Ranger Cindy McCleod, is not up to the task, it's just that things are not the same with Ranger Dale gone.
Thank goodness we still have some hats from the old camp, inclucing Park Chief of Police Ranger Clay Jorden, Director of Historic Architecture Ranger Randy Hatten, Director of the Backcountry Ranger Cindy Hoyer, Wildlife Superviser Ranger Bill Stiver, and that beautiful sweet young woman we all love, Director of Public Relations Ranger Molly Shorer. We have some fine people on the staff here in the Smokies. I wish there was a way for you to meet them.
When you roll in to your parents' place, give them my regards and let them know we are thanking them much for taking good care of one of our wonderful gals. Blessings and good karma, Ranger Vickie of the NPS.