Ranger Journal

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I encourage you to check out this website about the White Mountain National Forest 2013 Artist in Residence.  We have two amazing individuals offering programs around the forest on specific days.  The dates are listed on this website.  Both AIR work with photography.  I know you will enjoy reading about them and their programs they are offering. 

On a side note, I have a few people coming up for the mineral hike.  If you are interested, please email me and let me know. 


Friday, August 09, 2013

There will be a slight change to the mineral site. After much discussion with Elaine the geologist, I have switched the minerals site.  We will be digging for Smoky Quartz and everyone is guaranteed to walk away with something on Friday.  I could not guarantee that for Deer Hill and digging for Amethyst. There hasn't been much Amethyst found at Deer Hill lately, and I'd rather go somewhere we are guaranteed to walk away with minerals and gems.   I'm keeping the date the same, but changing it to Moat Mountain.  We will meet at 10 at the Ranger Station and depart at 10:15 and arrive at the mineral site for 10:30.  People are welcome to mineral as long as they wish.  I will be out there for about 2 hours.  

Please email me so I know you are planning to meet up at the ranger station.  

**Ranger Jen** 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I've been busy at the house Sunday, Monday and today.  Today I had my most visitors of 98 people.  Monday was close with 92.  This is a lot of people and many were up traveling from overseas as well as southern states.  I saw people from DC, TN, RI, FL, Italy, Germany, and many other places.  Many times people say they have passed the house but never stopped and they see the sign out that we're open and they stop.  Monday I had a young lady in that told me she has been the interpreter at the house in past years.  She was able to share some new stories with me that I wasn't aware of before.  For instance, she told me about the rubber buttons that Goodyear used to make (yes, same company as our tires).  They made buttons from 1853-1870 this was the time of the old crank washer and crank wringer.  You see, buttons were often made from shells and when they went through the wringer they would break.  So Goodyear made rubber buttons that would flex as they went through. So women would buy the rubber buttons for their clothes instead.  People like the Eliza George Russell and Ruth Parcilla Colbath preferred the washboard over the new washing machine.  So often their new washer would be found just outside or in the shed.  I often think about what it was like to live in this old house in the winter and year round and if I could do it.  I want to believe I could.  In the days when the Russell Colbath family owned the house (in the family for 100 years from 1832-1930) they didn't have any running water in the house or a toilet in the house.  They had to get their water from the streams, and use an outhouse for a bathroom.  The outhouse was a little walk from the house.  There was never electricity brought to the house, and still today there is no electrical power on the Kancamagus Highway in the National Forest.    If some that own private land across from the RC House and just on Bear Notch Road from route 112 do not have electricity.  They must use a generator for power.  No cell phones work in the area either.  Forest Service personnel like myself use a hand-held radio to communicate with the ranger station. 

Wednesday I will be at the Ranger Station for a good portion of the day making my educational flyers for the campground programs.  I may make it out into the campgrounds later in the day.  I'm heading home in the afternoon for my days off. 

Be sure to read my entry from the 3rd of August as well about a mineraling date, time and place.

**Ranger Jen**

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I returned to the forest today and was welcomed by some familiar faces.  Sean Hunter and family came to visit me at the house, but I showed up in my forest service uniform.  My days have changed a bit, but I was filled with joy to sit and talk with the Hunters for some time.  I showed them my new rocks from my trip to Lord Hill.  It was great to catch up and see how their summer has been going.  Sean did inquire about the mineral trip I will be doing this August.  All you mineralists will be happy to know that I have picked a date and a place.  I ask that if you are interested in joining me to please send me an email as soon as possible so that I have an idea of numbers.  The geologist on the forest may join us.  Friday the 16th I will be traveling to Deer Hill to do some mineraling of Amethyst.  I'd like to depart the ranger station parking lot (33 Kancamagus Highway, Conway) at 8:30 am.  That will get us on the trail by 9:30 and the hike is about a 1.5 in to the mineral site.  You should bring a trowel, water for drinking and water for cleaning the rocks, snacks, a hat, sunscreen, backpack, maybe some containers to pick blackberries (this will be a treat).  I will update the page and let everyone know who has contacted me incase you're interested in carpooling.  I will also give you more details as the date gets closer.  I'm thinking we can mineral for a few hours and be down by 12:30 and back to the ranger station by 1:30. 

As I mentioned earlier, my days have shifted a bit.  Saturdays and Wednesdays I work out of the ranger station.  This means I do some work at the station then I travel around to the Campgrounds.  Meeting up with me on these days may be more difficult.  I am at the RC House Sundays thru Tuesday in my 1800's period dress.

**Ranger Jen**

Thursday, July 25, 2013
I spent the day with Elaine.  First we spent the morning at the station getting paperwork in order.  We were creating signs that say no fee needed for Deer Hill.  This was a big change for mineral people that like to dig at Deer Hill.  I'm sure we made a lot of people happy today.  When we were done with the signs we headed up to Deer Hill and Lord Hill. They are both in the same area of the White Mountain National Forest in Maine.  Our first stop was Deer Hill to change out the signs.  Then we headed to Lord Hill with paint, clippers and our backpacks.  We started by reblazing the trail in yellow. We had a cardboard template wrapped in ducktape to guide us with the right size of the blazes. Our yellow paint was in a mustard container with a nail on the top so the paint wouldn't spill.  Then we had a rag to wrap the brush in between blazes and a bucket.  Some of the trees we blazed were tricky to get to.  We often had a hard time finding good trees off the path that were for one big enough around and second close enough to the trail so it didn't look like we were leading the hikers into the woods.  When we finished blazing we hit the junction to the field we had to pass through.  The field was quite up grown and we found it difficult to clip the grass/weeds with our clippers.  After much work we were able to widen the foot path through the field to the adjacent opening that climbed Lord Hill.  We dropped our clippers and paint by the edge of the field and climbed to the top of Lord Hill.  Once we arrived I picked some blueberries to eat and then headed over to the mine. This mineral site is known for over a 100 minerals, but best known for it's Feldspar, Ball Mica, Book Mica and Quartz.  The minerals are all over the ground and easy to see with little digging required.  I have samples of each of the minerals listed above as well as garnet.

The hike was wonderful and a nice way to spend a day off.

**Ranger Jen**

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hello all, sorry for not writing sooner. Our housing complex was struck by lightning last week during some of those nasty storms and we lost internet and as of this morning it is back up and running.  Yeah!  Work has been fun this past week. I've worked at the RC House all week.  Today was a bit different and fun.  I was able to spend all day traveling through Passaconaway, Jigger Johnson, Blackberry and Covered Bridge campgrounds talking and visiting with campers.  Most of my visits I shared a bear pelt, bear skull, moose antlers and deer antler.  Then I passed out bear information and a tracks card.  On a few occasions today campers came to my car to view my suitcase of treasures.  In my suitcase I had more pelts and skulls.  To name a few, I had skulls of Ermite, Muskrat, Skunk, Raccoon, Coyote, Red Fox, Beaver and Bobcat.  My pelts included Mink, Beaver, Bobcat, Red Fox, Grey Fox, Coyote, Skunk, Muskrat and Raccoon.  The treasures were endless.  I also had a few jaw bones of Moose.  The campers loved the hands on experience and I love interacting with campers and seeing their faces light up upon arrival and I always get great questions and many of the campers get their pictures taken with the bear pelt on as they wear it like a coat. 
Today was a fun filled day and tomorrow I plan go out with my friend Elaine to Lord Hill and mineral for quartz and do some trail blazing.  I'm hoping to set a date in August soon for mineraling Smokey Quartz. I will set it a week in advance and hope that some of you will be interested in joining me as we go digging in the dirt for our state gem.

More information to come.

**Ranger Jen**

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today I returned from my week off and a wonderful trip to Utah and Vegas.  I had a great drive through Meredith this morning and around to Conway.  I arrived at the ranger station around 10am to pick up the radio and head up to the Russell Colbath House.  I had 42 visitors today, and Elaine paid me a visit as well.  Elaine is the geologist on the forest, and this was our first time seeing each other this season, so we spent some time catching up.  She said she heard me on the radio and decided to swing by after hiking into Sawyer Pond to clean up trash and such that people didn't pack out.  She works with dispersed rec once a week and checks wilderness campsites to be sure people are following the rules.  Elaine is a great friend.  She attended PSU before I and also played softball there as I did.  Her brother was Mike Flanagan (for all you baseball fans).    Today was a busy day and tomorrow I will be working at the RC House and doing some campground visits as well, and then heading home for my day off Friday.

**Ranger Jen**

Sunday, July 07, 2013

I walked into work today at the Saco Ranger Station and was greeted by Lon who said to check out the box behind his desk.  I did and found three baby raccoons that had been rescued from the middle of a road.  One of our rangers had brought them in and called an animal rescue place that takes in animals that are not well.  Two rangers drove the raccoons to the rescue place this morning.  The word this evening when I returned to the station was that two are in better condition than the third.  All three have flees and that they will be nursed back to health at their new home.  I do have to say, that this job is always interesting. 

I worked at the RC House and saw 39 visitors today.  It was a slow day. I have enjoyed reading the literature at the house and have found it to be quite entertaining when there are no visitors.  I recall one story I read talked about a gentlemen needing to make a train at a certain time that evening and he was a logger in the woods during the winter.  He started walking toward Bartlett and as he was following the tracks he found an old rail box car tossed beside the tracks.  He noticed it had a break and so he loaded it onto the tracks, threw his sack inside and ran beside it giving it a bit momentum and then hopped in and headed down the track.  As he bent over to use the break lever, he noticed the bottom was missing.  By now he was gaining in speed.  So he found a stick at the bottom of the box car and wedged it into the hole at the bottom of the car.  The box car began to slow down to a speed he was more comfortable with.  And then the stick broke and the box car began to gain speed again, reaching about 60 mph.  The young man decided that it was time to bail.  So he leaped from the car and hit the snow and tumbled head over feet and thrashed around in the snow until he finally stopped.  He gathered himself up and checked himself over and found there to be no blood and then realized his sack was still in the car.  He continued on down the tracks until he passed some men and asked them "have you seen a box car go by?"  They said yes, and pointed down the hill off the tracks where the car had landed and hit some trees. When he got to the car it was in poor condition.  He looked in it and found his sack in one piece and picked it up and continued on his way down the tracks to Bartlett. When he got to Bartlett, word had spread that there was a young man headed down the tracks in a box car and that he must have surely died as the cart could be seen from tracks in the woods.  As he passed on by he thought to himself "nope, he's not dead, he is indeed alive." 

I read this story from a logging book that is kept at the house.  These stories and history of logging in the White Mountains keep me entertained.  I'm learning so much about the rick history in this area and find it all quite interesting.  I'm eager to share this rich NH history with my students this coming fall.

Tomorrow will be my last entry before I leave for Utah on Tuesday for my brother's wedding.  I'm looking forward to a great vacation with family and friends.

**Ranger Jen** 

Saturday, July 06, 2013
Just returned home from a great Saturday night campground program.  We had Bob Corbett present on the Chinook dog.  I learned that the Chinook dog is NH's state dog and that it was the first dog in the state as a sled dog.  Bob brought his dog Tug a Chinook and a dogsled with him to talk about the history of dog sledding and the pedigree of the Chinook family.  The program was fascinating.  I hope to share parts of the program with my students next year. 

I spent two hours of the day at the RC House as the interpreter. Today was the first day I was dressed up (out of Forest Service Uniform) to fit the life style of the 1850-1930's period when Ruth P. Colbath lived at the house.  I was a bit warm, and I hope tomorrow brings cooler weather.

**Ranger Jen**

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I made it home!  The drive home and traffic wasn't too bad. Zealand was happy to see me. Today was a bit different.  I started my day at the RC House and met Kathy Summerville up there to help me get more aquanted with the house and history. She gave me my skirt and blouse that I needed to wear.  Then we had a propane delivery for the RC Barn "for our Saturday night functions that require electricity".  The barn is also rented out for a large fee of $50.00 per day.  lol.  Cheap...YES!  So power is provided at those functions as well.  Then
I was asked by the forest service to cover lower falls today with Bri after yesterdays accident (visit wmur.com to get up to date information on the accident).  We were still in flood watch and we wanted to make ourselves seen and noticed.  Bri and I reminded folks to use their best judgement when in the water. We emphasized that we were still at a flood watch and the water could rise at any time if it was raining in the mountains.  Folks were receptive and pleasant.  That's all we can ask for. 

Then around 2:30 I headed back to the RC House until close.  I love variety in my day and it was a nice way to spend "my" Friday. 
I'm looking forward to do some packing tonight and spend the day with friends and family Thursday and Friday. 

Happy 4th Everyone! 
Stay Safe!

**Ranger Jen**

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Today was rainy all day.  We had a few breaks with no rain, but most of the time it drizzled or rained.  I started my morning around 8am. I drove to Grants Grocerie Store to pick up some mustard for my sandwich and a few other items to make gorp for the day.  (My favorite gorp item is swedish fish! I don't make the typical gorp being granola, oats, raisons and peanuts.  I usually have swedish fish, peanut m&m's, honey nut cheerios and occassionally mixed nuts.  Today I had a dried fruit mixture in there as well.) I left Grants and stopped for gas and breakfast at Dunkins, then headed to the ranger station.  I arrived around 8:45.  I was able to get 3 Saturday night programs put together last night. I definitly over achieved my goal of getting 2 done.  I printed them out at work and then grabbed the radio battery and headed to work.  I arrived at the RC House at 10:15 and began opening up the barn, bathrooms, house, hung the flag at half staff (to honor the 19 firefighters that died in AZ Sunday) and then started getting the house together.  There is so much to do to open up and close.  Despite the rain, I had a whopping 49 visitors and good donations.  The donations help support any fixing the house needs.  At closing, I checked the visitors log to see where everyone was from.  We had people from New York, Maine, California, England and Switzerland.  Yesterday we had a couple from Alaska.  I'm always amazed by how many people come to visit our White Mountain National Forest! 

Work ended at 4:30.  I drove west from the RC House to Passaconaway Campground to distribute the flyers to the hosts Red and his wife.  Then I drove back east toward Conway.  I stopped at Jigger Johnson Campground to see Gary and give him the flyers for the next 3 weeks.  Then I headed around the campground to visit the other host.  This host has had her grand-daughter up the past two summers and we have become close.  She just finished 2nd grade this year and she has been my junior ranger helper the past two summers.  She would walk around Jigger Johnson Campground with me carrying bear pelts, dear skulls, bear skulls, moose and deer antlers and much more. She often had my speech memorized and would end up doing all the talking with the campers.  As I pulled up to her site, she had just returned with her uncle and grandmother from the laundry mat.  She jumped outa the truck and ran and jumped into my arms for a big hug!  I was as happy to see her as she was to see me.  We talked for a bit about school.  She goes to school in Massachusetts and got out the same day as us.  Gosh, I thought we were the only ones in school that late.  (I guess not).

I left Jigger and headed back to conway to drop off the battery and check in on a rescue attempt at Lower Falls.  I'm not sure of the details, but it sounds like people either fell in or were swimming in the high water and got swept down stream.  I've been trying to find information on the news to see what happened.  Sometimes I wonder why people are so close to the river at high water times.

I finished my day with a visit to my great aunt and uncle's house.  We did some catching up and then I headed to Bartlett. 
I just met my roommate Lida.  She just got back from a backcountry job up on Mount Chacorua.  I feel bad she had such crappy weather and conditions to be working in. 

I am packing my bags as tomorrow is my Friday and I am headed home for the 4th to spend with friends and family.  I feel like I will be headed in the right direction and, knock on wood, won't have too much trouble getting home.  I'm off Thursday, Friday and start back at work at 2 on Saturday.  I have much packing to do for my brother's wedding in Utah!  A much needed vacation as well. I haven't been able to get away the past three years so this will be a wonderful family break.

***Campground Update***

Jigger Johnson was starting to fill up tonight for the 4th.  And Passaconaway campground still had many of its sites available when I was there tonight.  We anticipate Wednesday being the big day that everyone arrives for the 4th.

**Ranger Jen**

Monday, July 01, 2013 

Rabbit Rabbit!  

Yeah, Vacation is here!  I hope this email finds everyone enjoying vacation!  I will be keeping a journal this summer on my webpage (right here) on my summer happenings with the Forest Service.  My plan is to journal a few times a week and send an email to all of you with a click of the button. If you're not interested in receiving summer updates, please email me and let me know and I will remove you from the contacts.  This is also true if you'd like to be added to the email list.  LMK and I will add you so you get automatic updates.  I love hearing from my incoming and past students, so please practice your typing skills and send me some emails this summer and I will respond.

Today started off humid.  I woke up from my home in Bow at 5am and was out the door by 6.  I dropped my husky (Zealand) off at my parents house/(I told him he was staying the next few days at Grampy's).  He was happy to go and jumped in the car knowing he was going for a ride. We set out.  He had his head out the window, resting his chin on the glass and eyes closed as he took in the morning air.  (I love glancing in the mirror and seeing him so content. My heart fills with joy.)  It as a short time before we arrived at 'Grampy's'.  Zealand leaped out of the car and ran for the door as I dragged behind.  With a turn of the key we were in and he was off, up the stairs, anxiously waiting for me to remove the gate at the top of the stairs.  Then with two big strides he leaped from the doorway to the bed....as 'Grampy growned...Zealand settled in eager to get some more sleep before they awoke.

I left a little note on the table to feed Fin!  (Yes, Fin the Betta fish came home with me for the summer and is in the care of my parents until I return.) 

I ventured north, first hitting 89 then 93 then decided to go through Meredith, so I exited the highway at 23.  I normally drive to Lincoln and then over the Kancamagus Highway (route 112) to Conway.  (The ranger station is at 33 Kancamagus Highway.)  This morning I was behind schedule so I took the shorter route to work so I'd make our 8am meeting at the Saco Ranger Station.  I would normally travel over the Kancamagus Highway and take in the beautiful vistas and stop to take in the beauty.  (I am a person that loves views and will seek them out.  They are what makes my heart most content.)

I arrived in Conway with 10 minutes to spare.  So I stopped at Irving to grab two bags of ice and then arrived at the Ranger Station (RS) with 5 minutes to spare.  As I exited my vehicle I could hear my friends welcoming me back for another summer.  What a great feeling.  I was filled with joy and excitement as I mingled and talked as we made our way to the meeting room.  The meeting went well and I chatted with Kathy the Biologist on the forest after the meeting. I told her I was interested in joining her on her Bat Surveys.  She informed me that they start at 9pm and there are 3 different routes they drive.  One is Evan's Notch, Bear Notch and I believe the Kancamagus Highway.  She said I could join her some time.  Yeah!  I can't wait to share more with everyone about my experience(s) of Bat Surveying. 

Lon my boss, lead me over to the Visitor Information Center (VIS) after the meeting to go over paperwork.  Then I worked VIS until about 1pm.  Then Lon met me up at the Russell Colbath House (RC House) @1:30 to meet Fanila the other women I'd be working with this summer at the RC House.  I arrived and entered the house as Fanila was talking to some guests.  I took in so much information while I was there, that I'm praying I remember it all for tomorrow.  (You ever feel that way.  It's like brain overload.)  Then I was informed by Lon that I would be opening and closing tomorrow...EEK.  Would I remember how to close?  Then Fanila showed me a check list to closing and opening. FEW...

As I departed at 4:30 tonight, I swung by Jigger Johnson Campground to check in with Gary the host.  I will be running the campground programs again, and Gary is the boss for the all the campgrounds on the Kancamagus Highway and White Ledge.  We talked about the programs and then I started home.  Not back to Bow, but over Bear Notch to the Bartlett Experimental Forest.  You ask what is that?  Well, it's a facility where students do studies on the forest for their Masters Degrees and PhD's.  So many people live here each year for the summer.  In years past, we've had SCA crews (Student Conservation Association), Trail Crews, Students doing college work and people like myself who are seasonal workers for the forest service.  I did hear at our meeting this week that there will be an SCA crew from Manchester, NH this summer coming up. They will be high school seniors.  So excited to have them up here and meet them. 

I've already spoken to a student here that is working on her project on fungus that grows on the roots of Ash trees.  I will update you with more information on her project as I become more familiar with it.  I did learn that the fungus on the roots doesn't hurt the Ash trees, but rather the fungus provides nutrients to roots that the roots can't find and the roots in turn help the fungus.  I can't remember how the roots help the fungus, so I will get back to you on that as well as the details to her project.

I went out for dinner tonight at the Bartlett store in town by the library.  I ordered a delicious italian grinder and bought a delicious rootbeer in a glass bottle.  They also sell Birchbeer and Sassafrass drinks in the bottle. Both are very good and refreshing.

My plan now is to get a few campground programs done for this weekend and next.  I plan to print them at the Saco (RS) tomorrow and then pass them out to the campgrounds either in the morning tomorrow or Wednesday morning.

~~~~Please do some sun dances to help the sun find its way back to NH!~~~

***Campground update***

Plenty of space in the campgrounds. No one is full. Numbers are low due to wet weather.

**Ranger Jen**