Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too Much Data

Today was a busy whirlwind where I did not feel much like a park ranger. The morning was normal. I opened the gate and immediately found my first photo of the day just outside of the gate.
When I put up the flags, my three new friends were there. I don't think that they like seeing me as much as I like seeing them, but I do steal their covers every morning.
When I got to the main park, I opened the office and then opened the cabin. I enjoyed the view from the cabin window for a minute and then got to work. I did my morning paperwork and then cautiously waded in to a scary looking project that had been e-mailed to me yesterday. The project needed to be completed by tomorrow and I have to give a program all day at Ichetucknee tomorrow. I had a very narrow window to complete this scary looking project because I needed to leave the park by 10:30 to drive to Jacksonville for a training. I looked at the project, which was a database of changes we have made and need to make in order to have the park comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. It had a lot of blank spaces and cryptic acronyms. The more I looked at it, the more confused I was. I tried calling the contact listed for the project and got no answer. I called my boss, we puzzled over it together for a few minutes and then I called the contact again with better results. She was able to explain the blank spaces and strange letters to me and I zipped right through the project. I quickly wrapped things up in the office and hopped in the truck to head to Jacksonville.
The drive was just under two hours... with no radio and no cruise control. I experienced about 10 to 15 minutes of downtown city driving and realized that it has been a while since I have been out of the woods and off of the country roads. I think my truck was wondering why all the other trucks were shiny and clean and didn't have a bag of garbage and a bucket in the back. The training was pretty much painful. It was about changes to water testing regulations and involved a lot of wordy explanations. You know you are in for a long day when the presenter himself tells you that he may have trouble staying awake for the information. The majority of the presentation was about water systems much larger than the ones that I work with in the park. At least I had the company of some fun people who I knew from other state parks on the Suwannee River. Together, we made it through. Then I made the 2 hour drive back and I was so happy to see the road to the park! Just then, my phone rang. It was the person closing the park. She had just locked up the cabin and saw something that she knew I would want to photograph. I headed to the park before I went home and got one more photo to share with you. This is a baby Oak Snake (AKA Grey Rat Snake). It probably had a meal of little lizard before nestling in between the Cedar logs on the exterior of the cabin. I wonder if it will still be there tomorrow.

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