Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy Bee

It was a busy day for me.  My coworker was off today so I was Assistant Park Manager times two.  I had several administrative tasks that I needed to accomplish today but I was also keeping an eye on all of the field operations and helping out when I could.  We were short staffed today because of a training and an illness so everyone was spread thin today.  We did what we had to do though and there were a lot of happy visitors in the park.
In the morning, I met with the park staff to discuss the plan for the day.  After the meeting, I followed another employee to the auto repair shop to drop off a vehicle.  I headed to the office next and then to the more distant park entrances to check on the honor payment boxes.  While I was at Rock Springs Run, I saw two Sandhill Cranes.  I was so surprised to see them and I was driving pretty close, but they didn't seem to mind me at all.  I took a few photos and moved on because I had so much to do, but I could have sat there watching them all day.  I used to see and hear Sandhill Cranes flying high above Troy Springs, but it is a real treat to see them right in front of me.  I have always been fascinated by Great Blue Herons, and the Sandhill Cranes are another very large grey bird with the same grace and elegance.

My next stop was Katie's Landing.  I dropped off the new chlorine test kit that I ordered for the well maintenance.  I checked the chlorine and found it to be just right.  As I was closing up the well storage building, I found that I was not alone.  This little wasp was diligently working on building a nest.  Its lucky that I didn't have wasp spray with me.  That was not a good spot for a wasp.  I will get him next time.

When I checked the honor box, I found a little extra in there.  There were two frogs enjoying the dark, damp, box.  They did not enjoy it when I lifted the lid and exposed them to the hot sun.  I had to be very careful not to squish them as they tried to stay hidden while I moved the box mechanisms around.  They were both tucked into a safe area when I closed it up.

Katie's Landing is a newly reconstructed and re-landscaped area.  It was previously under private ownership and only recently became park property.  The area is still being refined a bit, but the landscaping around the entrance is beautiful.  There are a lot of Palmettos and these lovely white flowers.  I think that they are in the Hyssop family, but I am having trouble finding a definite ID.

When I got back to the main park area, I settled into the office for a little while.  I had to do some paperwork for the areas that I visited.  I also took a few phone calls and checked e-mail.  I got called away a little later to help out in the ranger station.  I also had to take care of some things while I was there.  I ran an errand outside of the park and then checked in with the few people working in the park.  I had to go to the youth camp area next to take a photo of a portion of our septic system.  Be glad that I didn't show the photo that I took after this of the area underneath the metal lid.

When I returned to the office, I had just enough time to e-mail the photo to the people requesting it before I got a call from the Ranger Station.  I was not able to finish the rest of the office work that I needed to do because I had to head back out into the field to retrieve an honor payment for a visitor who paid a fee that he didn't have to pay.  It was at the river access area and I had to take my shoes and socks off to wade into the water to get the payment because the water level is higher than usual.  I've got to tell you that I did not mind sticking my feet in the water one bit.  I wish that I could have jumped all the way into the spring.  It was a beautiful day out today.
I went home soon after I returned from dipping my toes in the water.  It was late in the day and my day was still not over.  The evening shift was light so I had to go in at closing to help finish things up.  I hope that we will have a full staff tomorrow to get back into the swing of things.

Thought of the Day #86
The closing procedure at Wekiwa is very different from Troy.  At Troy, we cleaned restrooms at night and at Wekiwa, they are cleaned in the morning.  At Troy, you couldn't close and lock the gate until every last person was out of the park.  I don't know how many times I talked to people several times and then still waited at the gate for another 30 minutes after closing time for them to make their way out.  At Wekiwa, there is an automatic gate that opens on its own and closes on its own, right on time.  Visitors can still leave after the gate is closed because of the automatic sensor, but only campers with the gate code can come back in after closing.  Its like having a permanent gate attendant.  At Troy, the full park drive was just over a mile.  It didn't take long to check the park to see if everyone was out.  At Wekiwa, it takes about 15 minutes to drive the park road (at 25 mph or less) from end to end.  At Troy, I could check the whole park, lock all of the buildings and even sweep the restroom in 30 minutes.  At Wekiwa, I could spend 30 minutes in each activity area of the park and another 30 minutes driving from place to place.

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