Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sweaty Saturday

It was a hot one today, and it being Saturday, the park was busy!  We stayed hopping all day long.  I don't mind busy days like these, they fly by so fast.  We didn't have many problems at all, it was a good day.  It was such a full day though, that reviewing my photos just now was a little surprising.  I had completely forgotten about the early morning activities of the day.
I started out by opening the ranger station and making plans for the day with the park staff.  On the weekends, there is very little room for projects.  We mostly work on crowd and garbage patrol, answering thousands of questions along the way.  Once the day was set in motion, I met with a ranger visiting from another park.  I took her to her campsite and got her set up for a great weekend.  Near her campsite, I found several Bull-Nettle in bloom.  These pretty, white flowers are hard to miss, not just because of their looks.  If you brush up against them, they give you a little sting.  I wore shorts today and was not able to avoid walking too close to one.  It was an irritating sensation, not as bad as a bee sting.  Fortunately, it didn't last more than a few minutes.  I did stop to take some pictures of one, and it wasn't until I reviewed my photos that I spotted the little Crab Spider perched on one of the petals.  I don't think that I would choose that seat.


Back at the park, I helped out where I could in the Ranger Station as the park began to fill up.  I had to run out to take care of some things here and there as well.  I had to reset the internet connection in the campground again and I had to unlock some locks for the group in the youth camp.  On my trips back and forth on the park drive, I saw a Gopher Tortoise marching along the road.  I wanted to stop for a photo-op, but I thought better of it.  Someone might try to avoid my parked truck and run over the Tortoise.  I decided it was best to let it keep moving along to get off of the road.  By noon, the park had reached capacity and we had to begin turning people away.  No one was mean today.  Of course, people were disappointed and frustrated, but I think almost everyone made it in eventually.  We were able to open again by 3:00 and remain open for the rest of the day.  While I was manning my post at the turn-around cones, I noticed a wild grape vine.  These vines are very common, all over Florida.  They are also referred to as Muscadine Grapes or, my favorite, Scuppernong.  The grapes will be ripe in late summer and everyone will be after them.  Bear, Deer, Turkey, Gopher Tortoises, even people love them!  They have a tougher skin and bigger pit than the grapes you buy at the grocery store, but they are worth the trouble.

Once the rush was over, I retreated to the office to work on some e-mails and incident reports.  A turkey was enjoying the lack of traffic near the office and the freshly raked courtyard as well.

It was a busy day, but a good day.  The visitors were happy and well behaved.  Our radios gave us some trouble today, but that issue worked itself out.  Lets hope that tomorrow goes just as smoothly.

Thought of the Day #54
I found out about an incident on the Wekiva River last night from the evening news.  Tragically, a canoe overturned and one person did not survive.  The event had nothing to do with our park and it happened miles away on the river.  One news station reported that it did happen at the park and that was disappointing to me.  We had a few concerned people call the park to see if we were still open because of what they had heard.  Unfortunately, in my time here at Wekiwa, I'm sure I will have to deal with tragedy like this in the park.  We do all that we can to maintain the safety of our visitors, but people make their own choices in life and they aren't always good ones.  Also, with the high volume of people coming through the park, things are just bound to happen.  All that I can do is to learn from each situation.  Please be safe when you recreate.

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