Welcome to my travels. As I head back out West for the third year in a row, I will again be documenting my travels here on my High Desert Travels blog. Only this year I will be sharing the experience with my dog Chaco. From August to near the end of November, I will be working for the National Park Service at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument as an Interpretive Ranger. My assignment includes assisting visitors and educating them on the history, geology and culture heritage of the cliff dwellings and surrounding landscape via formal and informal interpretation and tours. It will be my second year at the Gila ( heela), a remote, breath-taking, culturally significant landscape tucked into the Mogollon (mo go yon – all long Os) Mountains of far southwest New Mexico. Also documented in earlier posts was my last years’ trip to the Southwest, when I spent 3 months working for the NPS in southeastern Utah at Natural Bridges National Monument and 3 months at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
I am fortunate to be able to take another sabbatical to the Southwest to work for the Park Service – my way of ‘giving back’ or ‘paying forward.’ Of course, I believe that I gain as much from my work with the NPS, not only from the educational experience for my work as a landscape architect back in Columbus, Ohio but from the rejuvenation of the spirit that comes with living for a while in a wild place. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing some of it here through pictures and stories.
You can also read about my Southwestern travels in 2011 at my blog http://www.michaelkannardws.wordpress.com My dog Annie (who passed away last year at the age of 12) and I spent a month and a half in the Four Corners area of the Southwest that included volunteer work in the Grand Canyon for the NPS and teaching photography to middle school kids on the Navajo reservation for the Muskoka Foundation.