Hitch 1 - On the Road Again

That’s right, we’ve been driving all over the country while getting ready for our season to start.  The first two weeks of our season followed a full week of member training at Camp YI located just outside of Nashville, TN.  It was sad saying goodbye to so many people as we left, but our new home and responsibilities were calling.  Between the trip back, orienting ourselves to the area, touring our survey sites, and beginning actual surveys, we were one busy team, but not too busy to have a little fun and make a few friends.

5/27/2013 – Fare Thee Well:

After saying our goodbyes to all of our newfound friends, we made the long drive back to Muskogee, OK.  Taking advantage of our road-trip freedom, we stopped in Memphis for a few hours.  While there, we celebrated Ben’s 26 birthday with a great barbeque lunch and then spent a couple of hours on Beale Street taking in the sites.

5/28/2013 – Party of Five, Plus One:

We took some much needed personal time today.  After the non-stop fun of training and the long road trip, it was needed.  We also welcomed our late arrival, Mr. Chad Hanna, to the team.  We spent the evening introducing ourselves, getting to know him, and relaxing.

5/29/2013 to 6/2/2013 – Take Me to Your Leaders:

For the next five days, we spent our time getting to know our summer home, touring our summer work sites, and meeting Rangers at the various lakes.  We began by picking up the remainder of our equipment.  Storing equipment long term means you never know what awaits you, but we were happy to find (almost) everything exactly as it was left last year.  Once we had our gear, we headed to Eufaula Lake.  We ensured that our driving routes were good, that we could properly complete surveying, and that any emergencies that might occur could be dealt with appropriately.  After Eufaula Lake, we headed over to Fort Gibson Lake for the same thing.  Finally, we ended our tour with this work at Tenkiller Ferry Lake.

During our tours of the lakes, we also stopped to look at the various projects and work completed by last year’s team.  It was gratifying to see that their hard work paid off so well.  During the fall and winter, Rangers at each lake continued improvements to the trails we established or rehabilitated.  Much work remains to be done, so we’ll take things a step further this summer.

6/2/2013 – The Calm Before the Survey:

After spending the morning deep cleaning our new home, the team took off for Tulsa to do some thrift store shopping.  We’ve also made several little friends here already.  With Sara playing the ukulele, Chad, Ben, and Hailey playing Frisbee, and all of us outside frequently, children of the neighborhood were quick to find us.

6/3/2013 to 6/4/2013 – Ready, Set, Go!:

The START OF SURVEYING!!!  As we eased into the busy weekend, we took things slowly to start and ensured we avoided mistakes along the way.

6/5/2013 – The Dam Tour:

Today was our first conservation project for the season.  We took a tour of the Fort Gibson dam, a unique opportunity given the restrictions and security for such a facility (sorry, no photos).  Recent rains across the region had raised the lake level significantly, so all 30 gates were open, spilling water.  It was an impressive sight.  Just as impressive was seeing the internal workings of the dam.  With the lake having high water and the gates open, all four generators were active.  Those things are huge!  Other points of the tour were a 50 ton crane, a view from the catwalk above the gates, long, dark tunnels, and water… lots and lots of water.

6/6/2013 to 6/8/2013 – And They’re Off!:

After our easy start, the regular, busy survey season took off.  A cool spring, significant rains, and high water meant that a lot of visitors were out at the parks.  Unfortunately, flooding forced a few of the parks to close until the water recedes.  It’s a mixed bag this survey season, one that will definitely keep us on our toes.