Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Muir Woods National Monument

I was stationed at Muir Woods for three years, and WOW actually had my job title changed from Administrative Assistant to the exulted title of Administrative OFFICER.

I have some slides of the park, but they haven't been scanned to CD as yet. The company I've been using for scanning, DigMyPics.com, suffered a terrible fire back in May, and I was lucky as I didn't have any slides with them at the time. They had some 100,000 slides and negatives when the fire took place, and have spent the last several months salvaging what images they could save from their servers. They did such a fine job of scanning for me that I've waited until they were back in business again (which seems to have taken place in the past couple of weeks), so now I can continue have my slides scanned.

In the meantime, I will feature one photograph from Muir Woods in this post. While I was working there, two different movie companies were allowed to film some scenes in the Woods. The first film was "Petulia" starring George C. Scott, and he was there for the filming. The film director was Richard Lester. The second film was "Finian's Rainbow" starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark, and was directed by Francis Ford Coppola (yes, even he did have some flops). All these people came to the Muir Woods "set", and the one photo here is of yours truly enjoying a moment with Petula Clark.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Point Lobos Interlude - More rocks and sand

Tonto National Monument - Part 2

By far, the nicest aspect of living at Tonto was being in the Arizona-Sonoran desert. Having seen many, many, "nature" programs on PBS over the years, I'm convinced this desert is the most beautiful in the world with its wonderful variety of flora and fauna including the iconic giant Saguaro cactus.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tonto National Monument

My first assignment as an administrative assistant was at Tonto National Monument in central Arizona. Tonto was set aside to preserve the ruins of the Indian cliff dwellings found there.

There was a "huge" staff at Tonto: the Superintendent, Park Ranger, Maintenance man, and myself. But we also hired a couple of seasonal employees in the summer.

During the year I worked there, a new visitor center was built (see picture above), and we had a brush fire started by a thunderstorm that burned off almost half of the monument acreage. When the fire was out, I was sent up in a helicopter (first time and scared to death) to take record photographs of the burned areas. The black and white photo in this group of the upper ruins was taken on that airborne journey. I was using a 4 x5 Speed Graflex camera.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So Long to Carlsbad Caverns

Moving On!

Once again, it became time for a change. At Carlsbad, I realized I really wasn't cut out for "ranger" work particularly the police aspect. And this was in the days well before rangers had to carry guns and to attend special Federal Law Enforcement Training schools to do their jobs.

But while I was at Carlsbad, I learned that each park had an Administrative Officer position responsible for personnel, procurement, the park finances, property management, park housing, and other fun stuff. He/she also sat at the right hand of god - The Park Superintendent -- and as such was a principle adviser.

So, I took the Federal Entrance Exam again, and this time I passed! As a result, lo and behold, an offer came along asking if I wanted to transfer to Tonto National Monument in Arizona as the Administrative Assistant (officer). The answer of "yes" is now part of history as I remained an administrative officer living in eight different parks for the remainder of my 30 year career in the National Park Service.

Please enjoy some final black and white Cavern photographs.

The Guides at Carlsbad Caverns - 1963

What a group! (This photo was taken a few months after I left to my next assignment). Some of these people went on to full Park Service careers while others went off into other "endeavors".

Bob Kaune (far right in the middle row) left the NPS after a several years, and started his own business selling antique tools. With the arrival of digital cameras, he took up fine art photography as well (See Websites and Blogs section on left hand side of this page).

Bob Barbee (second from the right in the top row) went on to spend his entire career in the National Park Service, and ultimately retired from the position of the NPS Alaska Regional Director.

The three ladies pictured were local town of Carlsbad folks who stayed in the NPS but choose to remain guides at the Caverns. Also pictured is Harry During, the Park Superintendent at the time (second from the left in the front row).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Photography at Carlsbad Caverns

Back in the "good" old days of film, cave photography was a challenge. The rooms in Carlsbad are so hugh that a flash was useless.

For color photography, you had to use a special film made to produce the correct colors when shot in artificial light. If I recall correctly, even that film had a problem with long exposures. But here are a couple of color photos taken up close with a flashgun.

Primarily I took photographs with black and white film with the camera mounted on a tripod using the artificial lights installed to illuminate the Caverns for the park visitors. Guides were able to go into the Caverns after tour hours, so long exposures were possible.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

I worked at Carlsbad for a year, and figured I walked 1,500 miles on tours of the cave. Guides had other duties as well such as parking lot control, information desk person, and of all things, digging out irrigation ditches on land owned by the park as part of a water rights dispute (I wonder if that issue was ever settled).

Note: I scanned these photographs from old black and white prints which I took of these formations while I was working at the park.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The National Park Service

While living and working in Yosemite, I decided I wasn't cut out for the hotel business (who likes working a 60 hour work week -- not me), but I realized there was another group of people who lived in the park who worked for the National Park Service. By then, I was also taken with the whole idea of National Parks and all the reasons to preserve and protect them. I could become a Park Ranger!

So, in 1958, I took the Federal Service Entrance Exam and flunked. (Even if I had passed, there were very few openings available, and they were being filled by veterans who receive preference in the Federal hiring system.) However, I soon discovered there was a "back door" to getting into the NPS -- start as a Park Guide at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. So, I then took what amounted to a minor in geology at SF State to help me qualify for a guide position.

It wasn't until the spring of 1962 before the guide test was even given, but hurrah, I passed this time (actually a really easy test). And by then, I was known by certain NPS people in Yosemite who recommended me for employment, so much to my delight and happiness, I received my first National Park Service position at Carlsbad, and reported there on June 10, 1962.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Point Lobos Intermission

Actually, before moving on, I'll take a break for some Point Lobos photographs. As I mention in my bio, I've taken hundreds of pictures of this marvelous place over the past 16 years, and here are some samples. As you can see, there is a wide variety of photo opportunities besides the ocean edge of this state reserve. You can see everything from Japanese bamboo brushes to the old and the young enjoying the view!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here and There in Yosemite

As I get ready to move on to my next National Park, I've brought together a last group of photographs of Yosemite. Please click here to view them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Wawona Hotel

I never worked at this hotel, nor really spent much time there. A couple of years ago, we stayed there for a couple of nights with my son, Greg, and his wife, Tracy. The hotel is a National Historic Landmark, and features what I consider a National Treasure, Tom Bopp. Tom plays the piano five nights a week in the lounge. He is not only an excellent musician, but is the unofficial historian of the Wawona area, the music written over the years about Yosemite, and the park's history in general. To learn more about him, click on the link on the left side of this blog page. (Photo of Tom Bopp by L. Radnvch)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hike to the Summit of Mount Dana

Here's one of the most delightful hikes in Yosemite. You start from the Tioga road above Toulumne Meadows, pass through fields of wildflowers, and soon arrive above tree line.

As you proceed higher, grand Sierra vistas open to view with small lakes and glacial cirques.

Finally on the top of the mountain. The hardest part of the hike is the final several hundred feet in elevation where you are climbing on skree -- loose rock that slips and slides under your feet.

But it is well worth the effort for the view from the top is wonderful. At 13,057 feet above sea level, you can see the crest of the Sierra and look over on Mono Lake.

Also at the summit, there is (was) a metal Sierra Club registry box to sign your name and date of accent. Hey, note my great "hiking boots" and argyle socks. Hush Puppies forever!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Boy's Town

For my first two summers in Yosemite, I lived in a tent in Boy's Town at Camp Curry. The first summer I was the relief clerk at three refreshment stands (two days at each place: Happy Isles, Lost Arrow, and Chinquapin). The second summer I was a room clerk at the Housekeeping Camp.

There was another area at Curry called The Terrace which was in the rocks above the main facilities. The girls lived up there, and any boy caught up there was immediately fired. And the same was true of any girl caught in Boy's Town. My, my, how times have changed.

Here's a photo of myself and my room mate for those two years (and a continuing good friend), Tom Davis. He worked as a cook in the Camp Curry kitchen.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Jeffery Pine on Sentinal Dome

This famous Yosemite tree was photographed thousands of times during its lifetime. It died during a drought period several years ago, and I think all that is left today are pieces of dead wood.

Here are a few pictures of the tree in its prime and all its glory taken back in the 1950's.