Tom and I heading back to civilization, so I thought I would review the things I will miss (and won’t) about living in Death Valley and working at Scotty’s Castle.
I will miss:
1. Our fellow rangers. We have gotten to work with a great group of people. Some we like better than others, of course, but we all worked hard and worked well together. We have been impressed with how seriously everyone takes their work – always trying to improve. Everyone puts the interests of our visitors at the top of their priorities – we all want our visitors to have the very best possible experience. We will miss working with these folks and look forward to visiting them in the future.
2. Connecting visitors to Death Valley and Scotty’s Castle. We have been Interpretive Rangers which means that our job is to connect visitors intellectually and emotionally to the National Park. Tom and I each gave tours to over 1,500 people. We also have talked to people on the grounds and in the Visitor’s Center and it is wonderful when you see their eyes light up with interest or enthusiasm for the Castle and Park.
3. The view out our window every morning. We have been so privileged to be able to stay right in the National Park. We never take the gorgeous views for granted. Every time we drive anywhere in the park, we find new things to see and new ways to appreciate the things we have been seeing every day. We still have a long list of things to do in Death Valley – maybe we will have to come back another year just to finish our list.
4. The perfect weather. The daytime temperatures during the last three months have been between 60 and 90 – every day. We have had rain three days, with no precipitation since March 3. The sunshine every day is wonderful. I’ve been soaking it in as much as possible because I know we won’t get this much sunshine anyplace else.
Things I won’t miss:
1. No cell signal. I really miss being able to talk to people or text them when I am thinking about them. I’m looking forward to connecting with people again without having to do it all on Sunday.
2. Driving two hours to get to the grocery store. Or an hour to get to any worship service. Or an hour to get anywhere in the National Park. Everything is just so far away from Scotty’s Castle! It will be nice to be able to see a movie or go to church with just a 10 minute drive. And I’m looking forward to eating out at a restaurant just because I want to.
3. The fourth tour of the day. Generally the tour guides give four tours a day. I put my heart into every tour and try to be very present in the moment for the people there. But by the fourth tour of the day, especially if you’ve given four tours the previous three days, you feel like everyone has heard it all before. I am bored with the tour and have to work extra hard to remember that the people taking it haven’t been there before. Tom and I both put a lot of energy into our tours and we love giving them – but the fourth tour of the day is a special challenge.
4. Buffalo gnats. As I sit writing this I’m trying not to scratch the three bites I got last night. I’ll be going back to the land of mosquitoes where the itch only lasts a couple of days and DEET actually works.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Death Valley and at Scotty’s Castle. We have loved living in Death Valley and giving tours. We are sad to go – and excited to be moving on down the road. There are definitely things we will miss (and things we won’t)! Sounds like everyday life for all of us!