I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


Thank you for stopping by. Just to let you know, I'm still blogging but have moved to Geogypsytraveler. Hope you'll follow my adventures. Just click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My World Tuesday - The gypsy life of a seasonal park ranger

After too many years barely surviving financially (see previous My Worlds), and really missing being a Park Ranger, I secured a position with the National Park Service at Oregon Caves National Monument as a cave tour guide.

Carson in RV space at Oregon Caves National Monument

I arrived on a Thursday in March and parked my RV at an assigned site two miles away from the visitor center and cave entrance. It snowed all weekend and I didn’t see a soul. Monday, and for the next two weeks, I mostly walked to training. Then I bought a cheap car.

Me in the visitor center

Sometimes I worked in the visitor center selling cave tour tickets, books and postcards. Every person going on the 90 minute cave tour must be able to walk a paved half-mile at 4,000 feet, climb 527 steps mostly up, twist, turn, stoop to 4 feet in one place, and kids must be 42 inches tall. Plus the cave temperature is 43 degrees.

Cave entrance

Most of the time, I lead tours of no more than 16 visitors through this maze of marble cave, up to three times a day. I wove together a story about the natural and cultural history of the cave along the way. It’s a very personal cave, narrow, walls close enough to touch, which is the number one thing not to do. If you want to see more of the cave and can't visit it yourself (closed in winter) I guess I could give a tour, if your interested.

Travertine flowstone in Petrified Gardens

After the tour it’s like a step back in time visiting the historic lodge. Called the Chateau, it was completed in 1934 and you can still sit in the old fashioned soda shop and enjoy one of the best milk shakes ever.

Historic Oregon Caves Chateau

Oregon Caves NM is located in southwestern Oregon between Crater Lake and Redwoods National Parks just 20 curvy miles off the Redwood Hwy. I visited both, however this was the summer of many fires and Crater Lake wasn’t visible for photos.

Giant Redwoods

If you saw last week’s SkyWatch of the 2002 Biscuit Fire sky, this is why I was there. The smoke actually came into the cave’s upper blasted entrance tunnel but not past the door. I went camping on the coast with another guide and returned driving thru the fire along the Smith River. My body hair stood up as we drove past trees candling next to the narrow shoulder. Unfortunately, no photos.

Carson in Panther Creek campground Six Rivers National Forest, Oregon ( and the cheap car)

I really enjoyed being a Park Ranger at Oregon Caves. Such a fulfilling experience to learn and share an intimate experience in our underground world. But my season only lasted six months so I gave away the car to another guide and...(continued in next week’s My World Tuesday)

If you want to see the world of others or share your own click here.


fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: What a neat view of the cave. You would have to be in shape to make that trek in the cold. It's nice that you weave a story as you go through.

Photo Cache said...

This is a beautiful my world post. I can imagine how fun it is to work in such a beautiful surroundings.

Susie of Arabia said...

You are so lucky! To be able to spend my days in such splendor is something I can only imagine. Happy Holidays!

Sylvia K said...

Gaelyn, love your photos and your description of the places you've been and worked in. Take care, have a wonderful holiday! Look forward to your next My World!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Interesting how you arrived under the cover of a fairly thick blanket of snow. And the constant cold temperature of the cave also. All the parks have something unique to offer and captivate, and the change throughout the seasons. Can't wait to next part of trip.

Karen said...

We are apply at Sequoia Kings Canyon in addition to North Rim again. But, if all works out right we'll be at North Rim.

Sara G said...

WOW, what an awesome post and photo's! Thanks so much for sharing your part of the world with us.
Take care and Happy Holidays

Anonymous said...

That's too wierd, Stacey and I were at Oregon Caves in 2003 preparing to hike the Continental Divide Trail. In april and may we first Hiked up and then back down the Rouge River Trail and then Hiked back and forth the length of Redwood National Park. And then on the way home we did some hiking and camping in Oregon Caves backcountry and took the tour. I kept having the tour guide turn off the lights as much as we could get away with it. That place is awesome. Were you there in 2003?

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

This looks like a very similar cave and tour to one near us caled Alabaster Caverns in Freedom OK. Your Rv looks so gorgeous sitting there and what a chateau! Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

As Bernie just commented, we were there in 2003. Very facinating place to visit. That would be an interesting place to live and work! Happy Holidays!

George said...

What a fascinating post! I enjoyed the story and look forward to the next part. The pictures were great.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting life you've led. I, for one, would love a photo tour of the cave.

mannanan said...

Very interesting post. What a very nomadic life you lead. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Powell River Books said...

You've lived a very interesting life and a fun job. I love the outdoors. I invite you to come visit my post about Powell River and see some of the sites we have to offer. -- Margy

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