We're back on the Oregon Coast after an interesting summer back at Farragut State Park in Idaho - an unexpected trip that we hadn't expected to make.
We were sitting around, enjoying the park in our favorite Oregon Coast town of Bandon when I saw a Facebook post for Farragut asking for volunteers, that two couples (that we knew) had cancelled at the last minute. We called Errin, the volunteer coordinator that we worked for from 2017 to 2020, who sounded a bit desperate for help. Since we didn't have any plans for summer, we agreed to help out and planned to be there by the end of May. About 20 minutes after hanging up, I received an email from Dawn, our US F&W volunteer coordinator. The couple slated to volunteer at Harris Beach SP in Brookings, OR (where we volunteered last year) had a terrible accident - their motor home caught on fire on their way to Harris Beach and was completely destroyed - could we fill that slot? We called her explained that she was 20 minutes too late but after chatting for a while we agreed to take the slot for 2024. So in just a short time we had finalized our plans for the next two years!
For the three years we were here before, we were the "program hosts", conducting evening programs in the amphitheater and "Junior Ranger" programs on the weekend. This year there were no program hosts, but because of the shortage of campground hosts, we were asked if we would like to be "relief hosts". As relief hosts, we worked three days a week filling in for the normal campground hosts at one of the four campgrounds. We started around 9:30-10:00 by preparing sites vacated that morning.We cleaned fire pits, scrubbed the metal picnic tables, picked up any litter, and raked the sites. Each site took 10-15 minutes to prepare for the next camper. The workload varied each day, but normally we were done by 1:00, the checkout time for campers. We had our own electric cart with supplies which made things easier. The nice part is that when we were done, we were done for the day - no campers knocking on the door for firewood or dealing with late night quiet time offenders.
We were fine with this for June and most of July, but then the hot weather arrived. Cleaning sites in the sun with 90 degree temps, and being hindered by my AFIB and a bad back eventually became too much. The volunteer coordinator (Errin - an amazing person) offered us the chance to go back to being the program hosts or "interpretive hosts" for the remainder of our stay. We gladly accepted, and once again conducted evening programs and held Junior Ranger programs. Our first love has always been working with children, and we truly enjoyed teaching them the hand movements of "leave no trace" or how to make an "owl bag" or "bat hat". As the kids worked on the project, we'd talk about the subject, including teaching them the Barred Owl's hoot that sounds like "who cooks for you?".
Every year our medicine cabinet grows more crowded with pills, every morning reveals a new ache, but every morning holds the promise of a new adventure. In spite of our age, we're not ready to quit the road yet, and we're already looking forward to next summer as we again volunteer for US Fish & Wildlife. So check back every once in a while and see how year19 is going!