Today I began the interpreter's field guide. It's already turning into a huge deal, definitely going to be some kind of book at the end of summer. When I began describing concepts behind the tectonics and glacial history of the park, I realized most people don't have a geology background and few people have a basic understanding of the subject. So in go chapters on the rock cycle, the theory of plate tectonics, accretionary terranes, and all of that interesting stuff.
At this point, I only have a basic understanding of Denali and Alaskan geology. It's confusing, for sure. Denali is the size of Massachusetts. But I know the glacial history of the park pretty well now, even though I'm having trouble tracking down the actual published (?) papers that documented each glaciation.
Still no official word on what will happen to the other two GeoCorps interns who were going to work with the geologist who died. I'm curious - it's really an unfortunate situation to be in. There's a chance they had other offers elsewhere but turned them down in favor of this opportunity. I also selfishly mourn for the loss of who would have been one of my biggest mentors, as he was eager to incorporate me into his field research. Just an hour or two before I was told about his death, my supervisor and I were discussing how I would take an aviation exam to accompany researchers on small planes throughout the park (glacier landings!!).
Picked up two hitchhikers in the park who jumped for joy at me stopping. It turned out they were part of a pack of bicyclists heading for the Savage River checkpoint...way, way west down the park road. I think the place is only 15 miles from the entrance, but it seems a lot longer. Especially because of the hilly conditions the first few miles. We passed three of their other friends on bikes. We lucked out and saw a very large moose right on the side of the road, oblivious to our presence with that 'MUST EAT' zoned-out look on its face.
Hitchhiking won't be all the common, I'd imagine, once the buses pick up in the coming weeks.