Friday, June 18, 2010

Exploding Themes

I got through my first Katmai evening program earlier this week, and I think it went pretty well particularly since I spent a lot of my free time working on it (as interpreters often do) and even though I really was stressing over it (as I usually do). We had also been given occasional paid “project time” in which to put together this program and two other activities to present every week or so over the course of the season. We are responsible for the evening program on a topic of our own choice, a cultural walk (to a reconstructed 700-year-old Eskimo habitation site), and the tour to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. On the Valley tour we do a short talk at each of two stops along the 23-mile drive, and then another short talk at the Three Forks visitor center. Plus we chatter interpretively along as we hike down into the Valley and to Ukak Falls.

We were encouraged to come up with our own themes but could get help as needed. When it came time to do an outline for my evening program on Novarupta (the 1912 volcanic eruption for which Katmai is famous), mine was so all over the geologic map it was insane. And this was just the outline! I of course want to talk about everything that has anything to do directly or indirectly with the explosion of Novarupta and the collapse of Mt. Katmai caldera. The Wallace Line, anyone?

So finally (after some serious input from someone at Katmai who is really good at “crafting themes”) I was able to whittle it down to four talking points. After this, the rest was fairly easy. But to get to that “easy” point I had become so stressed with the whole process (Who, me? Stressed?) that I was JUST NOT HAVING ANY FUN.
So I said to myself “Self – you need to chillax. “

There they were again - those friendly voices in my head were telling me that my programs were fine, they were put together at last, and I wouldn’t need to be spending anymore of my free time on them. I GOTTA LIVE, AND HIKE, AND GO OUT IN A CANOE, AND DO CROSSWORD PUZZLES, AND LOB MORE PUMICE INTO NAKNEK LAKE!!!

The salmon are almost here!!! OMG!!! Any day now!!!
I can hear them swimming up through the Naknek River from Bristol Bay right now. Soon it is going to be so cool and it is going to be so crazy – potentially thousands of salmon, 300 visitors, and 25-30 brown bears every day, all trying to be in the same place at the same time during the month of July – the two-mile stretch of water called Brooks River in Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula.

If the phone in the office worked I would call MY FAVORITE TRAVEL AGENT the minute I see a fish.
Everyone I have talked with says it is going to be amazing.
I can’t believe I’m here.

Bridge across Brooks River with Lower River Viewing Platform

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