Volunteer Ranger Corps: All in a Day

An Adventure on the Eagle Wind Trail

Seven-thirty Sunday morning, and I’m checking the forecast before heading out to the Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain for a Volunteer Ranger Corps (VRC) patrol. Rain is in the forecast, so I pack rain gear in addition to the usual essentials. After I finish packing, I hit Highway 66 to begin my road to adventure. There is an overcast sky above the mountains to the west, and only a few raindrops on my windshield, so I figure my patrol will be completed long before the wet weather hits.

I pull into the entrance at the open space and assess the parking lot. Cars are parked in the appropriate stalls; no illegal parking to be seen in the section marked for trailers. This is a good start to my patrol. I park my car, gather my patrol gear, and approach the kiosk at the trailhead only to observe a furry canine friend off leash. The owner of the dog is nearby with a retractable leash in her hand. I greet the owner, introduce myself as a member of the VRC, and explain the leash regulation to her. We chat for a few minutes (turns out she is visiting from out of state), and then I start my patrol on Eagle Wind Trail.

As I start my patrol, I notice the birds are unusually vocal and prairie dogs suspiciously silent, probably due to the impending weather. The weather is also affecting the number of hikers on the trail, with only a handful to be seen. Then the wind picks up, urging me to pick up my pace before the rain arrives. I heed the wind’s urgency, hoping to reach a sheltered area before the storm hits.

I reach a pine-sheltered area just as the storm breaks, and a light rain begins to fall. The light rain hasn’t deterred a dog owner who stops for a chat. She is concerned about dog waste along the trails, asking me who to contact about placing dog waste stations in accessible areas. I suggest that she check the kiosk at the trailhead for a contact phone number. The pet owner thanks me for the suggestion and my service as she hurries to get out of the rain.

The wet weather forces me to stop and dig out my rain gear. Just as I finish putting on my rain gear, a lone hiker notices my VRC armband and asks me about the program. I am more than happy to answer the hiker’s questions, as well as letting her know the VRC will soon be seeking new recruits. The hiker inquires about contact information for the VRC program, then continues her journey. The rain becomes a downpour, compelling me to hurry along on my own journey back to the trailhead.

Slogging along in the rain on the trail back to the trailhead, I remind myself it’s only water, and I will dry out eventually. No complaining while on patrol duty! I arrive at the trailhead, drenched but happy. As I toss my wet rain gear into my trunk, I wonder where my next adventure will take me.

I can’t wait for another Volunteer Ranger Corps adventure to begin!

Join the Volunteer Ranger Corps

Give back to your community while enjoying time in the beautiful parks of Boulder County.

Volunteers hike, bike, run, walk a dog, or ride a horse on some of Boulder County’s most scenic trails while providing park visitors with information about recreational opportunities, facilities, local resources, and regulations. Volunteers are also trained to lead and assist staff with community outreach and education, visitor studies, and emergency operations.

Volunteers must attend five academy training sessions (one day each month) from January until May in 2019.

Learn more