Working with fellow CVA interns on an Alternative Spring Break was a grand adventure! When Ryan contacted me back in January about the possibility of going out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP’s) for the program, I was ecstatic… but I wasn’t too sure what my supervisor, or park, would think about it. Maybe they would want me to not be distracted, and just focus on our park in the months I’m here? Of course, I was unsure and anxious about it, when I didn’t have to be. Both my supervisor and our Park Superintendent actually thought it was a fantastic idea. They were so nonchalant about it that I was super pumped and appreciative! When March 23 came, I headed down to Cleveland, OH.

I went to Ohio early to visit my cousin, who recently got a job at NASA, and his family. After an overnight stay with my family, I headed to the Valley’s Environmental Education Center (EEC), where the dorms are located. I helped Liz, fellow CVA, place agendas around the campus, and checked in college students. When everyone headed to dinner, I was floored. The kitchen at the EEC created fresh foods from their backyard garden into almost gourmet dishes (see picture below)! Let’s just say we ate well, and despite burning calories on all that physical labor, I don’t think I was hungry all weekend!

Saturday dawned cloudy and bright. We couldn’t have asked for better weather… it almost reached 70 degrees that day! I participated in an early morning, 6:30 am, hike, and then we headed to work. One group built a trail turnpike, and I assisted them in shoveling rocks and trail mix into a wheelbarrow. The other group started building a compost bin for the garden, which they completed on Sunday morning. After a quick nap (oh, and lunch J), we headed out for a hike through the ledges, huge cliff-like deposits of sandstone among the trees. Later, the night hike that evening was especially enjoyable, as we listened for night sounds, and climbed into a hollow tree! (In a picture below someone’s foot can be seen inside the hollow tree as she climbs up into it!) To end the day, many of the spring breakers and CVAs hung out around a campfire where Liz and a friend of hers taught us fire painting… ‘twas a beautiful night to remember!

Sunday morning weather was as fantastic as ever. My favorite part of Sunday included developing a fire wood brigade to load the wood at CVNP’s Resource Management location into a truck, which took the wood back to the EEC to be used for campfires for school children. While hauling the wood, we answered funny questions asked by none other than Ranger Josh, and say fun songs! By the end of the morning, we were all sad to leave after eating lunch, but thankfully all the smartphones came out and we are now connected via the WORLD WIDE WEB!

Here’s to many weekend memories, and hopefully more to come! I’ll perhaps see you all around different National Parks and Public Lands!!