Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction. Rachel Carson
One potential answer is, why not? It is truly a superb job.
But for me, the true answer lay somewhere in the middle of my drive for authenticity and my desire to share the natural world in a meaningful way, to help others find value in wildness, to vote and shop with those values in mind.
My own initial experience of Yellowstone was coming out as a seasonal worker 25 years ago. I had the chance to immerse deeply in a wild new world full of 10,000' summits, long backpacks, deep friendships, whitewater rafting, bear encounters...oh, and work.
Yellowstone was to me a healing place, a spot to catch my breath, grieve for a love lost, and recognize my worth. I finished off my first season and left with a heavy heart, feeling like that was the pinnacle of my life.
But I came back. And again. And again. I started guiding, helping others experience the magic I felt. I learned how to tell stories and connect wide-eyed kids and sometimes disenfranchised adults to the magic of Yellowstone. I would watch in wonder as someone shed tears over their first wolf sighting, or close their eyes listening to the roar of the spring run-off at the Lower Falls, moved by the power of nature.
I began to see how I could be a mouthpiece for the precious wilderness where I lived. I felt people change as they experienced the magic for themselves. I heard from clients months and years later about how our time in Yellowstone had affected their life. I expanded my guiding opportunities into other platforms, driving a snowcoach through the quiet, white interior of Yellowstone, led children's programs, backpacked for days with people from around the world, and taught as an instructor with the Yellowstone Association, the educational partner of Yellowstone National Park.
I still have the opportunity to lead people of all ages and backgrounds into an extraordinary experience, and it always brings me back to the very new place of wonder and excitement I felt when I first enjoyed those moments myself. The possibility and joy of discovery is still strong in Yellowstone. Sharing that feels like a privilege.
My own discoveries in Yellowstone still feel like a gift. I have worked for a number of outstanding companies and organizations, and Just recently have been given the opportunity to help others share their Yellowstone voice through our own company, Walking Shadow Ecology. The voices who speak for wilderness, wildness and conserving those values just grew stronger.
That is why I guide in Yellowstone. Thanks for being here with us.