Sunday, September 24

I woke up at our hotel in Willcox, Arizona with my mom and grandma who had driven down with me from Colorado. We took advantage of the hot breakfast they were serving before we headed off. The drive is about 45 minutes from Willcox to Chiricahua National Monument. The drive is awesome. You get stunning views of the Chiricahua Mountains and the Dos Cabezas Mountains, as well as seeing vast, arid terrain and odd looking hills and plants everywhere. The road also features a lot of rolling hills -- when you go fast on them, it feels like a roller coaster. Fun! The radio channel that is best received during this drive is a fitting classical music station. It was fun listening to the climactic music while marveling at the views.

We pulled over at the Chiricahua entrance sign so I could get my picture with it. We pulled into the monument and drove about two miles down the road to stop at the visitor center. The NPS symbol is big right next to the center, so I got a picture with it. So cool. We went inside and I told the person at the desk that I was the new intern starting tomorrow, and was wondering if I can get into housing today. She told me to go see another person who would be arriving soon. In the meantime, we looked around the small visitor center. I am going to take so much advantage of all the cool things they have for sale at the center. Friends, expect postcards...or more!

While walking back out to the car, we ran into a young woman park ranger named Ann. She said she was exactly who I needed to speak to! I went inside and received some paperwork to fill out and keys to the site and my housing. There is a gym for staff onsite, but the most important detail is...THERE IS ALSO A SWIMMING POOL. I just about jumped for joy! Time to SWIM! There is no cell signal at the site, but there is fast wifi. I will probably get a calling card so I can call people on the landline. She drove with me to show me my housing. As of now, I have a whole small house to myself. To myself! It's amazing! There is another SCA intern named Andy and another SCA person housed next to me in the guy's dorm. I got to choose from three possible bedrooms in the house, so I chose the largest.It's such a cute little place. It has a fireplace, living with with a TV, kitchen amenities, a small little backyard, a washer, and a dryer, and an ironing machine, in the pinesol scented air, somewhere that's (relatively) greeeeeen.

Mom and Gramma helped me unload my things into my room. We made a list of things we needed to purchase. After that, we decided to drive along Bonita Canyon Drive, which is an eight mile scenic drive where you can see views of most of the park. While driving, a deer was casually chilling in the road, but went into the trees as we approached. The rock formations here are truly fascinating. It truly is a "wonderland of rocks." We were told it was best to stop at the pull-offs on the way down, so we drove all the way up to the end of the road, Massai Point. This is where you can get amazing panoramic views of the park. Hundreds upon hundreds of pinnacle rock formations clumped together in a vast field. Past the formations, you could see the dry grassland, and further on, the skyline of more mountains. We walked around a little while up here, enjoying the view. On the way down, we stopped at the pull-offs. I got to see the China Boy, Sea Captain, and Organ formations. The Organ looks like an absolute theme park for technical rock climbing, if it was allowed. However, the park itself was established to protect these rock formations, so it is prohibited. I also learned that 86% of the park is designated wilderness!

We drove back into Willcox for dinner at McDonald's, followed by a MASSIVE stock up on groceries at Safeway. We needed a card and a basket. Since I'm going to be relying on myself for ALL my food now, I need to be healthy and have everything I need for this task. There are no restaurants at the site anywhere. You get what you bring (there are some prickly pear gummy candies for sale at the VC, though!). Lots of vegetables were purchased. Mostly green beans and peas. Tons of them, though. I refueled at the TEXACO (Go Grampa!!) stateion in town, and then had to say goodbye to my mom and grandma. It was emotional and I will miss them. They have been so helpful to get me here and make sure I have everything I need. I love them so much!

I began the drive back to the site. Due to the simplicity of Willcox, I already had everything uner my belt and didn't need directions to get back to the site. I had a nice drive, enjoying the roller coaster. I saw another deer run across the road. I arrived back at the house and immediately began the process of unloading EVERYTHING. It took several trips. The sun was setting and I stopped to look at the amazinv view from my front porch. Surrounded by high canyon walls and rock formations, and perfectly quiet and serene. As orphan Annie says, "I think I'm gonna like it here!" I unloaded all of my food and stored it accordingly.

Now, being me, it was time to clean the place! The place looked just fine, but, I'm me. I wiped down every surface in my room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room. I got a bucket and pinesol and mopped the ENTIRE tiled floor, excluding my bedroom, which was carpet. I washed the bath rugs and vacuumed in my room. I cleaned out the bathroom sinks and then went to work on hard cleaning the bathtub and shower. Lots of soap scum and stains. I certainly used a ton of soft scrub and spent time doing work in there. But, bathtubs must be clean! I did all of this, and I had so much fun doing all of it. This is my place for now, and I could make sure it was perfectly pristine. Now I am totally comfortable here. I took a shower and cralwed into bed and went to sleep.

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