Hey Ranger! "The Unexpected Turn"

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April 14, 2008

Drawing “The Rescue” courtesy Grand Canyon National ParkHave you even taken a camping trip or other outdoor excursion that just didn’t work out quite the way you had hoped? If so, you’re in good company. Anyone who spends much time in the Great Outdoors knows that sooner or later, a trip will take an unexpected turn. My favorite description of those situations is, “They headed west, but their trip went south!”

Fortunately, most of those miscues eventually have a successful outcome, and once the dust has settled, they often provide a good story–and a laugh or two. During thirty years as a national park ranger at eight parks all across the country, I had plenty of opportunities to see–and occasionally experience–some of those “oops moments.” I’ll share some examples in my posts on this blog in the weeks ahead.

Some of these anecdotes will also include a tidbit of outdoor wisdom, such as this wry observation from a veteran camper: “When the group in the site next to yours starts unloading a drum set, you know it’s never going to be good!”

Many people who enjoy the out-of-doors express a touch of envy about the lives of the men and women who get to work in some of the most scenic or historic places in America. Like any job, there’s a lot more to being a ranger than meets the eye, so I’ll also include some occasional, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lighter rather than the serious side of life as a ranger.

Front Cover of book “Hey Ranger”Some of my outdoor humor stories are based on first-hand experience, while others were shared by fellow rangers or readers of my two books: Hey Ranger! True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from America’s National Parks and the sequel, Hey Ranger 2: More True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from the Great Outdoors.

If you have a favorite (and true) humorous outdoor experience you’d like to share, I’d enjoy reading it. Perhaps it will end up in a future blog. Click here for my contact information.

In my upcoming posts, you’ll read about a ground squirrel that outwitted a photographer, an unlikely encounter with a beaver in the desert and a photo taken in a park that the folks back home just couldn’t believe.

Whenever we hit an unexpected bump in the road of life, my wife is fond of reminding me with a smile, “It’s an adventure.” I hope you’ll find some smiles in these blogs, and even in any adventures-or misadventures-you may encounter during your own travels.

Jim Burnett


Life – it’s an adventure…. Find something to smile about today!

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