Sometimes up here at the ranch it feels and looks like summer long after the calendar proclaims the arrival of autumn. This year was no exception with plenty of sunny days that were warm if not downright hot! Around early-October the first frost of the year knocked out some of our garden plants and reminded us of the season. A few weeks later there were a few branches on the cottonwood trees that began to turn a greenish-yellow. Now the entire campus is covered in golden reminders that autumn is firmly here. Even though it feels like autumn just arrived, freezing temperatures for a couple of nights tell us that winter is knocking on our door!
Not all of the changes around here have to do with the seasons. There are some new faces at Pathfinder and some familiar faces at new positions. Shari (or maybe you know her as Lichen) is our new wrangler working with the horses and is joined by her riding partner, Risk. Shari is also our go-to person for all of our climbing elements such as the Alpine Tower and Sunburst. Ryan (or Yucca) has changed roles and is now our director for the outdoor education program after working as a naturalist last year.
Our new faces on the naturalist staff are Willow and Dandelion. Willow is a huge fan of popping bubbles on bubble wrap and enjoys looking for new plants around the campus. Dandelion loves to travel to new places and spends a lot of her free time on the trails at Pathfinder. They both also teach some really fun classes, too! Hopefully you’ll get to meet them next time you make it up to the ranch.
A special shout-out goes to the school that joined us for Halloween. The naturalists put together a scary-yet-fun haunted lake for the students and it was a big success. There were creepy experiments, competitions, stories, gooey surprises, and even a naturalist or two lurking in the lake! The students loved it so much that they requested a second trip around the haunted lake with scarier zombies and lake monsters!
We hope that you are enjoying the changing of the seasons wherever you are. Start thinking of your favorite autumn recipes – Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!