Friday, June 15, 2012

What I saw on my ride-along

I have always been an advocate of field personnel and dispatchers knowing the basics of one another's jobs. The best way to do get to know each other is via the ride-along and sit-along. I believe every Public Safety personnel should do this at least once a year, not just as part of their initial training phase. As a supervisor, I encouraged my employees do get out whenever the staffing was sufficient, even if it meant I covered the floor for a few hours.

Yesterday I made the drive from Reno to Elko and spent a day with one of our game Wardens. Following my usual practice, I'll not use his real name here, calling him Warden Wolf instead. The o'dark thirty drive went smoothly, thanks to plenty of music to pass the time.

We started out from the Elko regional office. The first stop was at South Fork Reservoir. I'd asked to see this one as our wardens patrol here frequently.  We went to the main boat launch first.

The access to the main boat launch is the East Shore entrance, or the "Lower South Fork Road". This is where the State Park office and visitors information center is. The equipment for the OUI testing is in the State Park office.

Temera Cove is locked now. It is for the Native Americans use only. The old Ranger station is at Temera Cove.

The main launch area is a "No Wake Zone". The Dam is to the north of this area. A place referred to as "Red Beach" is by the dam at the north parking lot. The "red" refers to the red coloration in the rocks.

Moving around to the southern part of South Fork, just before you cross from the road to the camping areas is a causeway with a creek and some trees. That is a spawning area, and a favored place for catfish. A school bus stop is on the right with a dirt parking area.

Another boat launch ramp, called "Coyote Boat Launch" breaks up the camping sites. The campsites area all numbered, the first group are south of Jetski Beach, starting at #1 working north to #14. At Jetski Beach, the campsites continue at #15 and end at #23.

Our next destination was Wildhorse Reservoir. After a leisurely drive (uh huh) we exited the pavement for what would be the majority of the day. Who needs aerobics? Just spend an afternoon criss-crossing the back roads of Nevada's wild lands.

A co-workers, let's call her Natasha, sent me a text a one point, evil woman she is, asking how the day was going and if I'd was plenty of pictures. Yes, Natasha, I did. Enjoy.

According to the signs, Wildhorse was names after mustangs in the area. We didn't see any, but we had a big chuckle watching a couple of idiots stuck in the mud on their ATVs, while an adult seemed to be scolding them. Karma is a bitch. Warden Wolf met up with the Intoxilyzer Rep and set up the device. I had a chance to meet a couple of State Park employees. As we left and started towards Meadow and then Jarbridge, we spotted an antelope doe with twin fawns. Pretty cool.

Driving around the Eastern Region, we came across many remarkable landscapes. I love to paint (I have examples of my work on my facebook page). Warden Wolf was kind enough to stop and point out great views, letting my take photos of rock formations, mountains, rivers, lakes, and, of course, wildlife.

The road wasn't without it's hazards. Those most dangerous of creatures, the domestic cattle found their way onto the road quite frequently. We had to slow down and play a game of 'chicken', waiting until the beefsteak on the hooves decided our grey machine was scarier, ambling back to their buddies.

The best part of the day? Stopping at a dam, I can't say what one it was, or even recall where exactly, but above in the near trees at a large nest was an American Bald Eagle. She (he?) was stretching her wings, guarding her two eaglets still in the nest. Later we watching a Golden Eagle soaring over a meadow. I can't really how many varieties of birds we saw over the course of the day. I did finally see Chukars and Sage Grouse. Up high in the mountains, I had the chance to see elk. On the way back, a mule deer tried it's best to hide in some sage brush.

One of the prettiest sites was an unnamed valley, with a lake that had been dammed up by beavers. The lake was surrounded by trees and a pungent-smelling plant with leaves that were long and broad which taped at the end, The plant had a yellow star-liked flower (reminded me of a daylilly). Warden Wolf said it is called a Mule-Ear.

He pointed out many areas that had limited or no radio reception and others where the cell reception was iffy at best. He showed places where different calls had occurred. Even driving to Elko, seeing cities and seeing the distance between one and another, such as Spring Creek and Elko or Winnemucca and Reno will help me with call assignments.

Thank you Warden Wolf. I hope I wasn't too much of a pain in the you-know-what yesterday.

Next time, a helicopter with the biologists?

Stay safe out there!

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