Friday, August 04, 2006

Heat Wave: giving tours in a furnace


This past week, as all headlines have indicated, has been a hot one. The tours at Antietam have been no exception. I now give the two hour ranger-led tours of the battlefield, and this weather has required certain modifications to keep the visitors comfortable and safe.

The ranger-led tour is the most comprehensive way to experience the Antietam Battlefield. And about two weeks ago I graduated to the level of ranger that is authorized to lead such a tour.

Normally the tour begins with a 30- minute presentation in the visitor's center observation room that focuses on the reasons the battle came to the peaceful Antietam Creek valley. Then the ranger leads the visitors in a car caravan around the park, stopping at the Cornfield, Sunken Road, and Burnsides bridge to deliver 20 minute programs at each stop and field visitor questions.

This heat wave required serious modifications to the regular program: an hour-long overview of the battle in the air conditioned comfort of the visitors center followed by a much modified caravan around the battlefield with ten minute presentations.

The visitors where very game and were good sports during the thermal crisis. Everything went well with all hands not only surviving the experience but having a very enjoyable time. As a matter of course the ranger always has two large 3 gallon jugs of ice water and cups in the park van for the visitors. This past week they really took full advantage of that particular amenity.

So all's well that ends well, but man, did I go through a lot of shirts!

Hope things are cool your way,

Ranger Mannie

No comments: