Monday, April 2, 2012

Kartchner Caverns Wrap-up

IMG_7579Grant the Tram Driver.

WOW! Where did March go??? This will be yet another attempt to get the blog up to date.

At the end of February about half of the Volunteers in our  Lower Volunteer Village moved out. Mostly because their time was up and a few due to medical emergencies that came up. We were happy to extend our time at Kartchner Caverns State Park to fill in for volunteers that had to leave early. A batch of new Volunteers arrived to begin their time here at Kartchner Caverns. So the Volunteer Villages were once again full and we had a bunch of new names to remember. Several were returnees from previous years at Kartchner Caverns.

One semi-emergency that did arise was with the February departs we were short about 6 Tram Drivers. I was given a quick tram driving lesson and became a Tram Driver. It would end up being my regularly schedule weekend job for all of March with a few weekdays thrown in as well.

IMG_7580 This pictures gives you an idea of how long the Tram actually is.

Tram driving is a great job when the weather is nice. You get to be outside with a great view as you come from the Discovery Center to the Cavern entrance and back. There are also some nice breaks too, so a little reading or bird watching. However, when the weather is bad it is a very cold and wet job. Fortunately most of the weather this winter has been very nice but, in March we had very strange weather. We have had high winds, followed by days in the 80s and then followed by SNOW, then followed by more wind and then more days in the 80s.

The snow this month was much greater than in February. Depending on who you hear from, it was between half an inch to a inch. It started snowing on Sunday night and continued through most of Monday. Tuesday began at 26 degrees and the snow stayed on the ground all day. Three days later we were back into the 80s.

On the day with the most snow I had been assigned to the Visitor Desk inside of the Discovery Center. So, I got to watch the snow fall from the inside. Kathy worked the cave tours that day and got to go into the nice warm cave, then come out to snow coming down! Very pretty by the way!


The snow on the steps of our trailer.


Snow on our truck.



Snow at our site.

March was as busy as we had been told to expect. All Cavern Tours and Campsites were sold out most days. On some days they were completely sold out a days in advance.

As our time at Kartchner Caverns State Park comes to an end, we have to say that Kartchner Caverns are spectacular and absolutely the best preserved caverns you could ever hope to visit. Add it to your Bucket List! We never tired of being in the caverns and saw something new every time we went on a tour. We are looking forward to returning to Kartchner Caverns State Park in the fall as volunteers.

Here in Arizona at the end of March it is as if someone fired a starter’s gun and all of the Snowbirds or Winter Visitors start to head north. This, of course, includes many of the volunteers. About 75% of all the volunteers leave within a week or two of April 1st. That includes us. We are starting our slow migration north to return to the Oregon Coast Lighthouses for the summer.

Birding Notes:

Spring migration has come slowly to southeast Arizona, but we did see a few migrants: Turkey Vulture, Gray Flycatcher, Tree Swallow, and Barn Swallow. We talked to a couple of people that had seen Broad-billed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, but we never saw a single humming bird.



  1. Always happy to see your updates, even though I "talk" to Kath everyday!
    Hey Grant, I'd ride your tram anytime! :)
    Hoping to meet up w/ y'all in OR next month!!!
    Happy Trails,

  2. great recap!..the wild and wacky weather of Arizona! the snow shots!!
    Oregon again this summer?..lucky you!!

  3. Very cool, uh maybe I should say cold! lol

  4. Thanks for the update! I would love the snow....but not everyone does! So now off to have a fun life, my friend!

  5. Well Grant if anyone is qualified to drive that tram it is you!! Although I'm sure it fish tails a little more than your rig!!
    Good to see a new post and read all about what you and Kathy have been up to!!
    Enjoy your 2 week break.
    Hugs Cecilia and Madi

  6. Hi! Looks like a fantastic place! Have never been to these caverns.
    Love the snow photos!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Sweet hugs,
    Sierra Rose

  7. You look right nice as the Tram driver Grant!!!

    Hugs to you both!

  8. Thank you so much for dropping by it's lovelt to meet you... Your weather is a little better than ours... I have just been for a walk and it is wet and freezing!! Deccy x