Some of the people I have been working with over the past two weeks I got to know pretty well and we got along wonderfully. My group controlled the communications between the Park Police, APD, PARD, the volunteers and ourselves. It was a big learning experience. I grew close to some of the people in PARD and Park Police so it was a real let down to go from anticipating our last few hours working together to leaving an hour after we got there. I really hope to volunteer with some of them again. The people I got closest to were with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. All of them were a bit younger than me, well, maybe Stacy wasn't, but Kate, Devon and Lucas were. Well Lucas wasn't too terribly much younger than me, but was still in his late 20's. The other girls, Kate and Devon were around their mid-20's but we all got along supremely well. Working with this crew was one of the most fun times I've had all year – and for the regular readers, you know how bad this year has been but for a couple bright spots. I looked forward to getting there to work and I can't wait to do so again next year!
Our communications lead and a couple of the supervisors who were there were "gently" pushing me to get my radio license as they say I'm a natural at it and at taking command (yeah, I laughed at that one too!) and I think that would be rather fun – especially now that I know how everything works.
Maybe I can work the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo. After all it is a two week long affair that is a lot of fun! I'll have to bring that up to CERT and REACT to see what they have lined up for that. Of course SXSW is that same week so I'm sure that there would be a choice of where to go if they are helping out with both of those. Hmmmmmm, my mind is all a flutter with possibilities now!
Anyway, here are several shots that I took on Friday night – the last great night of the Trail. I hope you enjoy them. There were 28 stations and I patrolled stations 10-20/Santa's House/Volunteer Headquarters. That was probably a good 1/3 mile. All total over the 7 days I worked in a 2 week period I lost 12 pounds, 1.5 inches and I feel great! (Except for the lingering crud in my lungs from the bronchopneumonia I've had over the past 2 weeks). These pictures are mostly from the section I patrolled though some are out of the patrol area. I hope that you enjoy the pictures and please stop on by next year if you're in Austin and say hello! It's a fun time. :)
This is a distance shot of our HUGE Zilker tree. The tree is something like 150 feet tall and has all of these lights and you go under it and look up and spin until you are so dizzy you can't see straight. It's a blast! The Zilker Tree is the worlds largest man-made tree.
This is a closer look at the tree
Under the tree spinning around - It'll get you really dizzy!
Here is the entrance to the Trail of Lights
These are various displays along the Trail
I particularly liked this tree. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books called "The Laughing Dragon".
This one is Santa's Magic Workshop and honestly, the sound from it reminded me of the nasty Gremlins laughter. It kind of freaked a lot of the volunteers out. Most of us thought that it belonged more in a haunted house than a Christmas venue. The noises that came from it were slightly macabre.
Our local EMS got into the act as well. The volunteer headquarters/shacks were right behind the decorated ambulance.
Here is the exit tunnel - this one actually has a mirror ball that wasn't going at this point and the song for this area was Carol of the Bells.