Before we leave the center, I need to turn away from the view and make a comment about some of the people that work in the park. Every NPS employee, park ranger and park volunteer we came in contact with was pleasant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. While on the Ute trail one hiking ranger stopped to ask us how we were doing and did we have any questions. He even dug into his backpack to pull out one of his well-worn reference books to help us ID a wildflower, all the while carrying on a pleasant and informative conversation. This "park culture" among its employees and volunteers is amazing considering the general state of the underfunded park system. My last hat is off to the passionate.
This stood in stark contrast to the people who work for the private company that holds the contract to operate the snack bar and restaurant. The mainly young people employed there stayed very busy - very busy conversing with each other about which one of their fellow coworkers pulled their share, who was a slacker and whose shift was over when. Too busy to even look a paying customer in the eye, saying anything beyond "that will be $10.49", let alone uttering anything along the lines of "thank you". What was even more disconcerting was that the worst offenders where the American employees, the foreign-born summer help was more hospitable. Now that this grumpy, nearly-old man got this off of his retail oriented chest, we can get in the car and head back down.
Next Colorado Post: The Never Summer Ranch