Tuesday, August 25, 2015

September-October


Webcam at Camp Muir looking south with Mt. Adam and Mount St. Helens.

I've uploaded the bi-monthly reports for September and October for the NP, which you can find at the table of contents with the photo guide for the NP. I've updated the Web pages for the areas for the NP, also found in the table of contents under "Photography" section.

September and October are the transition months from late summer into fall in the NP, with respect to the weather of the warm sunny days to the cooler fall days and cool to cold nights with periods of both rain or warm and sunny weather, and, in some years, the possiblity of snow in October, which has occurred 23 of the last 32 years.

It's also for the NPS to transition the vistor facilities, camgrounds and roads for the upcoming winter as well as preparation for possible extreme rain events with floods or snowstorms. This requires establishing and following a schedule to close all but one road and almost all the facilities through September and October, with the rest occuring in November.

September and October are excellent months, despite the changes in the weather from summer to fall and the reduction or closure of some places, facilities, etc., with far fewer visitors everywhere, meaning the visitors areas and the trails. And there still is enough daylight for some enjoyable trips.

Small Update

I'm working on the September-October bi-monthly reports for news, access, conditions and prospects for Mt. Rainier NP along with working on several small projects for description and map Web pages for books and other information about the NP.

In part I'm waiting for the specifics of the fall-to-winter closure schedule for the NP. The NPS starts the process to reduce hours and close facilities, campgrounds, and roads in September and more so in October, with the last by November where they're in full winter mode until spring.

Without the specific dates, the best I can do is guess a time frame and add the specifics when the NPS releases the fall Tahoma newsletter with the dates, which usually occurs around the Labor Day holiday weekend, the last of the full summer operations.

In addition I'll be doing my long overdue walk through on the Website for global changes to the structure, design and look of it, albeit mostly small stuff since I haven't decided on version 3's new design yet (l like version 2 too much), and for a review and edit of individual pages for writing errors and updates.

Anyway, it's just a short note to say I'm back working on the photo guide after three years of health issues, the last two with bacterial infections in my digestive system, and has left me with new back problems (pinched Sciatic nerve in June 2011 and July 2012), which has curtailed my fitness program, but I'm gone from 185+ lbs to 150 lbs in the same period from walking 3,400+ miles to date.

That said, as they say, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Westside Road

Update.-- The NPS announced today they re-opened the Westside road. It will be open until the seasonal closing date, usually some time in October.

If you haven't heard or read the news, the Westside Road, which starts about a mile past the Nisqually entrance in the southwest corner of the NP. It's usually the place I start in the spring with each hiking season while it's still closed as it's a nice 3.5 mile (one way) hike to get the legs back and focus on the scenery (mostly forest and Tahoma Creek with just few places to see Mt Rainier).

On August 13th a J√∂kulhlaup (glacial outburst flood) from Tahoma glacier flowed down Tahoma Creek, and while it hasn't been reported that it damaged the Westside Road, the NPS closed the road for safety reasons as any additional outburt flood could easily damage the road and trap hikers parked at the Fish Creek trailhead.

There is no announcements from the NP when the road will reopen, but with the extended warm weather, often a major contributing factor creating the circumstances for the floods, the road could be closed for some time, which closes each fall, usually in October.

I'll try to watch the NP news to see if/when they reopen the road as it provides the only trailhead to the southwest area of the NP without using the longer Kautz Creek trail to the Tahoma Creek suspension bridge to the upper part of the Westside Road around Emerald Ridge.

There is a shorter trail from the bridge via the old (non-addvertised) Tahoma Creek trail, used by backcountry rangers, but more than likely that trail, which hugs the side of the valley in the upper Tahoma Creek basin, may have been damaged beyond repair to use.

Anyway, if/when I get news of changes, I'll update this information.

ADA in NP

Long over due from requests, I've added a description and map Web pages for the NPS' compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Mt Rainier NP, see description or map Web pages. These are not in the table of contents yet, as I'm working on updates to that Web page and the monthly/seasonal reports.

There is not a lot of information on ADA accessible places in the NP, just a few Web pages and the recent book (see book review), so I took the information I found there and added some I know from my travels in the NP for the Web pages.

Compliance to the ADA varys within the NP depending on the area, most of it in the southwest with Longmire and Paradise visitor areas and the northeast with the Sunrise area. There's some compliance in the southeast within the Ohanapecosh and Stevens Canyon road area.

There is no compliance in the northwest area with the Carbon River and Mowich Lake entrances as those areas exist for backcountry hikers, the Carbon River entrance closed at the NP boundary for only hiker and mountain bikers. The Mowich Lake area as minimal access at the Mowich Lake parking lot for the same reason, lack of facilities and being more a trailhead for hikers going into the backcountry.

That said, there are a few trails in the three other areas accessible for people under the ADA where the trail is relatively flat and wide enough for wheelchairs, etc., paved or with planks in some cases. This affords visitors some measure of getting into the area.

Anyway, please let me know if you have questions or suggestions for the Web pages.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Google Map API Job

Update August 19 2015.--I'm still looking for an experienced Google Map API programmer. I've decided to raise the rate I'll pay to $50 per hour. If you know someone who can do or is interested in the work, please let me or them know. There is more work available if the person does a good job.

I'm still looking for this help after I updated this work and posted it on the University of Washington Career Connections blog 2 years ago. It's $50 an hour for 3-4 hours of work, more if proven necessary.

I posted an entry about wanting, and paying for, help with Google map API version 3, which you can read here. Well, I realized I forgot to tell folks what they can see what I want to do with the one map I want updated where I can translate those changes to the rest of the maps.

So, what I want is to change the Web cam map Web page from version 2 to version three which you can see what I've done so far, which is get the map and nothing else. You can view the source of these to compare the Google API code on the bottom of the page (after the address tags).

That's the script to change, which is mostly the call and load statements as I've found the core block of code for the XML files didn't change, or that I can find or read. Unfortunately I can't find any examples using XML files where I can adapt my code using their call and load statements.

Anyway, that's the update. The need is still there and the offer still good. If you know version 3 code, I'm open to discuss the work. I can quickly load any code into the local Website files using Dreamweaver to test them. I'm also open for someone to suggest changes, enhancements, etc. I can always use the help and learn.

And the pay? Negotiatable but in the $50 per hour range assuming a few hours of work for a reasonably experienced Google API programmer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book on ADA Access

A book was recently published on barrier-free travel in Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks, see information. The book is a good overview of the ADA compliance by the National Park Service in those National Parks. The goal here is a review of the book as while I found the specific information about ADA access accurate, I found the general to be inaccurate or incomplete and a lack of additional resources for current information.

The book covers two National Park, but I'll focus on the chapters on Mt. Rainier NP, specifically by section and page. The first is a semantic difference since I'm a geographer. On page 43, 2nd paragraph, it should be noted Mt. Rainier NP doesn't a southwest side, it has a south or west side (boundary) and a southwest quadrant, corner or area.

On the same page under "The Basics", the section on "Seasons and Road conditions" is incorrect, misleading or incomplete. The NPS for Mt Rainier NP has a Twitter Account where they report current weather, road and other conditions in the NP which effects travellers and visitors. It's more current and quicker than any telephone number will provide.

With respect to the Longmire to Paradise road, from November to May the road is closed nightly at 4-5 PM (always, not "usually" in the book) just east of Longmire and does not reopen until about 9-11 am the following morning after checking the roads and clearing any snow. They report this information via their Twitter account.

More importantly the Sunrise road (White River campground to Sunrise) closes every fall for the whole winter, until the following spring. The NPS shutters their facilities and operations at Sunrise a week or two earlier and then closes the road with the first significant snowfall.

The information on the facilities and campgrounds are good and complete for the different areas in the NP. The point she doesn't make is that the NP essentially closes everything but the Nisqually entrance, Longmire and Paradise in late fall through late spring, leaving just the one access and two areas for visitors.

The next is the Jackson Visitors Center, page 50. The old (1966-2008) Jackson Visitors Center was designed by two architecture companies, one in Hawaii. It was NOT designed and built for Hawaii, and relocated to Mt. Rainier NP as stated in the book. It was designed and built for Mt. Rainier as part of the Mission 66 program.

In addition the NPS built a brand new visitors Center, seen here, for Mt. Rainier, which opened in October 2008. Also, the Paradise Inn was closed in 2010 and re-opened in 2013 after a complete overhaul of the structure and refurbishing of the interior.

The information on the Jackson Visitors Center and Paradise Inn is easily available on Wikipedia and other sources, so I don't know how this was overlooked, but the author and/or editor(s) should have caught this for a book that was just published.

Anyway, overall, the book is a good resource, but I hope the author updates the information to make it a better book.