Saturday, January 16, 2016

Morning work

It's all in a morning's work in the winter.

Friday, January 1, 2016

NPS Ranger Margaret Anderson

On January 1, 2012, NPS Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was killed by a veteran with a car of guns and ammuntion. The veteran entered Mt. Rainier NP through the Nisqually Entrance, ran a vehicle check for snow conditions, and encountered Ranger Anderson’s vehicle blocking the road. The veteran shot and killed Anderson before she had time to get out of her vehicle. He then went into the backcountry where he found dead from hypothermia.
Ranger Anderson blocked the highway about a mile from the Paradise Visitors center area where there were over 100 visitors and NPS employees, but at the time, no one had weapons to defend the visitors had the veteran made it past Ranger Anderson. She sacrificed her life to stop a potential massacre.
In 2010 in an amendment governing guns in National Parks tucked inside a bill on credit cards passed by Congress and signed by the President. There was nothing any NPS employee could have done to stop the veteran with a number of weapons on the back seat of his car, or let alone confiscate the weapons. 
He didn’t violate any law on guns in national parks until he fired the weapons at NPS rangers, before he was stopped by ranger Anderson and shot and killed her. The veteran was reportedly suffering from PTSD from his time in the service, but his record revealed he never was near combat during his time in a combat zone.
It turned out he have mental heatlh issues before he went into the service and came out with the same issues. All the time he was able to aqcuire the weapons and ammunition before he went on his shooting and killing spree which started earlier January 1st in Seattle after which he drove to Mt. Rainier National Park.
We owe our gratitude to the employees of the NPS service for their dedication to their work and willingness to sacrifice for the safety of all visitors to National Parks, as shown by ranger Anderson. Remember to say thank you when you visit a National Park. They’re there to serve everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Break

If you been looking for the November-December updates and reports, they're not there because I've been on holiday break for the first months of winter, in part because it's winter and there's less interest in Mt. Rainier NP, and in part because I've been struggling with reoccurring colds and a persistent bacteria infection.

Without going into details, the infection has been an intermittent, but persistent, one since January, and for reasons I don't understand I keep coming down with colds or cold-like symptoms weekly. This hasn't hampered my daily 6 mile walks (5-6 days a week) very much, but has hampered doing much else.

Anyway, I want to wish everyone a good holiday season and a happy new year. I expect I'll be back with the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide early in January. Enjoy the winter and holidays.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bailey Willis Essay

In the early 1880's Bailey Willis was a geologist with the Northern Pacific Railroad (NPR) assigned to conduct reconnaissance of the coal and iron ore resouces in several northern states and territories, one area being the Washington territory and more specifically the Carbon River areas near and in the Mt Rainier National Park.

During some of his expeditions in the area he guided dignitaries, some of whom, along with Willis, advocated Mt Rainier be designated a national park similar to Yellowstone in 1872. That effort wouldn't begin until about 1893 and succeed in 1899.

As part of his work with the NPR he established and supervised the construction of trails into the upper Carbon River and Mowich Lake area, parts of which are part of the present day Carbon River road and Mowich Lake road (highway 165), and parts of which are parts of the modern day trails in the NP.

And as described in the essay, he often travelled to areas in the NP long before there were trails, again where there are trails today. He likely was the one of the few, if not the first, to see some of the places now accessed by established trails.

Bailey and others would convince the NPR to promote tourism in the northwest area, in part because of the ready access to it from Seattle and Tacoma, and the beauty of that part of the NP. The effort would fade because effort was put into the southwest area with the establishment of the Longmire resort and the popularity of the Paradise Valley.

From his travels in the area Bailey wrote a personal essay, "Among the Cliffs of the Northwest Spur", referring to the upper Carbon River and Mowich Lake area in present day Mt Rainier NP. The essay was never published and tucked away into his papers at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles.

I have transcribed the essay out of interest in his thoughts and experience. Clearly he was awed by the scenery. You can find the essay here which has a link to a PDF version. Some of the names of places in the essay have changed and some places were misidentified from later work to name places in the NP. I have inserted the current names in brackets in the essay.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1896 geology field notes

Update.--The links to the original field notes and transcriptio of the field notes have been updated since the original post in April 6, 2009. Original post below.

During the 1896 expedition geologist George Otis Smith took rock samples and field notes while he, Bailey Willis, Israel C. Russell and George Landes explored the geology of Mount Rainier. Willis explored the north side of Mt. Rainier in the early 1880s' working for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Smith also explored the Mt. Rainier during the previous summers before the expedtion as part of the overall exploration of the geology of the western side of the Cascade Mountains, and specifically in the Mt. Rainier area in August 1895.

Doing the research for the expedition I discovered the USGS had the original 1895 and 1896 field books in the archives, and they provided copies of them. I have transcribed the 1896 field book to work with the report narrative for their travels on the expedition, listed below.

Original Field Book
Transcribed Field Book

The files are in PDF format and will either open in your browser window or dowload to your computer. I'm still in the process of transcribing the field book to the expedition timelime for dates and places so people know where the samples were taken, but it's likely most places won't be excactly known. They didn't have maps then to determine locations, only their own descriptions.

Anyway, it's interesting reading if only for historical purposes. I was notified later that my transcription of the field book is now part of the USGS archive with the orginal field book, so future readers have both.