Saturday, October 18, 2008

Interesting Thought

And we think climate change is a new idea or thought?

"...Clearly the traveler in this region is surrounded by the records of mighty changes. Not only does he inquire how the study of glaciers will do much toward making clear the manner in which the once smooth slopes have been trenched by radiating valleys, leaving mountain like ridges between.

Another line of inquiry which we shall find of interest as we advance is suggested by the recent shrinkage of Carbon Glacier. Are all of the glaciers that flow form the mountain wasting away? If we find this to be the case, what climatic change does it indicate?"

"Glaciers of Mount Rainier", Israel Cook Russell, with additional paper, "The Rocks of Mount Rainier", by George Otis Smith, in US Geological Survey 18th Annual Report, 1896-97, Part II, pages 349-423.

Israel Russell, George Otis Smith and Bailey Willis with a support team were commissioned by the US Geological Survey to conduct the first exploratioin of the glaciers of Mount Rainier, which they did July 15-31, 1896, including an overnight stay on the summit in a steam vent in the crater. The trip began and ended at Carbonado via the Bailey Willis trail (later renamed the Carbon River road and trail).

They were the first travelers to traverse the north side of Mount Rainier above tree line across the Carbon and Winthrop Glacier to the summit up Emmons Glacier, descending to Paradise Park, and then traversing Emmons, Ingraham, Emmons and Carbon Glaciers on the return trip to the base camp and later Carbonado.

They discussed the idea in the above quote during their expedition and Isreal Russell writing this observation and questions while camping along the Carbon Glacier in the early days of the expedition after seeing extensive glacier recession features in the Carbon River valley and along the Carbon Glacier.

Just a thought by three geologists camped in the wilderness of Mount Rainier in 1896.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Visitors Center

It's now real and open. The old visitors center, built in 1966, is in the distance just off the right corner of the new building. It opened 10:00 am yesterday, October 10th, with the opening dedication at 3:00 pm with Superintendent Uberuaga introducing all the guests. The ceremony lasted about an hour with opening a prayer and story by two Native Americans followed by speeches by five other guests including the Secretary of Interior Kempthorne and US Representative Norm Dicks.

The place is simply awesome. It's spacious with many information booths, a cafe and a theater, and a big open space with 60-foot ceilings. It's not only enviromental, with many features to allow it to easily survive the worst winter weather and snow depth (roof shape and design and shutters) and energy efficient, with heating/cooling system, materials, etc. In short it's way cool and easily blends into the new reburbished Paradise Inn (May 2008) and Guide Services building (last year).

The old building will be removed over the next two years and the land refurbished into additional parking for peak days and hours during the summer tourist season and landscaping. This will give the whole space at Paradise ready for decades. What can't you say against the wise use of taxpayers' money in a beautiful place.

A gift to ourselves and our nation.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Personal Update

Sorry, I've been away on work around and with the Mt. Rainier NP photography guide, working on the 1896 expedition, but mostly around the expedition, such as the USGS topographic maps of Mt. Rainier, 1915-1971 and NPS maps, 1907 to 1925 along with some additional information about the expedition.

Along with that I've been under the weather with the flu or something similar. So, that's slowed things down a bit, but not enough to get some progress. And that's the problem I've discovered. Which is? Well, between the expedition and the extraneous interests around the expedition, there's a lot of information and materials, but mostly it's about finding it, much of which is in university, government or private archives.

So, what else is new?

For one, the new visitors center opens this Friday October 10th through the weekend. After that it will only be opened weekends and holiday through the winter to late spring. Paradise Inn is now closed for the season. So, if you plan to go to Mt. Rainier, especially on weekdays, you're on your own for food, etc. Be prepared for your trip, stay and hiking.

In additon, I'm working on the 1896 expedition along with the early maps (1907-1925) of the NP, along with updates, winter activties and other Web pages for photographers working in the NP. So, there is more to come. And if you go to the NP, be prepared for inclement weather and follow the guidelines for hiking there, even visiting. It always helps and never hurts.

And this is today's photos from Paradise, including a dusting of snow with temps in the 30's and 40's. Get the idea?