Sunday, March 1, 2009

March News

I have updated the three news and information (here), access and conditions (here), and photography opportunities (here) Web pages for March. They will also be updated during the month as the situation and events change about or in Mt. Rainier NP.

March is the quirky month in Mt. Rainier NP. Norms are one thing, but variation is another. March is like a few other months, eg. June and October, where anything is possible. March is the start of the transistion when the snowpack peaks a lower elevations while still increasing into April at the upper elevations, and temperatures begin to change from winter to spring at the lower elevations. March is also one of the most unpredictable and variable months, with winter to spring conditions in the NP occurring anytime during in the month, even at the lower elevations.

This doesn't change much about the presence of snow, just the amount and snowmelt. It doesn't change the presence of cold temperatures, just periods of above or below average. And it doesn't change the fact it could rain or be near rain-free all month. In short, it's unpredictable, so prepare to be flexible.

Ok, on the good side, late March is when the trails begin to clear of snow at the lower elevations. Some trails, unlike like the Carbon River Road (now trail) from the NP entrance to Ipsut Campground which is usually snow-free, can be accessed for some of their beginning before encountering snow at higher elevations. This may be the case with the Nisqually and Ohanapecosh entrances and lower elevations trails.

The key here is simply checking with the sources for the latest information on the trails. The roads are easy, except for the Nisqually road to Paradise, they're all still closed. And for this year, it's going to be mid-to-late March or even April before the some of the entrances open, eg. Ohanapecosh and Mowich Lake.

Anyway, you can check the Web pages and your other sources to keep updated. Good luck.

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