Wednesday, June 22, 2011

News Updates

This post is present some recent changes and news about Mt. Rainier NP or access to the NP from the surrounding highways. Since the snowpack was unusually higher and the snowmelt unusually later than normal, snow is the biggest issue about the NP and getting there. So, the news.

First, the NPS begins the summer shuttle service from Ashford to Longmire and Paradise and various points in between. The parking at Paradise becomes crowded on Fridays and weekends so this helps alleviate the traffic. If you don't plan to get there early, especially on good weather days, then consider it as you might find yourself driving back down the hill from Paradise.

Second, the snow has delayed the opening of the White River campground to July 1st or later, and the opening of the road to Sunrise until after the July 4th weekend, now scheduled for July8th. The facilities at Sunrise are still scheduled to be opened after that but no date has been announced. In the past it's usually a week later than the road opening.

Third, highway 410 over Chinook Pass (Vancouver Columbian photo above) is scheduled to open Thursday June 23rd, if all goes well. The highway (410) from the northeast entrance over Cayuse Pass to highway 123 to the southeast (Ohanopecosh) entrance and the Stevens Canyon Road opened May 26th (Memorial Day weekend).

So this coming weekend all the major highways around and in the NP will be open. Only the Paradise Valley road and the road from the White River campground to Sunrise are still closed and likely to be so until early July. There's a lot of snow there this year and it will be around through July into August.

Lastly, you can get updates and news about the NP with the NPS Mt. Rainier NP Twitter account.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Firefox Users

Update.--June 22, 2011, Firefox has released version 5 but my test show the problem with some extentions and add-ons still persist.

I've discovered that some extensions with Firefox (FF) 4.0.1 has problems with both javascript and shockwave player, javascript not working with the maps where the page displays a blank space instead of the map, and not recognized updates to your plug-ins, shockwave in my case with FF.

There is no easy way to report this to Mozilla with the user submission form, so please realize the problem isn't on my end because I've tested it without extensions, with FF 3.6.7 and with Safari, my standard browser, along with Chromium, Google Chrome, OmniWeb and Sea Monkey browsers and they all work fine with both javascripts for the maps and shockwave player.

I don't know what to tell you to fix this. I simply created a new user with basic verisons of the four extension files in the library for FF, found with Mac's at 'Users'/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/..., see the gobbly-gook folder name dot default. There you'll find the four extention.'something' filename. Just close FF, move those file, open FF - it recreates empty ones, and roll on.

Good luck.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June Reports

Well, sorry for being so late, as I was in May and several months before, but that's life sometimes - and the perfunctory excuse I've used and still works, for me at least, is that the health issues continue and after spending the month of May with the H1N1 flu, I'm still not up to par. Anyway, the June reports are on-line now for the news, access, and reports.

And whats' the summary? Well, two things. First, the roads, campgrounds, and facilities will continue to open through June and into early July, hopefully by the July 4th holiday. All will likely to be open despite the second factor. And that is snow. Lots and lots of snow. The snowpack was and is quite significantly above normal (near 150%) and the snowmelt started two-plus weeks late.

This means snow will be prevalent well into July and maybe even August, see NRCS graph for Paradise site (actually about a few miles southeast of the visitors center). There will be snow throughout the NP at the higher elevations (> 4-5,000 feet), especially in the backcountry.

You should always check the status of trails either from the NPS Website or with NPS rangers before you go to know the extent and depth of snow and any problems on the trail(s).

Other news? The NPS has said the wildflower season will likely won't occur until August since the depth of the snow at the elevations of the meadows is significantly deeper than normal for this time year and will continue to be of some depth until well into July. So if you're planning trips for wildflowers, check the information sources before going.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll try to do better as the summer goes on, updating the Web pages with long overdue, newer seasonal information and new Web pages. That's it unless life doesn't keep sneaking in the way as it has since last October.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NP Map Resources

The National Park Service has some terrific maps of Mt. Rainier NP, and while some of them are easily available on their Website, see Web page of map resources, some of them are not so readily apparent and take time to find where the respective Web pages are buried in the NP Website.

You can use the NPS search tool on the Mt. Rainier NP Website to find maps, but what you get is a list of the individual maps with some other links, but not the other maps available for different uses. The sad reality is that I found many of the Web pages for maps of Mt. Rainier to be incomplete or development pages with minimal information.

But that said, some map resources are listed below.

The first is a really cool one, their NP Map Viewer for Mt. Rainier NP. I can't find the Web page for any description or the traditional "wrapper" page which embeds this viewer. I'd appreciate help there if you know it or come across it.

The second is the NPS Harper's Ferry map server for other formats and maps.

The third are the NPS trail maps for 50 trials based on 2009 information. These are useful but don't provide downloadable or printable maps or print version of the Web page. They'd be really cool in a PDF file to put on tablets or cellphones.

The last aren't NPS resources but other Websites. One is the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Web page for Mt Rainier with maps and other resources.

Another is mine which offers the latest USGS 1:24,000 topographic maps as PDF files to download. I've loaded mine on to an iPad using GoodReader for the iPad.