Friday, November 29, 2013

New Book

PhotoTripUSA Publishing recently released Greg Vaughn's new book, "Photographing Washington, A guide to the natural landmarks of The Evergreen State", found here, which has a chapter on Mt. Rainier NP. It is an excellent book for the photographer visiting the state and wants an overview of the expanse of photographic opportunities.

I only glanced over the book to focus on the introduction and the chapter on Mt. Rainier NP, but I can say based on the sections I did read with familarity with the places he does a good job giving the places photographers want to see and photograph.

With respect to Mt. Rainier NP the book focusing on the common places, mostly the easy accessible visitors areas and stops with descriptions of the most common trails to what most people photograh in the NP, scenic landscapes and the obvious wildflowers.

The chapter is divided into 15 sections, but really 14 since on is on the Wonderland Trail which itself is the subject of several books, two excellent recent ones, not mentioned in this book. The chapter pretty much follows the roads in the NP with the northwest area.

The chapter starts with the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise, then proceeds along the Stevens Canyon Road to the eastside north-south highway (123-410) and then describes to places along on that highway to the White River Road to Sunrise to the Yakima Park area.

The chapter then describes the Carbon River and the Spray Park - Mowich Lake areas before adding a section on two west side opportunities, Gobbler's Knob (lookout) off the Westside Road and the Glacier view vista on the adjacent wilderness area south of the NP.

The chapter's real focus is really focus are those two interests, scenic views and wildflowers with good descriptions of when and where including trailheads and trails. The shortcomings of the chapter are the obvious details, which is expected since it's only 30+ pages with photos.

It also lacks what I would consider the obvious maps, but then the author mentioned the on-line and print resources for these, two of which I highly recommend two maps on the NP by Tom Haseltine, the south side and the north side which provide better descriptions.

But in the end the chapter is a great place for the first time or occasional visitor or photographer to the NP.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I have updated the Webcams for those in Mt. Rainier NP to add the new one at the Carbon River Ranger station looking northwest across the Carbon River, or so it appears until I can get confirmation of the actual location of the Webcam.

In addition the NPS has upgraded some of those in the Jackson Visitors Center with new High Definition (HD) cameras for a wider, more detailed view. The popup windows for the images from these cameras and the one at Camp Muir are smaller than the actual image, but you can click on the image to enlarge it.

Outside of that, there's a lot of news for the winter season which I'm working to update the news, access and conditions Webpages, but other issues have intervined causing delays in the work. I apologize and will get things on-line soon.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google Maps

Well, I've been late with work on the Mt. Rainier photo guide for a number of reasons, one of which I forgot, or it makes for a nice excuse, which is that Google discontinued their map api version 2 yesterday, Wednesday November 20th (2013) as promised.

I had hoped to find a Google Map API version 3 programmers, see work description to convert one of the existing maps from version 2 to version 3 (at $25 per hour, tenatively 4 hours maximum but negotiatable). The work is still open as I haven't found anyone and I've struggled learning enough to convert them myself.

Anyway, it turns out Google wrote and implemented a version 2 to version 3 wrapper for simple maps, like mine, so the maps will continue to work for awhile. And I will look at learning version 3 again, but in anyone knows a Google map programmer for a short work assignment, please let them know to contact me.

Anyway, I'll get back to the November-December updates soon as I'm feeling better to resume work again even with Apple's new OS-X 10.9 Mavericks which screwed up a lot of small things which I'm waiting for the expected 10.9.1 and 10.9.2 updates and Adobe updates.

Have a good Thanksgiving holiday.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Well, folks I haven't updated the Web pages for the Mt. Rainier photo guide for good reasons, which means the November-December news, access, information and reports pages aren't on-line yet as well as other pages I had planned to work on this month.

The reason is simple, I upgraded to OS-X 10.9 Mavericks, and while it is better in many cases, it's worse in almost as many cases, including that it either broke or created problems with a number of applications which I use to work on Web pages, namely Adobe's Creative Suite products.

In addition, many applications companies, including Adobe, haven't updated their applications to work with or work better with Mavericks, and until I can get updates to the applications, work is slow at best and stopped at worst. I am looking at using the older versions of Adobe products (have them back to CS3 or 4) which work with far fewer issues or problems.

In the meantime, it's wait for Adobe and others to get their proverbial heads out of their asses and fix their applications. They've had the developer versions of Mavericks for months ahead of time, so it's troublesome they've been negligent issuing timely updates.

Anyway, as Jimmy Buffett said, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it.", for now at least to see if anything happens soon or I just live with things until they are fixed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The NP is open

Mt. Rainier NP is open again, thanks to the Democrats and the President. But give the staff a few days to get things completely back to normal. And remember to thank them when you see them.

Their Website is also back, but the same story, give them a few days to get the information up to date. I'll be updating some of the Web pages on the photo guide for the latest information when it's available.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Webcams Web page

Update (10/14/13).--  I'm still having problems with the Web page for the NP Webcams, which is likely due to the issue of the NPS shutting down their Websites and servers and the Webcam pages or images being unavailable. This creates problems where the Web page won't fully load with all the images and stalls.

The NPS has replaced some of the cameras which have different size images. I have updated the size of the pop-up window for the new image size to full size except one, the view from Camp Muir, which is too large for most computer monitors and laptops, so the image is half the width and height (1/4 original size).

I don't see an answer to the problem of loading the Web  page until the government is open again and the NPS is back to work with the Websites, servers and Web cams. I'll run the Web page as long as the images are automatically updated, but don't be concerned if some of the images don't show and the Webcam, communications or network has problems.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I have updated the Web pages for the books, articles, etc. on Mt. Rainier NP for three new books published this year, two on the Wonderland trail and one on a guide to the 100 peaks in the NP and for two recent USGS reports on rivers and lakes in the NP.

These are listed at the bottom of the respective section on hiking and US Geological Survey.

Quad Views

I have updated the Web pages for the four quadrants, the Carbon River and Mowich Lake entrances in the northwest, the Nisqually River entrance in the southwest, the Ohanapecosh entrance in the southeast and the White River entrance in the northeast, along with the Paradise Area in the south-central area of the NP.

You can find these at the photo guide and the quadrant overview Web pages. The complete guide for the northeast and southeast along with the accompanying maps have not been done yet. I apologize for this. The work to produce them takes 4-6 weeks from research to publication, time I haven't had in the last two years.

I plan to work on these later this year and hopefully on-line in 2014. Until then the other three areas are there and updated along with brief overviews of the two other areas.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

National Park Closed

Update.--The government shutdown of some agencies, like the NPS, includes Websites which requires employees to manage, operate and maintain the Websites, Web pages and servers. They will return when the government is back.

Until further notice, meaning Congress passes a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government while they negotiate new 2014 appropriations bills or a longer CR, Mt. Rainier NP, like all National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, National Monuments, Museums, and other facilities, is closed.

This happened twice in 1995, first for two weeks and then for six weeks. I worked for the USGS then and while I, like all employees, wasn't getting paid, I worked as part of the staff necessary to keep the USGS' satellite realtime data collection system working for water resouces and other data for USGS gages.

You can argue the politics till the cows come home, but it doesn't change the reality of a government shutdown. No wins and the employees get nothing except promises of checks (they're salaried not waged, meaning paid for the year than by the hour) later, but no guarrantees for overtime or other extra pay for those who, like me, worked over 40 hours a week.

It sucks. It's bad politics and it's bad government. And the best we can hope is the elected politicians in Congress come to their senses and pass a clean CR for the President to sign and get the government and  employees back to work. That's all it takes.

So, if you're planning a trip to Mt. Rainier NP, you're out of luck until that happens. Just pay attention to the news and then wait a day or so for the NP to open.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Website down

Update.--The Website came sometime before 10 am. I was on my daily 8-mile walk and it was back on-line along with my e-mail accounts when I got home around noon, so that about 12 hours it was down. Sorry for it but it's the fault of the Website host. They're down to 99.71% for the last two years now.

Some time after 10 pm last night (9/26/13) the host for my Website and e-mail went down and as of just after 6 am this morning it's not back on-line. I don't know why the length of the outage, especially for both the Website and e-mail servers, but likely it's a major problem.

I use a local host for both, but not my Internet Service Provider, for that I use the local phone company, since past experience with the host as the ISP is worse because they rarely had people on-site during night hours and weekends and outages sometimes ran into days.

Now I expect they might have some night shift and graveyard people, but from here it doesn't look too good if they have them as they've been down for over 8 hours with no indication when things will be back. I suspect later this morning.

What angers me with Website hosts and ISP's is that they never discount their bill for outages, saying it's part of what customers should expect. Maybe, if the outage is a power failure or other problem outside their control, but I don't think problems under their control should be assumed by the customer.

And even though it's really only a small discount over the monthly bill and the high percentage (99.73% for the last two years using a monitoring program) of operation, the outage percentage does deserve credit to the customer somehow to show they do care for their customers.

Anyway, I'll be gone for the morning and won't check things until this afternoon. The Website should be back, but if not, I'll contact the host as recently they didn't check all the customers were back on-line when they transferred host servers and I had to call and wait for them to fix the problem.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept-Oct Reports

I have put the monthly news, access, conditions and prospects reports for September and October on-line, available on the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide. I have redesigned the format of the monthly news Web page with better organization and presentation of the information.

I have also decided to change the frequency of the reports starting this summer and from now on. The reports will be updated every two months which better fits the seasons of the NP, as follows:

Winter - January-February
Winter-Spring - March-April
Spring - May-June
Summer - July-August
Summer-Fall - September-October
Fall-Winter - November-December

I will put the report on-line during the first week or so of the new period and update it through the two-month period as necessary to keep the information current as events changes in the NP.

This change allows me to focus on long overdue other work and projects and look for new projects. I'm still in need of a Google Map API Version 3 experienced programmer, see job announcement for the work. It's work up to $100 for 3-4 hours of work, more if necessary.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Update.--The Jackson Visitors Center Webcams are back up, so there's only two down, the air quality one in the administration building looking to the southwest and the Sunrise east one awaiting work on the window.

Just a quick note to say a number of the Webcams are having problems. Two of the ones in the Jackson visitors center (west and east) are dated over a week ago. The Webcam in the Mountain Guide Center is mispointed (at something inside the building). The air quality one looking down southwest is down. And the one in the Sunrise visitors center is still down.

These are a great asset for visitors and many thanks and kudos for the work of the NPS to have and opearate them, and it only shows how much we need the NPS to be adequately funded for their work protecting and managing our National Parks.

I know many in Congress know this, but it sometimes seems it falling on deaf ears of the leadership and many Republicans in the House of Representatives to fully funded the government we all need and want. I won't politicize it much here, just when it obvious.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Note About Pets

Occasionally I run across some Websites, blogs, etc. where the person not only brags about taking their pet hiking to Mt. Rainier NP, but sometimes these people show photos of their pet on trails and other places pets where aren't allowed or without a leash.

Remember folks, pets should not be taken to Mt. Rainier NP because of the narrow restrictions on pets and the ban on taking them on trails, outside of  campgrounds and visitors facilities, and always on a leash. You can only take pets on a leash in parking lots, picnic areas, campgrounds and along highway (turnouts). This means when you're anywhere else, pets must be in vehicles.

I've run across hikers and visitors with pets, all dogs of course, walking around the NP like it's their neighborhood, and every time I remind them it's illegal and not appreciated by other visitors and hikers. And consider if the pet ran off hiking on a trail or elsewhere, would you be able to find them before they become completely separated and lost from you.

Remember it's not about you having your pet with you, and what you think the pet enjoys being outside in the NP. It doesn't matter how well trained your pet. It doesn't matter how important your pet is to you. It doesn't matter your pet makes a great hiking companion. It doesn't matter you take your pet hiking everywhere else in the Cascade Mountains outside National Parks.

It doesn't matter. Read and follow the rules on pets. And better yet, leave them at home.


I've added a description and map Web pages for the trailheads in and around Mt. Rainier NP, which you can find on the photo guide in the second group and "Places" section. The trailheads correspond to the day hikes and backcountry hikes Web pages, which I review to integrate the pages together.

In addition a Web page and map for the Wonderland Trail is in the list of projects, which is currently included in the backcountry hikes. There are plenty of opportunities for photographers on the Wonderland Trail but is only hiked in sections by a few photographers.

In other news I'll start producing the news, access and conditions Web pages in two-month periods as it seems to fit the NP and makes the work easier for me to focus on other projects. The September-October will come out, hopefully, before the Labor Day holiday weekend.

As for the NP, it's in the last stages of the wildflowers as the weather changes from summer to early fall and the number of visitors decreases after the holiday weekend, but is often the best hiking month as the weather is cooler with fewer hikers.

I'll keep you posted and enjoy the NP. Remember to take photos and memories and leave no trace.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Website Host

I've used a local Website hosting service company since 2006. A few years ago their computers didn't accommodate hosting Websites, so they moved their customers' Websites to a server in Florida and became a virtual server and just through put for visitors.

This meant people going to my Website went to the company's server which redirected the visitor to the Florida server. And I used a FTP application to upload files to the Florida server. Ok, it was slower but worked and the Florida server didn't have any quotas.

Last week they reconfigured their system to accommodate hosting Websites locally but they didn't move the files until yesterday, but it broke the DNS links to Websites, which was why the notice posted yesterday. They fixed it by going back to the Florida server.

Fast forward today I uploaded a bunch of files to that server and then they called to say they moved the files overnight and connected the DNS correctly, so that all the files I uploaded weren't on the new server, so I had to test their new Web administrator Website.

It sucks and really irrelevant for me as the FTP application (Fetch) works with them too, and it's slightly quicker since it's local than going through all the connections to Florida. I uploaded the files I edited or added.

So, all's well with the world, but if you see problems with the Website, please let me know. They supposed walked through it as I did but with over 400 individual html files, a few hundred images and about 100 documents, it's possible something got missed or corrupted.

Selected Unnamed Lakes

I've added two new Web pages for some unnamed lakes published in a report by the State of Washington in 1961 and updated in 1965 and 1973, the last year adding township and range locations for unofficial names to the lakes.

There are over 400 mapped lakes in Mt. Rainier NP, but only about 50 have names, and a few of the remainder have informal or unofficial names used by a variety entities for a variety of reasons, but none of these names have been officially adopted by the Board on Geographic Names.

I haven't found reasons for the state selecting about 40 unnamed lakes for the series on the selected lakes of Washington, especially since the bulk are in the northeast quadrant, but they're in the report and now on Web pages for the description and a map of the lakes.

The majority of the lakes are inaccessible except by difficult off-trail scrambling through forest or in the upper elevations, often with extensive elevation gain or loss from existing trails. A few in the northeast quadrant are accessible off the Palisades trail via the road to Sunrise.

I would caution folks to exercise care with hiking off-trail to any of these or any lakes to respect the environment and the lake. A little damage takes time to heal.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Website Down

Update.-- 3:10 pm.-- The Website appears to be back, but I'll keep checking to see it's not a temporary fix.

Folks, I apologize the Website is down no thanks to the Website hosting company. Last week they sent an e-mail they're moving systems around along with Website servers. I followed their instructions and everything was fine until today when only the home page is there.

When I called them they said they're moving all the Website from the hosting servers in Florida, locally they were what's called a virtual server being the host for the domain name and thru-put for visitors to the real hosting server.

They first said, "We didn't do anything.", but a few minutes later gave the sheepish, "Oops" response that the link on the Domain Name Server (DNS) was wrong, but the tech didn't know how to fix it, and would call me back. Like an hour ago.

It appears they want local copies now but when they moved to the Florida server, they had me buy a FTP application and upload all the files directly, so I don't have access to the local server anymore to upload to them.

I told them if they give me the access I'll upload the entire Website, assuming it won't run into a quota for my Website, but they said they were transferring all the Websites back. I said, "So, where's mine?" and got no answer.

I suspect they decided to let owners of broken Websites call if they find or have problems. Like that's good customer relations. I have my domain name and Website hosting with them almost 13 years (December 2000), but apparently older customers don't count.

It's why you get the URL not found on this server error messages. For now, that's the only news I have, nothing works, and they know I'm not happy with them. And all I can do is wait.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Reports

The reports for the conditions, access and information for August are now available at photo guide for Mt. Rainier NP. These should work through the Labor Day holiday weekend in early Septmber. While August is past the peak for the wildlflowers, there's still plenty of them around the NP.

Otherwise, everything is open and busy. The weather is normally good in early-to-mid August, it changes to cooler, even cold, in the last half of the month. This is great as the bugs disappear after the first sub-40 degree night.

Except for fixing mistakes, I'm off on other things for awhile, but I would appreciate feedback if you feel the guide works for you or you have suggestions to improve it, add to it, or whatever else you'd like to see.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thursday July 25th

Folks, remember Thursday July 25 is the RAMROD bicycle ride for 800 cyclists who will ride round Mt. Rainier NP from highways 7 to highway 706 at Elbe and then to and through the NP to the Stevens Canyon Road to highway123, and then north over Cayuse Pass to highway 410 to Enumclaw.

It's pretty much takes most of the day for all the cyclists. There will be stops for them and traffic control so they and cars can travel safely on the route to, through and from the NP. If you go to the NP, please drive with care and give them all the room they need.

Further Update

After sitting at a cafe and wandering through the photo guide I found about a dozen Web pages which need updates or could use additional information, so for the rest of July and August I'll be working on them during the hiatus from the guide, or at least the pages which don't take too much research or work.

Otherwise, enjoy the NP during the summer. It's short-lived into September and fall comes sneaking onto the scene and the weather changes drastically from the change through August and the NPS begins to plan the closure of facilities and roads.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July-August News

View from Camp Muir looking due south down the Muir Snowfield to McClure Rock with Mt. Adams on the left and Mount St. Helens on the right in the distance.

I have updated the monthly news and information, condition and access, and monthly prospects Web pages with the photo guide for July and August. I will be reviewing and updating other Web pages which have seasonal information for the summer season this month.

After this work is done, I'll be taking a short hiatus until after the Labor Day holiday weekend to focus on some other overdue work and my fitness program which has progressed but still needs more time and work.

During this hiatus I will be looking at the todo list and doing some background research to work on the fall updates and information and other Web pages. And I'll be posting occasional news and information here which effects visitors and photographers to the NP.

State Route 7

State Road 7 (SR 7), one of the primary roads to access the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, will be closed for a portion of the summer for slope stabilization work. During the closure, the Nisqually Entrance of the park is still accessible via a 15-20 minute detour though Eatonville using the Alder Cutoff Road to reconnect to SR 7 past the closure.

SR 7 Closure Dates for 2013:
July 8 - SR 7 Closes
August 9 - 12 - SR 7 open for the Loggers Jubilee Weekend
August 13 - SR 7 Closes
August 30 - September 2 - SR 7 open for Labor Day Weekend
September 3 - SR 7 Closes
Work scheduled through the end of October, final date to reopen TBD depending on the progress of the roadwork.

More information is available on the Washington Department of Transportation project page for SR 7. Also, see July 1st press release

Website Down

As of about 3:30 pm today (July 23rd) my Website is down due to the host (Rainier Connect) being down. Everything isn't working with them, their Website beside those they host, e-mail servers, etc. The whole game for them.

It seems or appears something major broke and they're experiencing "technical difficulties" with their system. Gee, so much for selling yourself as 100% reliable. No word on their Twitter accout about the outage or when they'll be back.

Update.-- What do yo know, as of now, 5:10 pm, they're back. I wonder if they deduct this from the bill next month, 1.5 hours of our stupidity. Yeah, I'm not enamored with them but they're the lesser of evils for Website hosting services here.

Monday, July 15, 2013


I have updated the Web page for the Webcams at Mt. Rainier NP. There were some errors with the links (the NPS often changes them in the reorganization of the Web pages) and some updated imformation on the status of the two seasonal locations, Camp Muir and Sunrise, both of which are now on-line.

I apologize for the delays with these updates. Life has interrupted some work on the photo guide, which I'm getting back to now.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Updated Lakes

I have updated the Web pages for the lake in the NP with updates to the description and 3 additional lakes with official names. These three lakes are inaccessible from trails and are in the backcountry area, one near Mowich Lake and the other two in the upper Olallie Creek basin.

In addition I'm working on a description and map of the unnamed lakes in the NP in the 1973 report by the Washington State Department of Ecology listed in the information paragraph in the above Web pages.

There were 41 lakes identified and located in the report, a few of which are accessible from trails but most aren't. I haven't found any explanation why these were chosen among the many unnamed lakes in the NP as they range from glacial tarns to larger lakes.

The description and map for these will be on-line as soon as I can finish the work.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another Quick Update

I've decided to merge May and June reports together, so expect the monthly stuff next week and before the Memorial Day holiday. All said though some other news which merits mention.

First, both Cayuse and Chinook passes are open so highway 410 and 123 in and through the NP are open for travel but expect lots of snow once in the mid-to-upper elevations. The Stevens Canyon road isn't open yet, but expected to open before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The Paradise Inn opens May 22nd. The Jackson visitors center is open day from 10 am to 5 pm now through the Labor Day holiday weekend in September. The rest of the facilities at Paradise are open or will open soon.

The government sequester has closed the Ohanapecosh visitors center for this season. The campground there will close two week earlier in September. Cougar Rock Campground will open a month later, now scheduled for late June, and close two weeks early in September.

That's it for now. There's still snow at the mid-upper elevation, above 4,000 feet, as the snowmelt season will continue into June for the mid-elevations and July for the upper elevations. More on this in later posts as I update the snow Web pages for the 2012-13 season.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wonderland Trail

Photo Tacoma News Tribune
Craig Hill, staff writer on the Tacoma News Tribune, is doing a series on the Wonderland Trail, which you can find the initial March 10th column here on getting campsite permits for the coming season. Additional articles are as follows.

March 17th, hiking the Wonderland Trail counter clockwise.

March 24th, preparation for hiking the Wonderland Trail.

March 31st, history of overuse and abuse of the Wonderland Trail.

April 14th, the ups and downs of the Wonderland Trail.

April 21st, the discrepancy over distance of the Wonderland Trail.

April 28th, about trekking poles for the Wonderland Trail.

May 5th, about boots and socks for hiking the Wonderland Trail.

May 12th, about losing the weight with your backpack.

This series is expected to last into May, so I'll post updates with links as I find them or you can search the Tacoma News Tribune Website for his columns or from their Mt. Rainier NP guide.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quick May Update

I'm late with the reports for May and they'll likely be ready early next week at the earliest. I've had some medical appointments, health issues and other things in life get in the way the last two weeks. That said, I can add a few things which started changing in May.

For one the Jackson Visitors Center is open 7 days a week now from 10 am to 5 pm.

Highway 410 to Cayuse Pass and south to highway 123 is open. Highway 410 over Chinook Pass is scheduled to open the week before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, around May 21st according to the Washington Department of Transporation.

The snowpack has melted at the lower elevations, below 3,000 feet and is melting in the mid elevations, 3-5,000 feet but will take into June or July to fully melt. The upper elevations, above 5,000 feet as shown for the graph for Paradise above, snowpack is above normal and should be peaking soon.

This means trails be snow free at the lower elevations but decreasing snow in the mid elevations through May and into June. The snowmelt above 5,000 feet will likely last well into July this year from the depth so far, which means the trails there, especially the Wonderland trail, will see snow for awhile.

Anyway, that's it for now. More to come next week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) traverses for about 12 miles along the boundary between Mt. Rainier NP and the William O. Douglas Wilderness in the Okanogan-Wenatche National Forest from the southeastern corner of the NP where the PCT meets the Laughingwater Creek trail to the junction of the Crystal Lakes trail at Sourdough Gap.

The PCT wanders in and out of the NP along this common part of the trail and is administered by the USFS for its length with the NP which means the USFS rules on the trail and USFS camping rules on USFS land, but no camping on NP lands.

The trail crosses highway 410 at Chinook Pass, with the trail over the new walkway bridge over the highway where there is a trailhead on the USFS side of the boundary and the Tipsoo Lake picnic area on the NP side a short distance west of the bridge.

For hikers there are several options to accessing the PCT which you can find information on the description and map of the PCT along the boundary with the adjacent wilderness area. There are several good dayhikes as well as overnight to longer backcountry hikes, one being the loop of the PCT and eastside trail along highway 123.

Anyway, the stuff is there. Let me know if you find problems, have questions or suggestions with the Web pages.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Reports

The monthly reports on the news, access and conditions for Mt. Rainier NP for April are now on-line at the photo guide. The news for April is that spring is slowly sneaking into the NP and the NPS is starting the transition to spring.

But don't expect much for April as the snowpack is above normal and has persisted at lower elevations later than normal this spring with snow at Longmire. That said the NPS will end the nightly closures of the road between Longmire and Paradise April 15th.

Travellers should check the road advisories as snow will continue to add to the snowpack through April into early May so you will encounter cold temperatures and rain/snow storms at the mid-upper elevations. You should still carry chains as a precaution.

In other news the snowplay area ends March 31st but snow camping continues for awhile until the snowpack melts where the NP decides it's a danger for the underlying vegetation and meadows. This is important when travelling across open areas still covered with snow.

In other news the NPS is accepting reservations for the backcountry permits for the Wonderland Trail. They accept applications between March 15th and April 1st, after which all of the applications are put into a lottery system and allocated accordingly.

Otherwise, it's still winter and early spring in the lower elevations. Time to get out the gear and warm up the body for people like me who are spring to fall hikers and photographers. Sorry winter people.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I've written about this before, see blog essay, but I want to reemphasize it again, which is simply if you are searching for old publications, documents, reports, brochures, pamphlets, books, maps, etc., as I do for Mt. Rainier NP, and you use some of the on-line used booksellers, namely abebook, alibris, or similar ones, one word of advice.

Don't buy "Print on Demand" editions.

You see these a lot of these when scrolling through the list of material for any subject or topic, and the number of sellers of these types of books are now throughout the world. And many of their copies are expensive, too expensive for a print on demand publication.

The reason I advice don't buy them is that they're a variety of publications. Some are just a collection of Wikipedia articles you can get for free from Wikipedia or a third party app of Wikipedia pages. Some are US government documents or reports you can find on-line for free.

Some are old books past the copyright protection where you can find original print editions for the same price or less. And some are scholoarly or academic publications you can find in libaries through the World Library Catalog and go there to read or copy them or use interlibrary service to get them to your local library.

One thing I've done with my research for materials, listed here is always get the original edition or make  a copy from an original edition (eg. journals). I don't buy print on demand publications, but I often research the source material and then find that if it's an actual publication, and if so, find that.

Anyway, it's just advice after seeing a US government reports on monitoring programs for glacier, climate, elk populations, each for $30-40 and use a few clicks of Google to find and download the PDF public domain copies from the National Park Service. Gee, government for your taxes.

In conclusion with these, save your money and buy a real book, old or new. You're better off and better served.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paradise Road Closure Ends

The NPS is reporting this week (March 19-20th) is the last week of the closure of the road from Longmire to Paradise from Monday evening to Thursday morning. Starting next week, the road will be open, weather and road conditions pending and still controlled at the gate just east of Longmire.

While March into April is coming of spring in the lower elevations, it is still winter in the mid and upper elevations where the snowfall will continue with storms and the snowpack will continue to increase. The normal peak is the first week of May.

You can get the latest road and condition information from the NP's Twitter Page.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Reports

The news, information and reports for March are now available for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide. In short early March this year is a continuation of February, but it's not known if this will continue into mid-late March, at least in the lower elevations where spring will start as the snow melts.

The snowpack normally continues to increase through March and April into early May where it peaks and the snowmelt begins in the middle elevations and later in May in the upper elevations. A lot depends on the snowfall through this period and the spring weather, especially warming days.

The NP will continue in winter operations through March and April where the changes to spring into summer operations begins in mid-late May, usually the week before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, if not sooner if the snowmelts is sooner or quicker in some locations in the NP.

There will be more news on this later in March but really April. Otherwise, it's more of winter for now in the NP. No date has been annouced for the closure of the snowplay area at Paradise, but it's normally later into April or May when the snowpack recedes to a depth to support activities without hurting the underlying meadows.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Small Update

I have walked through some of the Web pages with the Mt. Rainier NP photography guide and updated   them for navigation and organization and for new information. Nothing else with the guide is new as the February reports are current and I've had the flu for just over a week now.

I still have a new more updates to do for the photography guide Web pages and I'll post a notice when they're on-line and available. Those Web pages are also current, I'm just proofreading them for corrections and some additional information.

Otherwise, the March-April reports, which is both late winter and early spring in the NP, will be forthcoming later this month. I'll also be working on some of the later project Web pages, such as the spring season or the northeast or southeast quadrant guides, hopefully to have one or more done by May.

That's it. It's still winter in the NP (above photo) and likely will be into May as the snowpack to date is above normal and the prospects are for continued cold temperatures in the mid-upper elevations. Only the lower elevations will see warmer temperatures in March through April. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Reports

The February Reports are now available at the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide where you can get the latest information about the news, access, conditions and prospects. There isn't really any change from January since it's the middle of winter and will be through March and April into May.

Other news is that the road from Longmire to Paradise is closed from Monday 5 pm to Thursday morning when the road is checked and cleared of any snow. You can get the latest information from the NPS Mt. Rainier Twitter Account on the status of the road.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Skate Creek Road

Skate Creek Road (PDF) is the USFS road which connects highway 12, in the southeast area outside the NP, to  highway 706, the road to the Nisqually entrance and to Longmire and Paradise. The road runs south of the southern NP boundary as described by the USFS:

Forest Road 52, also known as Skate Creek Road, travels east to west, between Packwood and Elbe.  FR 52 is a paved road that has had low maintenance for a number of years.  Please watch your speed.  There are a number of slumps and potholes in the road.

FR 52 travels through low elevation forest following beautiful Skate Creek.  The forest contains evergreen and deciduous trees.   And offers beautiful fall colors and plenty of cooler temperatures in the summer.  The area offers several dispersed camping sites and fishing in the creek.

In the winter months, FR52 is often gated closed when the snow gets too deep to drive safely.

You can get the latest information from the USFS Website on the status of the road. It usually closes in mid-December to reopen later in the spring.

NP Planning Projects

The NPS is conducting work on improvements within the Mt. Rainier NP. You can get a list and the status of the projects currently open for public opinion or review at their Website where there are currently several which will effect visitors or climbers, such as the Nisqually to Paradise Road and Camp Muir rehabilitation.

Longmire Temperature

There is a quick and easy way to determine how cold it is at Longmire, at just under 2,800 feet elevation. You can check the NPS Web cam for Longmire to see the obvious, meaning this is above freezing.

And this is below freezing.

You can also see the snow on the ground and by the depth kinda' extrapolate to lower and higher elevations. You can check the date/time on the bottom of the images to see when it was taken. And occasionally catch them when they're working on the camera.

That's it for this post, no number necessary.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sun & Moon Info

Update.-- I have updated the monthly sun and moon information Web pages for 2013 for two changes. The first is a small script which displays the current moon phase. The second is adding a page break at the top of the table so it will print on one page except for two months which I can't find a fix yet.

The information for the Sun and Moon times (rise, set and azimuth) for Mt. Rainier NP for 2013 (January through December) are now available from the Sun & Moon information Web page.

And yes, that's the moon and a planet from the Web cam in the administration building west of the (new 2008) Jackson Visitors on April 7, 2012 at 6:27 am. The Web cam looks southwest down the Nisqually valley to Longmire. Here's the photo 20 minutes later.

Sorry for the delay with January information. I'm like the planet, a little behind and slow these days.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I've added a Web page and files for all the officially recognized placenames in Mt. Rainier NP from the beginning before it was designated our fifth National Park in 1899. You can read description and history, and download the files at the Web page for the names.

There is also a description of the national Board of Geographic Names (BGN) who review and approve all names to be used with state and federal government maps and publications. Local governments and the array of organiztions are exempt from mandatory compliance but many comply for already approved names, only using their names for places not approved.

Also, individuals for their use, often with Websites, eg. waterfalls and lakes, or hking or nature guides use far more names than on maps, which is why where appropriate my Web pages clearly state I restrict names to those on USGS maps or approved by the BGN because you can research and reference them.

In addition, there is a process for individuals, organizations, government agencies, etc. to apply for official recognition, see above link, for inclusion in name registries, with maps and for publications. I'm currently researching one, Windy Knoll, a 1930's era firelook out campsite.

For Mt. Rainier NP there are currently 692 names for places, just over double from the 334 placenames on the first map of the NP produced by the USGS in 1915, see history of USGS maps for Mt. Rainier NP. Not all the names are on the USGS maps, including the latest NP map (1971) or the 7 1/2 minute series maps (1971-2000).

Anyway, that's it and now you know if a name for a place is official. Or not.

Website Housecleaning

I doubt this means much to anyone but I've been spending the recent days walking through the Website and doing some housecleaning and Web pages tweaks. Nothing anyone will see as obvious or different, just small things to make it easier to find the other stuff I have elsewhere.

I also removed old or yet to be ready for prime time Web pages. I found some I had ready but didn't connect to other pages, so there's more work there. I found some of the graphics from other Website weren't displaying because of new URL's for the source. Hopefully all of those are fixed.

There's a lot to do, especially since I kinda' stopped with the Siatic nerve problem and infection issue which forced me to look to get back in shape. The problem is exercising when you're old takes more energy and longer to recover, especially when I trying to get better than I was a year ago.

So that's the news to date. I'll post more when it's new and news.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


You can get more information on snowmobiles in Mt. Rainier NP and from the NPS Website, which is as follows:

In the southwest corner of the park, snowmobiles are permitted for 6.5 miles along the Westside Road from its junction with the main park road as far as Round Pass. Beyond Round Pass, the Westside Road is closed to snowmobile use. Snowmobiles are also permitted on all the road loops of Cougar Rock Campground. The campground is closed to overnight use during winter and the roadway is left unplowed. Contact a park ranger at the Longmire Information Center for maps and additional snowmobile information.

On the north side of the park, no ranger station is open in the winter. The US Forest Service District Office in Enumclaw provides information and maps for White River, Carbon River, and Mowich Lake areas. For more information, call the USFS District Office in Enumclaw at (360) 825-6585. Highway 410 is closed near its junction with Crystal Mountain Ski Area road, at the north park boundary

Snowmobiles are permitted on the 12-mile section of unplowed road from the north park boundary on Highway 410 to the White River Campground. Snowmobiles may not continue on Hwy 410 south of the White River Road turnoff. They are also prohibited from proceeding beyond the closure at the White River Campground road junction towards Sunrise. Snowmobiles must stay on the road corridor; they are not allowed to proceed beyond the campground towards Glacier Basin. Be aware of avalanche danger and the weather forecast.

Wilderness permits, required for all backcountry camping, and climbing registration cards are available at the north boundary arch on Highway 410 or by self registration at the Ohanapecosh Ranger Station.

I would only suggest that you ride carefully and watch out for snowshoers, skiers and hikers. They're on the same trails and roads too and they can't react as fast as you and you can often see or hear them.

Snowplay Area

The snowplay area is open for fun, which is the following:

"The snowplay area at Paradise is generally open late December through mid-March, depending on snow. Sledding and sliding are permitted only in the designated snow play area at Paradise. Trees, tree wells, and cliffs make other areas dangerous. For everyone's safety, use "soft" sliding devices-flexible sleds, inner tubes, and saucers. No hard toboggans or runner sleds. Snowplay is now open Thursday - Monday, and daily during winter break (December 21 - January 1), road and weather conditions permitting. Check the status of road and avalanche conditions before leaving home. Remember all vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park in winter."

Go and have fun.

January Reports

The January reports are on-line at the Mt. Rainier photo guide. It's pretty much the same as December outside of the exceptions for the Christmas and New Year's Day holiday weeks. In short, back to the normal winter operations and schedule.

I will be posting additional information in following posts on this blog.