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.