Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Break

If you been looking for the November-December updates and reports, they're not there because I've been on holiday break for the first months of winter, in part because it's winter and there's less interest in Mt. Rainier NP, and in part because I've been struggling with reoccurring colds and a persistent bacteria infection.

Without going into details, the infection has been an intermittent, but persistent, one since January, and for reasons I don't understand I keep coming down with colds or cold-like symptoms weekly. This hasn't hampered my daily 6 mile walks (5-6 days a week) very much, but has hampered doing much else.

Anyway, I want to wish everyone a good holiday season and a happy new year. I expect I'll be back with the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide early in January. Enjoy the winter and holidays.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bailey Willis Essay

In the early 1880's Bailey Willis was a geologist with the Northern Pacific Railroad (NPR) assigned to conduct reconnaissance of the coal and iron ore resouces in several northern states and territories, one area being the Washington territory and more specifically the Carbon River areas near and in the Mt Rainier National Park.

During some of his expeditions in the area he guided dignitaries, some of whom, along with Willis, advocated Mt Rainier be designated a national park similar to Yellowstone in 1872. That effort wouldn't begin until about 1893 and succeed in 1899.

As part of his work with the NPR he established and supervised the construction of trails into the upper Carbon River and Mowich Lake area, parts of which are part of the present day Carbon River road and Mowich Lake road (highway 165), and parts of which are parts of the modern day trails in the NP.

And as described in the essay, he often travelled to areas in the NP long before there were trails, again where there are trails today. He likely was the one of the few, if not the first, to see some of the places now accessed by established trails.

Bailey and others would convince the NPR to promote tourism in the northwest area, in part because of the ready access to it from Seattle and Tacoma, and the beauty of that part of the NP. The effort would fade because effort was put into the southwest area with the establishment of the Longmire resort and the popularity of the Paradise Valley.

From his travels in the area Bailey wrote a personal essay, "Among the Cliffs of the Northwest Spur", referring to the upper Carbon River and Mowich Lake area in present day Mt Rainier NP. The essay was never published and tucked away into his papers at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles.

I have transcribed the essay out of interest in his thoughts and experience. Clearly he was awed by the scenery. You can find the essay here which has a link to a PDF version. Some of the names of places in the essay have changed and some places were misidentified from later work to name places in the NP. I have inserted the current names in brackets in the essay.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1896 geology field notes

Update.--The links to the original field notes and transcriptio of the field notes have been updated since the original post in April 6, 2009. Original post below.

During the 1896 expedition geologist George Otis Smith took rock samples and field notes while he, Bailey Willis, Israel C. Russell and George Landes explored the geology of Mount Rainier. Willis explored the north side of Mt. Rainier in the early 1880s' working for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Smith also explored the Mt. Rainier during the previous summers before the expedtion as part of the overall exploration of the geology of the western side of the Cascade Mountains, and specifically in the Mt. Rainier area in August 1895.

Doing the research for the expedition I discovered the USGS had the original 1895 and 1896 field books in the archives, and they provided copies of them. I have transcribed the 1896 field book to work with the report narrative for their travels on the expedition, listed below.

Original Field Book
Transcribed Field Book

The files are in PDF format and will either open in your browser window or dowload to your computer. I'm still in the process of transcribing the field book to the expedition timelime for dates and places so people know where the samples were taken, but it's likely most places won't be excactly known. They didn't have maps then to determine locations, only their own descriptions.

Anyway, it's interesting reading if only for historical purposes. I was notified later that my transcription of the field book is now part of the USGS archive with the orginal field book, so future readers have both.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walk Through

Wandering around the Website I noticed quite a few Web pages have errors or broken links, or are need of updating for better organization, information, etc. This is been accumulating for some time now for a number of reasons.

So, over the winter I plan to take the sets of Web pages for each topic in the photo guide and update them to a newer standard with updated information. And with so many sets of Web pages, this won't be a short or easy task, but something I'll do over the next 6 month or so.

If you have problems with, or questions or suggestions for the Web pages, please let me know. If you see wrong or bad information, broken links or other obvious issuse, please let me know. It's hard to tell what people want with the Web pages if they don't say something.

The longterm goal is to work on the sets of Web pages into more detailed ones and eventually a book, but there's so much left to do and to add, a book on the wish list for now, but recent publications have prompted me to start thinking if not working on it.

Anyway, that's it, just a short note of work I'll be doing on top of new sets of Web pages for publications, topic, interests, history, etc. It's like my office, piles of ideas (documents, outlines, research notes, books, maps, reports, etc.) where I've lost track of what's where, which is why have the Web page for plans.

Photo Places Update

I have updated the Web page for photo places in Mt Rainier NP with a second map from a set of pamphlets with two maps by photographer Tom Haseltine, dividing the NP into southern and northern halves.

The places on the maps in the pamphlets different somewhat from the places in the chapter on the NP by Greg Vaughn in his book Photographing Washington but more often overlap with respect to the common areas and places photographers go in the NP.

The problem is that there is just too much to photograph in the NP and too many places to go so photographers have to ration their time for the few places they have time in the NP. Very few photographers have the access to return frequently enough to photograph in more places.

And fewer photographers wander more than a 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the road, into the backcountry, often for days at a time. Even I limited myself to long day hikes for personal reasons but still managed to get 5-6 miles into the backcountry, short considering the size of the NP.

Anyway, the Web pages are there for visitors and photographers. I highly recommend the book, especially if you're visiting Washington State and the NP is one of the places you want to visit and photograph.

And I recommend the pamphlets because they're full of places with a good map to know where you can go. But remember the NP has seasons and not everywhere is open outside of summer, so you need to take the time of your visit into account.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Green Trails Maps

Green Trails has redesigned their Website where the links I have to individual maps for the Web page for Mt. Rainier NP don't work anymore. I've changed the link on the table of contents for the photo guide to the pages for the Washington and you have to navigate to the central Cascasdes west and down (south) to the map for the NP.

I'll look to see how I can fix the link the Web page for the individual Green Trails maps, but barring luck, the Web page may be dropped as it doesn't work to what I want and what I think users want, but does what Green Trails wants.

It's a shame their Website doesn't have individual link to products. While the design works for browsing for products and may simply some functions and operations, it's basically bad design that users have to navigate through Web pages for a single product.

I apologize for not checking this by now, but I'll see what I can do and update the Web page accordingly.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Access Map

I have updated the current news, information and access map for two things. First, I converted all the locations to WGS84 latitude and longitude so they will plot better on Google Map. Google uses WGS84 instead of NAD83 which are slightly, but not significantly, different locations, when you zoom in on places on the map.

The second is that I've added 8 new places and relocated some of the places for better representation on the map. The new places are mostly in the Longmire, Paradise and Sunrise areas to provide more information of the facilities and activities there.

I've also updated the information from the NPS schedule for winter closures or reduce days and/or hours at facilities and campgrounds. All the roads are currently open and will remain until the NPS begins closing them on schedule or with the first significant snowfall.

I'll update the information again when we get into October and the actual closures have happened, often at Sunrise, or will happen in October as outlined in the schedule. The closures usually align with the Columbus Day holiday, the last good weekend and holiday in the NP.

Horizontal Datum

I've been reviewing the map with the current news, information and access and discovered when you zoom in on specific places, the points I have for Google Map, which uses NAD83 latitude and longitude, plot differently on Google Map than for the map applications I use for locating places.

This is because Google uses WGS84 and not NAD83. This is due to the fact Google needs a consistent world horizontal datum and not one specific to North America which I've used throughout my career with the USGS and with the maps for the Mt Rainier photo guide.

The difference can be small, almost insigificant, or obviously close but not right. So, I'll be adjusting the map for the news to WGS84 and checking the locations with Google Map. If this works to correctly plot the locations, then I'll work through all the maps to correct them to WGS84, but that will take some time.

In the meantime the difference is small enough to still identify what the point is and where it is in Mt Rainier NP. But for the information on the maps for elevation, they will still be NGVD 1927 and not NAVD 1988. The USGS still uses NGVD 1927 for a lot of application, reports and uses, so that's still the standard I'll use on the maps with the photo guide.

If you have problems with the elevation, all computer and mobile device map applications have toggles to switch between the two vertical datums, so it's easy to translate between them for your needs or work. As they say, if anything changes, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Photography Places

Recently travel photographer Greg Vaughn published Photographing Washington of which a chapter is dedicated to Mt. Rainier National Park. I have reduced the information in the chapter to Web pages, Photography Places in Mt Rainier NP along with a map of the places in the book with a few variations.

While the book is an excellent resource for photographers visiting Mt. Rainier for many of the best places to photograph, it's doesn't present all of the places as the many are in the backcountry far from the visitor areas and locations and far off the roads requiring long day hikes or multiple day backcountry hikes.

That said, I highly recommend the book if you already photograph places in Washington state or plan to visit to photograph places in Washington state, and the chapter on Mt Rainier is the best presentation I've seen to date.

It encompasses many of the most and often photographed places in the NP and some of the lesser known or visited places. It opens the door to what other photographers will tell you, some of the best places are in the backcountry, where over 90% of the NP is open to photographers away from the tourist and photographers.

And this is good won't get old or out of date for information, the NP is always there waiting for you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Camp Muir

This is the view south from Camp Muir (NPS Webcam) with, left to right, Mount Adams, Mount Hood (center in the distance), and Mount St Helens. The view looks down the Muir snowfield between the Paradise (east) and Nisqually (west) glaciers.

Camp Muir is a long day hike to and back down for some but mostly the stopover site for summit climbs where the climbers stay for the evening to arise in the early morning hours for the climb to the summit and back down to Camp Muir and Paradise.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sorry about that

I screwed up and didn't upload the new table of contents with the changes for September-October news, conditions and access links. It's fixed. I apologize for the oversight. Too much work and too many other things in life I overlooked all the pages to upload.

I'll be updating them again in about a week or so when the NPS release its initial schedule for the reduction in days and hours and closures for the facilities, campgrounds, services, roads, entrances, etc. Those come out with the fall Tahoma newsletter which comes out after the Labor Day holiday.

I'll get the newsletter and update the Web pages with the specific dates and information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Webcam at Camp Muir looking south with Mt. Adam and Mount St. Helens.

I've uploaded the bi-monthly reports for September and October for the NP, which you can find at the table of contents with the photo guide for the NP. I've updated the Web pages for the areas for the NP, also found in the table of contents under "Photography" section.

September and October are the transition months from late summer into fall in the NP, with respect to the weather of the warm sunny days to the cooler fall days and cool to cold nights with periods of both rain or warm and sunny weather, and, in some years, the possiblity of snow in October, which has occurred 23 of the last 32 years.

It's also for the NPS to transition the vistor facilities, camgrounds and roads for the upcoming winter as well as preparation for possible extreme rain events with floods or snowstorms. This requires establishing and following a schedule to close all but one road and almost all the facilities through September and October, with the rest occuring in November.

September and October are excellent months, despite the changes in the weather from summer to fall and the reduction or closure of some places, facilities, etc., with far fewer visitors everywhere, meaning the visitors areas and the trails. And there still is enough daylight for some enjoyable trips.

Small Update

I'm working on the September-October bi-monthly reports for news, access, conditions and prospects for Mt. Rainier NP along with working on several small projects for description and map Web pages for books and other information about the NP.

In part I'm waiting for the specifics of the fall-to-winter closure schedule for the NP. The NPS starts the process to reduce hours and close facilities, campgrounds, and roads in September and more so in October, with the last by November where they're in full winter mode until spring.

Without the specific dates, the best I can do is guess a time frame and add the specifics when the NPS releases the fall Tahoma newsletter with the dates, which usually occurs around the Labor Day holiday weekend, the last of the full summer operations.

In addition I'll be doing my long overdue walk through on the Website for global changes to the structure, design and look of it, albeit mostly small stuff since I haven't decided on version 3's new design yet (l like version 2 too much), and for a review and edit of individual pages for writing errors and updates.

Anyway, it's just a short note to say I'm back working on the photo guide after three years of health issues, the last two with bacterial infections in my digestive system, and has left me with new back problems (pinched Sciatic nerve in June 2011 and July 2012), which has curtailed my fitness program, but I'm gone from 185+ lbs to 150 lbs in the same period from walking 3,400+ miles to date.

That said, as they say, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Westside Road

Update.-- The NPS announced today they re-opened the Westside road. It will be open until the seasonal closing date, usually some time in October.

If you haven't heard or read the news, the Westside Road, which starts about a mile past the Nisqually entrance in the southwest corner of the NP. It's usually the place I start in the spring with each hiking season while it's still closed as it's a nice 3.5 mile (one way) hike to get the legs back and focus on the scenery (mostly forest and Tahoma Creek with just few places to see Mt Rainier).

On August 13th a J√∂kulhlaup (glacial outburst flood) from Tahoma glacier flowed down Tahoma Creek, and while it hasn't been reported that it damaged the Westside Road, the NPS closed the road for safety reasons as any additional outburt flood could easily damage the road and trap hikers parked at the Fish Creek trailhead.

There is no announcements from the NP when the road will reopen, but with the extended warm weather, often a major contributing factor creating the circumstances for the floods, the road could be closed for some time, which closes each fall, usually in October.

I'll try to watch the NP news to see if/when they reopen the road as it provides the only trailhead to the southwest area of the NP without using the longer Kautz Creek trail to the Tahoma Creek suspension bridge to the upper part of the Westside Road around Emerald Ridge.

There is a shorter trail from the bridge via the old (non-addvertised) Tahoma Creek trail, used by backcountry rangers, but more than likely that trail, which hugs the side of the valley in the upper Tahoma Creek basin, may have been damaged beyond repair to use.

Anyway, if/when I get news of changes, I'll update this information.


Long over due from requests, I've added a description and map Web pages for the NPS' compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Mt Rainier NP, see description or map Web pages. These are not in the table of contents yet, as I'm working on updates to that Web page and the monthly/seasonal reports.

There is not a lot of information on ADA accessible places in the NP, just a few Web pages and the recent book (see book review), so I took the information I found there and added some I know from my travels in the NP for the Web pages.

Compliance to the ADA varys within the NP depending on the area, most of it in the southwest with Longmire and Paradise visitor areas and the northeast with the Sunrise area. There's some compliance in the southeast within the Ohanapecosh and Stevens Canyon road area.

There is no compliance in the northwest area with the Carbon River and Mowich Lake entrances as those areas exist for backcountry hikers, the Carbon River entrance closed at the NP boundary for only hiker and mountain bikers. The Mowich Lake area as minimal access at the Mowich Lake parking lot for the same reason, lack of facilities and being more a trailhead for hikers going into the backcountry.

That said, there are a few trails in the three other areas accessible for people under the ADA where the trail is relatively flat and wide enough for wheelchairs, etc., paved or with planks in some cases. This affords visitors some measure of getting into the area.

Anyway, please let me know if you have questions or suggestions for the Web pages.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Google Map API Job

Update August 19 2015.--I'm still looking for an experienced Google Map API programmer. I've decided to raise the rate I'll pay to $50 per hour. If you know someone who can do or is interested in the work, please let me or them know. There is more work available if the person does a good job.

I'm still looking for this help after I updated this work and posted it on the University of Washington Career Connections blog 2 years ago. It's $50 an hour for 3-4 hours of work, more if proven necessary.

I posted an entry about wanting, and paying for, help with Google map API version 3, which you can read here. Well, I realized I forgot to tell folks what they can see what I want to do with the one map I want updated where I can translate those changes to the rest of the maps.

So, what I want is to change the Web cam map Web page from version 2 to version three which you can see what I've done so far, which is get the map and nothing else. You can view the source of these to compare the Google API code on the bottom of the page (after the address tags).

That's the script to change, which is mostly the call and load statements as I've found the core block of code for the XML files didn't change, or that I can find or read. Unfortunately I can't find any examples using XML files where I can adapt my code using their call and load statements.

Anyway, that's the update. The need is still there and the offer still good. If you know version 3 code, I'm open to discuss the work. I can quickly load any code into the local Website files using Dreamweaver to test them. I'm also open for someone to suggest changes, enhancements, etc. I can always use the help and learn.

And the pay? Negotiatable but in the $50 per hour range assuming a few hours of work for a reasonably experienced Google API programmer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book on ADA Access

A book was recently published on barrier-free travel in Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks, see information. The book is a good overview of the ADA compliance by the National Park Service in those National Parks. The goal here is a review of the book as while I found the specific information about ADA access accurate, I found the general to be inaccurate or incomplete and a lack of additional resources for current information.

The book covers two National Park, but I'll focus on the chapters on Mt. Rainier NP, specifically by section and page. The first is a semantic difference since I'm a geographer. On page 43, 2nd paragraph, it should be noted Mt. Rainier NP doesn't a southwest side, it has a south or west side (boundary) and a southwest quadrant, corner or area.

On the same page under "The Basics", the section on "Seasons and Road conditions" is incorrect, misleading or incomplete. The NPS for Mt Rainier NP has a Twitter Account where they report current weather, road and other conditions in the NP which effects travellers and visitors. It's more current and quicker than any telephone number will provide.

With respect to the Longmire to Paradise road, from November to May the road is closed nightly at 4-5 PM (always, not "usually" in the book) just east of Longmire and does not reopen until about 9-11 am the following morning after checking the roads and clearing any snow. They report this information via their Twitter account.

More importantly the Sunrise road (White River campground to Sunrise) closes every fall for the whole winter, until the following spring. The NPS shutters their facilities and operations at Sunrise a week or two earlier and then closes the road with the first significant snowfall.

The information on the facilities and campgrounds are good and complete for the different areas in the NP. The point she doesn't make is that the NP essentially closes everything but the Nisqually entrance, Longmire and Paradise in late fall through late spring, leaving just the one access and two areas for visitors.

The next is the Jackson Visitors Center, page 50. The old (1966-2008) Jackson Visitors Center was designed by two architecture companies, one in Hawaii. It was NOT designed and built for Hawaii, and relocated to Mt. Rainier NP as stated in the book. It was designed and built for Mt. Rainier as part of the Mission 66 program.

In addition the NPS built a brand new visitors Center, seen here, for Mt. Rainier, which opened in October 2008. Also, the Paradise Inn was closed in 2010 and re-opened in 2013 after a complete overhaul of the structure and refurbishing of the interior.

The information on the Jackson Visitors Center and Paradise Inn is easily available on Wikipedia and other sources, so I don't know how this was overlooked, but the author and/or editor(s) should have caught this for a book that was just published.

Anyway, overall, the book is a good resource, but I hope the author updates the information to make it a better book.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hiking and Map Apps

I've added a new Web page for the hiking and map applications on desktop and laptop computers and on smartphones and tablets, along with some Websites with hiking, trail and trailhead information, some with maps.

The new Web page is available here. Please let me know if you know of, have or use applications you feel would be useful for hiking in Mt Rainier NP or has maps of Mt Rainier NP. I'm always open to research them and add them to the list.

Snow and Snowpack

I've updated the Web page for snow data and information and added a new Web page for snowpack data and information. The former is about the general nature of snow data  collected, produced and disseminated for Mt. Rainier NP, but which applies anywhere.

The new Web page on snowpack focuses on snow water equivalent, with the SWE acronym, which is the depth of the water equivalent in a snow column. This data is key for water resources managers for river basin or watershed management for reservoirs, water supply, irrigation, floods, etc. to know the potential amount of runoff from the snowpack.

The Natural Conservation Service, Water Climate Center is responsible for the operation of the network of SNOTEL sites thoughout the western US. They operate three sites in and nearby Mt. Rainier NP and another 3 around the NP (five of the six available on a map of the NP).

In addition I looked at the period of record (1981-2015) for the Paradise site, southeast of the Jackson Visitors Center, for the variation of seasonal snowpack along with the date of the onset of permanent seasonal snow, peak of snowpack, onset and end of the snowmelt.

While a lot has been, and is being, made of the drought year (2015), nine of the last 10 years have been above 95% of the normal snowpack, seven of those years above normal, from 111% to 144%. This year (2015) is the anamoly from the recent trend.

In comparison, only eight of the previous twenty-three years were above normal, with the two record years occurring within a three year period and the intervening year almost normal. In short, low and extreme low snowpack years are the rarity in the last twenty-five years.

The results showed the obvious, that the variation of snow and snowpack is related to the general winter seasonal weather for any given year, meaning the patterns of rain and more so snow storms, and temperature from early fall to last spring into early summer.

The snowmelt season is related to the late spring (late May through June) weather and the early summer (late June into early July). Generally the snowmelt seasons runs from mid-May to mid-July, which in turn defines the wildflower season in the lower to upper elevations in the NP.

Anyway, the pages are up and I'm working on some new Web pages for the photo guide.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


I have updated the Web pages for the weather in Mt. Rainier NP, all of which are links on the table of contents for the photo guide, see second section in list of contents. This includes several revisions to make the information current to this year.

In addition I've added two NRCS SNOTEL snow course sites to the map Web page, the Corral Pass since northeast of the northeast (White River) area of the NP, and the Skate Creek site south of the southwest (Nisqually) area.

The Skate Creek site is a popular road connecting Ashford (highway 706) to Packwood (highway 12) with lots of trails overlooking Mt. Rainier, including the High Rock lookout. The Corral pass is near the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.

I'll be doing a more thorough walk through and review of the Web pages and working on updating the snowpack data through the 2015 water year. I hope to have add this to the Web pages. Please let me know if you have problems or suggestions with the Web pages.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Current Reports

I've clearly been remiss with the bimonthy (two months) reports on the current conditions and prospects in Mt. Rainier NP, like for the last two years or so. I had the May-June reports ready but not until recently, so I posted the July-August reports are in progress but maybe will be the September-October reports to restart the trend again.

There are excuses and reasons for this absence but really just not wanting to spend the time with the medical and financial issues I've faced the last two years. Anyway, I did add the pages for July-August to let folks know it's a work in progress.

What I have done is to turn my attention to other projects, as seen with the recent work on the USGS maps of Mt. Rainier NP, along with looking at projects for the 100 peaks, trailheads, snowpack, wildflowers (season in peak and will be for this month), etc.

This work changes my thinking from the immediate to the bigger picture of the NP, and removes a lot of personal pressure, and much guilt, I've been putting on myself for not getting the reports out. This helps releases the stress and helps refocus what I've love, the NP.

This is in part because the medical (back, infections, etc.) and financial (it's $50 in gas round trip for my VW van) issues have not allowed me to get to the NP in a few years, hence the guilt. I can see Mt. Rainier from my home office, but just haven't gone.

Anyway, the point is I'm getting back to the work, albeit in increments, but enough to feel a lot better about the progress and the future. There's lots to do (see plans at end of table of contents), and I'm making progress again.


I have completely reworked the Web pages for maps on Mt. Rainier NP, starting with the introduction and adding both the latest generation of the USGS 7 1/2 minute (1:24,000) topographic maps along with their entire collection of historical maps.

I have removed the Web page for the DRG maps which are 2 versions old and rarely used anymore and created the Web page of historical maps which the USGS put on-line in 2014 along with the latest generation of topographic maps.

The last two versions (2011 and 2014) of the topographic maps were produced in multi-layer PDF files, which requires a PDF applications with the capability and tools to work with multiple layers, currently only available for laptop and desktop computers.

This means these files won't display correctly with any PDF application for smart phones or tablets as the PDF application are limited to single layer files. For mobile devices you limited to the last version of single layer PDF files, meaning any released before 2011.

Please let me know if you have problems with the Web pages or downloading maps, or have suggestions to improve the Web pages.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


I've done considerable research into finding publications on Mount Rainier and Mount Rainier National Park, with an on-line bibilography, which includes many historical books, pamphlets, maps, brochures, articles, etc., almost all of which are in my library having found and purchased original edition versions, or copies articles from journals at local or university libraries.

Most of my research started before there were on-line used bookstores or used book service (Abebooks, Alibris, etc.) - now my main source - or on-line library catalogs, either through world catalog services or the university's own on-line catalog.

What I've learned is a lot about researching and identifying good buys, or at least sources which offer original edition versions for a reasonable or market value. What I've also learned is where not to buy from on-line sources, which is my point here, again.

DO NOT BUY "Print on Demand" books.

I say this because almost all of them are public domain publications, easily available for free with a little research, namely looking up the publisher, usually a government agency, a research or affiliate organization, or similar sources.

This is where Google, or your favorite seach engine, comes in handy where you can search for the source, and through their Website look for "publications", and likely find the same reports, articles, etc. to download for free.

In many of the cases of print on demand, the people at the source have done their research, downloaded and compiled the material into a single document, if it isn't already a single document, and the put it on the Web, usually for inflated prices.

In some case, such as historical documents which are available on-line, they're scanned them and the produced them into a single document. I've done this for many government documents for my own research to put on my iPad instead of carrying around lots of historical documents.

The only historical documents I've found that can't be found on-line are few, such a organization newsletters or publications not worth scanning for on-line access, but are available from their library, sadly always in person.

I've found this with the Mountaineers and their publications. I have a list of articles I want to make copies but are only available from copying the original volumes in the library in Seattle, which has limited days and hours for public (always with a person present).

It's on my to go list for Seattle some day to stop by and make copies along with their bookstore (am a member too). Outside of that there isn't anything I can't find through various resouces to purchase a real, original edition or find a free resource to download.

And yes, if you have some publications I don't have or have some you want to find, I'm always interested in finding new material or helping people find material.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sun & Moon

I've updated the monthly Sun and Moon rise and set for 2015 (yeah, a wee bit late), which you can find here with additional information about sources of on-line data for the sunrise/set and moon rise/set times.

In addition there are some good iPhone and iPad apps (don't know Android or other smart phones or tablets) which I use regularly. There's Sun Seeker and Moon Seeker which are companions apps to display sun and moon information separately.

LightTrac is a good one for showing direction of the sun and moon at locations, either where you're at or other places stored in the list of places along with some information. A good app for the moon I found recently is Moon Calendar. 

And lastly there is the complete suite of tools and function with The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) which to me has become a lot in a small package, too much for the smaller iPhones (mine's a 5s), but works better with an iPad (mine's and iPad Air but a iPad mini would work).

There's the Web version of TPE which I stopped using. I found it too much and cumbersome for a Web application over the iPad version, and still am slightly upset he dropped the stand-alone Adobe Air version when he didn't have to by embedding a sunset date into the app. Cheap shot.

Another app is Helios which is also good with lots of tools and functions, but is made for the iPhone, not any of the iPads. That's what I keep on my iPhone and iPad. There are lots of them in the iTunes app store.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Personal Update

I wrote earlier this year I'm back, sorta' and kinda', and it's still true. I've been going through a series of medical test to determine what's wrong with my digestive system which, as of now, is an unindentifable bacteria infection or overgrowth.

This means all the tests to date for known (common) bacteria infections and overgrowths are negative, but the symptoms still clearly point (by the gastroenterologist own diagnosis) to likely an overgrowth.

But until they can establish the specific type of bacteria or its source, they won't prescribe any treatment, let alone any antibiotic, so I'm still undergoing tests for anything obviously physical or anything obvious in the digestive tract. And yes, it's those tests.

Anyway, it's fair to say it's frustrating and exasperating going through the tests and not beginning any treatment for something obvious, even a best guess would work for me, but that's the reality of specialists, and at least this one agrees there's a problem (the first one didn't and dismissed it and me).

I have a lot of drafts waiting to translate to computer files, and I'll get to those this month along with other updates.

Camp Muir

The Camp Muir Webcam is up for the season, see here or the NPS Web page. For your information, Mt. Adams is on the left and Mount St. Helens if (faintly) on the right of the image. The curvature is due to the lens with the camera in the ranger's hut at Camp Muir.

I'll put the two Web cams for Sunrise on-line when the NPS announces the cameras are operational for the season, which they announce on their Twitter account and the webcam Web page.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Maps and Guides

I've been somewhat busy with life, health and financial matters this spring, and really for the last 18 months (don't get me started on gastroenterologists cluelessness on diagnosing problems), but have been tinkering on some of the related work to the photo guide, and here's some reviews or ideas.

First, the USGS has put all their historical maps on-line in PDF files. This includes all scales and all maps from this year to the 1920's. You can get a description of the maps along with search for maps on the server.

So far I've downloaded all of the maps which encompasses Mt. Rainier NP, as as you know you can get the most recent published map from this Website or the USGS, you can download the on-going updates from the USGS server above.

It appears the USGS is updating the series for Mt. Rainier NP, and likely the surrounding area as the server has the 2000-2014 orthophoto quad and draft maps available. They're hard to decipher and read since their production copies, but shows newer published maps will be forthcoming.

On another note, if you have an iPad or iPhone (I don't have an Android or other phones so I don't know about apps for them), you can get an app hiking Mt. Rainier NP, which is pretty good for the information, albeit with some errors.

Mostly where it's good are the trail maps and descriptions, which are fairly inclusive of the immediate areas of the areas most visitors access and visit. It lacks in the backcountry areas, as seen from the display of the areas covered in the app.

One place I found fault was the weather data. Several of the sites don't link to the right or actual Website for the information but other sites on map. I'm not sure the reason, but you can get the right site and data for Mt Rainier NP on my Website.

I also found an app which can use USGS topographic maps to chart your hike. The app is iHike GPS which seems decent, albeit the iPhone screen is too small to be useful for me. They do make an iPad version and it would be better since iPad Mini or Air batteries last longer and don't add much weight to a backpack.

Anyway. that's the stuff for now. I'll continue to tinker while gettting better and add the real, long overdue, stuff soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Snow

This is the view looking east from the Jackson Visitors Center at Paradise. On your left is the Mountain Guide Center and beyond it and the road in the far left of the parking lot is the Paradise Lodge which opens he last week of May before the Memorial Day Holiday for the season through September.

This is before and after the snowplow work is done after snowstorms, this one this week. The driver drove up from Longmire to the Administration area to get the snowplow to clear the road to the parking lot and the parking lot, and then the road down the hill to meet the snowplows working up from Longmire to about the Nisqually River Bridge.

So give thanks to the NPS folks when you visit those days they had to get up early in the cold winter and spring weather to clear the road for you to get there from Longmire and the gate which is used to control traffic to Paradise. All the work of great federal government employees.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I'm back. Well, sorta' back. I've been gone from here for health issues and problems stemming from a pinched Sciatic nerve in July 2012 and digestive problems since March 2008, the latter taking 4 yeart to resolve only to have new problems since December 2013.

In short, I'm almost back to health, only my fitness has been the work in progress as I've gone from 185+ pounds to ~150 lbs since January 2013 with a little more weight to lose to get to my fitness goal, all the weight loss from walking nearly 3,300 miles to date (really).

Anyway, I plan resume work on the photo guide as I hope to resume hiking and photographing in Mt. Rainier NP later this spring after a few years of not getting there for a variety of reasons, not least of which was $50 in gas round trip for each trip.

That said, I've updated the webcams for the ones which are down and the broken link to the Camp Muir image (they went to a different server and image file name than the NPS one when it's up for the season).

I noticed OS-X 10.10.2 with the recent security update (March 10, 2015) and Javascript 8 update 40 can be slightly buggy for some reasons, where the pop up window and the image takes a few seconds to display.

Not sure which is the problem or the combination of the two, but then we know Apple and Oracle aren't exactly best friends. I don't test with Apple's javascript since I have Oracle's OS-X version installed as the default, which I recommend because they're a lot faster with updates to fix bugs or security problems.

Anyway, there will be more over the coming months as I get back to health and working again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Weather Apps

Update.--The weather app Intellicast will be discontinued in the near future. The company is merging their app into the weather app Storm. This app has a lot of the same features and tools, just different in presentation, so it's a good one to replace Intellicast.

Original Post.--There are a lot of weather applications for iPhones and iPads (which I own one of each) and I often buy them to see what they offer and have with the applications, especially the number of sites around where I live and the state of Washington and around the world.

While I have probably about half a dozen or so, I only keep 3-4 on my iPhone and iPad in addition to the Yahoo one that comes with the iPhone/iPad which is really a waste and ignore. The other three are the Yahoo expanded app, the Weather Live app and the Intellicast HD app. The extra one for my iPad is MyRadar.

So what my thoughts on them? For one the Yahoo expanded app is ok and worth keeping for the immediate weather where you live or want to travel. It's easy to use and has a wide range of local, national and global sites.

The MyRadar app is good for what it offers, which is the high resolution last 90 minute radar image for the home or where you're at. As a note about weather apps, I turn off the location access for this and the other weather apps so it always defaults to my home and I add other sites I commonly travel.

Weather Live is a good app for the simplicity and presentation, although the data isn't as extensive as other apps. What I used to like about is that it had some of the lesser known weather sites, such as Ashford, Washington, which is a few mile west of the Nisqually (Longmire) to Mt. Rainier NP.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has an official weather station at Ashford, which would be good for travellers see the actual weather up to the hour for this area, but this site is often not working or data not available.

With that in mind, Weather Live gets their data from the Weather Underground and their Ashford weather site is not the NWS but one north of Ashford, meaning it doesn't offer actual data through the app but just forecasts. Historical and current data is available from their Website.

What interested me about this app is that it offered the Paradise Inn Weather site, which I thought was the NPS-NWS weather site, but it's not that site but Crystal Mountain Resort, which is the commercial ski resort just northeast of the northeast (White River) entrance.

You can get the actual data for Paradise Inn if you're going there, along with Longmire inside the southwest enterance which is kept open everyday except for unusual weather conditions, eg. snow, floods, etc. Otherwise, remember the Weather Live Paradise Inn isn't what they advertise.

The best weather app I've found and use is Intellicast HD, especially on the iPad. It has tons of information and forecasts. While some of the details, like timing of rain, is often off at times, it's been a good app to plan walking trips around the area.

This apps has excellent maps with all sorts of overlays, with past recent data or forecast data, along with hourly and 10-day forecasts. This app also uses Weather Underground for data, which is one of the three major sources of weather data.

Anyway, that's what I've found so far. And while I like the Weather Live for it's simplicity and thought it was very useful for visitors to Mt. Rainier NP, I have second thoughts the weather sites they use, the Ashford site isn't an official one and the Paradise Inn is actually Crystal Mountain Resort.

And for that I wouldn't recommend it for visitors, and maybe skiers to the resort. I would use the NWS Website and bookmark the individual weather sites in and around Mt.Rainier NP.