Nature Notes

Vol. X March, 1932 No. 3

Old Man Winter Old Man Winter

It appears as if the "hot stove league" of the future will be well supplied with yarns if one would judge from the amount of snow on the ground throughout the park and the appearance of buildings and other familiar landmarks. Years hence when most of us who are experiencing the winter season will be spending our time stroking our whiskers and puffing at a corn cob pipe we will probably spend considerable time relating tales of the winter back in '32.

Longmire presents an appearance quite different from its usual winter costume. Considerable snow always falls here but this year it is heaped up about the houses until, in some cases, it is necessary to stand upon tip toe to see out of the windows. The road, above and below Longmire, is striking in its ermine beauty and on clear days "The Mountain" is dazzeling in crystal beauty. Hardly a spot of rock shows. All is covered with snow until it appears like an alabaster model against the blue sky. At Paradise one finds the small cabins of the Rainier National Park Company almost totally obscurred from view -- a series of orderly bumps marking their presence in most cases. The hotels, the Community Building, the Ranger Station and other structures are buried to a remarkable degree. One can easily look into the dormer windows of the Community Building or Paradise Inn. At Sunrise where the snowfall is generally less than on the west side of Mount Rainier, one finds the "blockhouse" or government headquarters submerged in drift that almost reach the second story windows.

So contrast this with the appearance of the region but a few months hence. These same meadows now so heavily laden with deep snows will be characterized by remarkable flower fields -- floral color and brilliance that one would never believe possible were he to see this region only in the winter time. Truly this mountain offers many studies in contrast!

wintery scene

The following tabulations of total snowfall for the past few years recorded at Paradise Valley and Longmire will give you some idea of how "The Mountain" looks in winter.

1915-16268 inNo record
1916-17294 in"
1917-18142 in"
1918-19191 in"
1919-20204 in"
1920-21280 in627.4 in.
1921-22260 in598.0 in.
1922-23281 in711.0 in.
1923-24130 inIncomplete
1924-25156 in"
1925-26 88 in"
1926-27179 in438.7 in.
1927-28127 inIncomplete
1928-29171 in"
1929-30109 in510.4 in.
1930-31 82 in368.0 in.
1931-32##205 in600.0 in.

## This total figure is to present date.

In other words, the above tabulation shows that - at Longmire at least - Mount Rainier National Park has enjoyed the greatest snowfall since the winter of 1922-23 when 280 inches of snow fell at that point. There is a possibility of it exceeding that total before the winter is over for one must be aware of the fact that we have a month or more of possible heavy snows before us yet. This snow, of course packs down so never do we have that much snow on the level at one time. However, the greatest depth attained this winter at Longmire was six feet and four inches while at Paradise Valley an approximate maximum depth of seventeen feet and four inches was attained thus far. Do you wonder that we have snow well in July at Paradise Valley?

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