Nature Notes

Vol. XI June - 1933 No. 4

Just Here and There

A colony of beaver has established themselves near the Trail of the Shadows - which serves as our "nature trail" - at Longmire. The activities of these animals were observed about a year ago in this spot and since they have enlarged upon their original operations. Now one may see a large and extensive dam and a typical beaver house. The latter is particularly interesting in view of the fact that beaver, in this park, rarely build houses but instead build their homes in the banks of streams. This colony apparently found the abundant alders that grow nearby adequate for such a structure in view of the fact that the meadow here is generally flat and boggy and therefore not suited to the construction of their abode in the other fashion.

The first hummingbird - a Rufus - to appear within the boundaries of Mt. Rainier National Park was seen on May 24. These colorful and highly interesting birds generally arrive with the bloom of th Red-flowering Currant which they seem to prefer at this season. Later they will be much in evidence in the varied flower meadows of the Hudsonian Zone.

An interesting addition to our historical files is the recent acquisition of a photostat copy of the pages of Dr. Wm. Fraser Tolmie's diary which refer to his historic "botanizing expedition" to the peak which now bears his name in 1833. Tolmie Peak is located in the northwest section of the park near Mowich Lake. For this valuable record we are indebted to the daughters of Dr. Wm. Fraser Tolmie who reside in Victoria, B.C., and to the Provincial Library of British Columbia, Victoria.

hummingbirds Both the Rufus and the Caliope Hummingbirds may be found in Mt. Rainier National Park.

Another interesting historical record recently received are two photos of Fay Fuller Brieson. Mrs. Brieson - then Fay Fuller - when teaching school at Yelm, Washington in 1890 accompanied a party of five climbers to the summit of Mount Rainier on August 10 of that year. Thus she has the honor of being the first woman to stand upon the snowy dome of Columbia Crest, the highest point on Mount Rainier. Fay Peak, near Mowich Lake in the northwest section of the park, is named for her. We are greatly indebted to Mrs. Brieson for these photos and her interesting letter describing this trip. Anyone having climbed Mount Rainier will marvel at Mrs. Brieson's nerve and stamina. There was no cabin at Camp Muir - the party merely "rested" for the last part of the journey upon the rocks and pumice at that point; it was necessary to spend the night after reaching the actual summit in the steam caves of the crater; there were no boots or heavy shoes available for women at that time and she secured the strongest and heaviest boys shoes that would fit; her alpen stock was fashioned from a shovel handle by a Yelm blacksmith and her climbing costume -- well at best it was a far cry from modern apparel of this kind for women. The pictures shows her attired in voluminous skirts and bloomers, black gloves and atop her head is a usual woman's hat of the time. Mrs. Brieson, in her letter, states "How anyone could have scrambled over rocks thus attired is now inconceivable". And we certainly agree with her. We certainly appreciate Mrs. Brieson's courtesy and cooperation in sending us these valuable and very interesting photos.

Four weeks after finding Ptarmigan in their white plumage near the snout of the Nisqually Glacier - and photographing them for use in educational lectures - we again visited this point and made some good movies and stills of these birds as they were changing from the white plumage of winter to the mottled grey of summer. The pictures are very good and will be enjoyed by park audiences this summer.

If you visit the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago this summer be sure and visit the large model of Mount Rainier, with real ice as glaciers, in the U.S. Government Building and the National Park Service exhibit, depicting the various great lessons in natural science portrayed by the National Parks, in the Hall of Science.

As this is written one group of the Civilian Conservation Corps is busily engaged in forestry work, as outlined by the President, at and near Longmire. These men are showing an admirable spirit and an exceptional interest in the work they are doing. Four more camps will be established in the park as soon as the season permits. The staff of Mount Rainier National Park considers itself fortunate in having these men working within the area this summer and looks forward to accomplishments of considerable value.

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