Nature Notes

Vol. XI October - 1933 No. 8

Just Here and There

In spite of the sharp decrease in park travel this season the public interest in the various phases of the naturalist or educational program - hikes, lectures, museum, nature trails etc - has, as evidenced by increased "service figures", shown a continued upward development. During the year ending September 30th, 1932 a total of 116,014 contacts were made via lectures, museums and field trips. For the twelve month period ending Sept. 30, 1933 and estimate of 139,834 contacts were made in the same manner - a substantial increase.

Fungi - so numerous in past seasons - were, in most cases, conspicuous by their absence this year. Ordinarily several species of the genus Russula are quite in evidence along the trails of the lower forests. This past season however only a comparative few were noted and other species showed a like decrease in number.

Hikers who delight in striking out along the trails to the more little known areas within the park will have a great many compliments to pay the members of the C.C.C. These men, among many other things, have constructed numerous shelter cabins in such places as Indian Henry's, Van Trump Park, Nickle Creek, Klapatche Park, Owyhigh Lakes, Kotsuck Creek, Olallie Creek, Summerland and many other places which have always attracted hikes in the past.

bear cubs in a tree

No doubt you have already noted the sketch of the two bear cubs on the right of this page. The original drawing was contributed by Hjalmar Logreid of Broadway High School, Seattle, Washington.

Now that the cones of the Lovely and Noble Fir are ripe the Douglas Squirrel is in the midst of his busy season. The trails and roads in the areas where these trees grow are littered with the cones that have been stripped from these trees -- and woe be to him who ponders to long beneath the point where a group of these squirrels are working. The cones weight considerable and they fall from a considerable distance.

October, month of color in Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park, is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Few people realize this however in failing to see the splashes of crimson on the mountainsides - where the Vine Maple grows - and the dull browns and yellows - which are the fading leaves of the Cottonwood - that are sharply contrasted with the sombre green of conifers along the streams and rivers of the lower elevations they are missing one of the most spectacular sights that this section has to offer.

October, too, is a month of change in the animal world. At this time one may fine the Ptarmigan moulting its summer plumage of grey-brown and exchanging it for its winter finery of snow white. During this time they present a strange but interesting spotted appearance that in itself is fairly good camouflage against the background of rock and snow patches. Tennyson's "meloncholy days" offer one of the most interesting transitions in the plant and animal world here in Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park - rivalled only by the spring season. And so to those who seek interesting details of nature as well as wide vistas and abundant color this early fall period offers a great deal of interest.

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