Nature Notes

Vol. II July 16, 1924 No. 5


While travelling through Mount Rainier National Park over ridges and across valleys one notices the form of these great channels that have been cut to a U shape by the grinding action of the rivers of ice that at one time passed through them. Through centuries of cutting and grinding by means of rock imbedded in the ice the glaciers have cut for thousands of feet through lava flows and the harder basic rock close upon the receding galciers one notices the steady aggression of the flowers and forests marching in the path of the ice.

Contrast with these great valleys the newer canyons cut by the many streams in their mad rush from the high snowfields to the lower valleys and their V shape is apparent. The more fluid water has cut just as deeply but not so wide.

Above the present living glaciers even on the high ridges such as Panarama point abundant evidence is found of the fact that at one time these glaciers were much more extensive and covered the entire mountain.

They have left grooves and scratches in the rock which show distinctly even after many thousands of years and mark the direction of flow. Later as the ice receded the glaciers cut out channels for themselves avoiding harder rocks such as Gibraltar and Tahoma. When the ice comes together again below these glacial islands there is usually a medial moraine of floating debris taken from the sides of the island.


It is well to bear in mind that though certain individual bear and elk have become sufficiently accustomed to human beings as to be quite fearless and willing to take food from ones hand without much coaxing they are still wild animals. They have never had hands laid on them and misunderstood any such moves.

A buck elk at Longmire has on several occasions struck persons down who attempted to pet him and bear at Paradise Valley are equally dangerous when approached too closely. You will enjoy seeing these animals but remember - "distance lends enchantment."

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