Due to the advanced season the great majority of Mount Rainier's wonderful flowers are past their prime or have entirely disappeared. A few species however are still at their best. Of these, the red and yellow mimulus or monkey flowers, the blue gentian, the Squaw grass (at timber line) the michaelmas daisy the grass of parnassus, the Tolmie saxafrage, fire weed and the orange paintbrush are very common.
The most conspicuous of these in the high valleys are the two mimuli. Every stream and marshy place is a flame of color. The red or Lewis monkey flower growing on the banks bordering the water and the yellow Alpine mimulus growing close to the water on the rocks and moss of the stream bed itself. Paradise River from Narada Falls to Sluiskin Falls equals the finest Japanese garden in the world with its rushing water and flower covered rocks. Frequently the interesting little water ouzel or Dipper adds life and music to the scene with his quaint ways and wren-like song.
The insignia of office of the Park Superintendent is a chevron which is worn on the right sleeve, with oak leaves and two very realistic acorns worked in the pattern. Recently the office pet, a Douglas squirrel, in his daily search for free lunch ran up Superintendent O. A. Tomlinson's sleeve (on the outside) and discovered these acorns. Although the Northwestern squirrels have little opportunity to become acquainted with acorns, Betty was not long in recognizing these as some variety of nut and ever since she has been wondering why she was not allowed to sample them. Mrs Tomlinson tells us on the side however that she is not entirely satisfied with Mr. Tomlinson's explanation of the squirrel's motives.
The Columbia mantled ground squirrel of the higher valleys very frequently also shows signs of real intelligence. One of these at Paradise Inn last week put over a very clever piece of thievry. A certain guest had worn an evening gown of silk, decorated with a score or more of small black buttons, which she left lying across a chair in her room when she retired. Working swiftly and silently a squirrel entered through the open window and deftly removed every button from the dress. Apparently he cut the thread with his teeth but so carefully did he work that not in a single instance did he cut the fabric of the dress.
Recently the Naturalist had occasion to check up on the number of people reached by the Free Nature Guide Service at Paradise Valley. Figures may not be interesting but they show the popularity of this service. During the past week some 3600 people have visited the tiny building at Paradise in search of information or to see the various exhibits there. 2700 people have listened to lectures on the Natural Features of the Park and 378 have gone with the Nature Guides on field trips. This little sheet, Nature News Notes, reaches four hundred people each week besides the readers of several newspapers that publish it. Similar service is offered the public at Longmire Springs.
If you are particularly interested in this little weekly sheet we will be glad to place your name on our mailing list to receive it regularly.
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