This month's cover sketch of the Douglas Fir is the first of a series which will illustrate the cones and foliage of common Park trees.
There is still a great deal that is not known, that will never be known about the formation of this earth of ours, but the forces that gave us the immediate surface upon which we live, the farm land and the scenic features are still active and their processes can be understood.
Nowhere are these active earth building forces and the results of their labor more readily studied or easily understood than about Mount Rainier.
Both the building up and the tearing-down action of these tools of nature are readily observed. Both may be seen as they incessantly grind away at the mill. Although the process is slow the results are strikingly apparent.
Strange as it may seem construction takes place only as the result of destruction, so both agencies are inseparably bound together in nature. The result is a continuous movement; an endless circle of building up and tearing down. There are no eternal hills, or eternal material things of any sort in nature. Volcanic eruptions build up mountains; glaciers tear them down; glaciers build up fertile valleys with the finely ground sediment they have hewn from the hills; their streams tear them down again and deposit the material in the sea; deltas are formed and the earth is larger and the mountain is lower. The process is endless.
Mount Rainier retains many of the characteristics of an active building volcano. The course taken by the molten lava can still be followed. The great flows can still be seen layer upon layer. A huge mountain was formed to grace the landscape. Then, even before it cooled, tremendous moving glaciers were created out of invisible moisture in the air and they began immediately to carry the mountain away. They are still at it. Even the short life of man sees great changes wrought by the ice tools.
A cup full of glacial water leaves a quarter inch of sediment in the bottom. Boulders are continually tumbling down the swiftly moving stream. A fleet of 20,000 five-ton trucks, a string of trucks 80 miles long, working for twenty-four hours could not haul as much material away from Rainier as do her glaciers on any warm day in Summer.
Lower down where the descent is less rapid and the movement of the streams consequently less violent this material is deposited and broad valleys slowly form, which in turn will be cut away by the erosive forces of nature.
And the interesting thing about it all is that a person standing upon any of Rainier's vantage points can see and study the whole tremendous process as it is constantly being enacted before their eyes. It is all so close before them and so rapid in its action. A well planned and carefully constructed working model could hardly tell the story better.
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