Nature Notes

Vol. IV September 1, 1926 No. 10

By: John M. Davis.

On a brilliant moonlit night, just after a rain had cleared the atmosphere perfectly, a party of six left Longmire Springs for Eagle Peak, (5,955 feet above sea level), the last crest on the western end of the Tatoosh Range. After passing through a dense forest, occasionally penetrated by the light of the moon, making ghost like forms on trees and their limbs, we arrived in the high country and obtained our first view of the surrounding region. As was said before the air was perfectly clear and the moon full and brilliant, giving us exceptional visibility over the lower country. A low mist, hardly discernable, was hanging in the valleys, and through this, towering head and shoulders above the surrounding country, three mighty mountains reflected the silver light of the moon from their coats of crystal ice and snow. On our left to the west 50 miles away could be seen Mount Adams, on our right a similar distance away was Mount St. Helens, and between the two, 110 miles in the distance could be faintly seen Mount Hood in Oregon.

We arrived at the saddle between Eagle and Chutla Peak about 1:30 A.M., made coffee, ate a few sandwiches and continued our journey to the top of the peak. A slip of the foot on this trail would mean a fall of a thousand feet and certain death, but the trip was made with little difficulty as the night was almost as light as day.

A strata of warm air, which had been forced up from below by the colder atmosphere settling in the lower valleys, engulfed the area of the crest and allowing us to go without our coats in comfort. This condition existed because there was not the least trace of a breeze to disturb it.

During the night the Northern Lights flashed several times but did not give the expected brilliancy of color, merely making a streaked white light in the heavens. Shooting stars also formed a part of our entertainment. The rest of the night was spent watching the shifting shadows over the country below and waiting to experience our most wonderful sight - the sunrise.

About 4:00 A.M. the first trace of the rising sun was noticed on the horizon. A dark brown which gradually grew to a lighter brown, served notice that the sun was on it way. This color changed into every possible shade of red and yellow, casting a deep purple color over the lower hills which shifted through many shades of blue and green. The sun's rays first hit the high peaks reflecting a delicate pink from their snow-clad tops. This constant change of colors into many different hues lasted until the sun was well up, and day had arrives.

Members of our party then made their way back to to their various duties of the day, with drooping eyelids, but with beautiful pictures of the night before running through our drowsy minds.

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