Nature Notes

Mount Rainier National Park

Vol. IX January, 1931 No. 1

Issued monthly during the winter months, semi-monthly during the summer months, by the Mount Rainier National Park Nature Guide Service.
C. Frank Brockman,
Park Naturalist.
O. A. Tomlinson,


Perhaps you would like to know what the Christmas Season is like on "The Mountain". Quite naturally it is radically different from the same region in mid-summer. Winter has cloaked the rugged upper slopes with deep drifts. Only the windswept cliffs and rugged cleavers are free from snow and these stand out sharply in contrast to the ermine white about them. In the sub-alpine meadows, where last summer thousands marveled at the abundance and the brilliance of our colorful wildflowers, now lie several feet of snow. Yet several of these sub-alpine regions - in spite of the wintry appearance - are not deserted. Many winter sports enthusiasts make the six mile hike via skiis or snowshoes from Longmire to Paradise to revel in the snow there.

The deep weeds at the lower elevations have also succumbed to winter. The great firs and hemlocks and cedars are heavily laden with snow. At the base of these great forest columns also lie abundant snow but here and there one sees clumps of salal, Oregon grape or patches of moss - still as fresh and green as in summer - a promise of that favored season to come.

The visitor to the Park this Christmas Season first entered the huge log gate at the Nisqually entrance. The road is cleared of snow by the snowplows that ply back and forth along the highway between Longmire and the Nisqually entrance and so the car easily and rapidly travels along this road that cleaves the dense forests. Occasionally one catches a glimpse of "The Mountain" through the timber. A deer watches the car's approach - then suddenly wheels, springing along the road until finally with one great bound it clears the drifts to one side and disappears into the shadowy depths of the forest.

At Longmire, where the winter road ends, one gets a magnificent view of Rainier, the sparkling white of its snow slowly undergoing the colorful changes that come with the fading of the daylight hours. The fading sunlight gradually changes it from snow white first to rose and then to gold. Then it is that the valley, where our village of Longmire is located, is cloaked in the shadows of night -- until suddenly the living Christmas Tree, a Douglas Fir, which stands in front of the Government Administration Building, suddenly becomes alive with countless colored lights. At the tree's very crest gleams a large, electrically lighted star.

On Christmas Eve the dark skies were alive with a myriad of stars. "The Mountain", in contrast to the skies and dark forest clad lesser mountains, reflected this eerie light. But on Christmas Day we were treated to a good old fashioned snow storm in which even the most loyal and old fashioned New Englander would have reveled.

And so the Christmas Season, 1930, passed. Crisp sunny days with the snows of "The Mountain" reflecting these bright rays alternated with snow flurries that kept us in constant touch with the spirit of the season. Thus the old year passed and the new year entered on its rounds. And so, as the fading light of the old years' last day ebbs into the shadows of the night we, of "The Mountain" wish you all a Happy and a very prosperous 1931!


The following are a few interesting articles in recent magazine issues which the writer found worth while and which others interested in natural history may enjoy also.

"TAILS" - Charles E. Burt. Natural History Magazine (November-Dec.)
"SAURIANS OF THE SOUTHWEST". Charles Bogert. Nature Magazine (Dec.)
"THUNDERBOLTS OF SNOW" - Charles Fitzhugh Talman. Nature Magazine (Dec.)
"IN SPIDER LAND" - Hugh Spencer. American Forests & Forest Life. (Dec.)
"THE PIPER OF THE DUNES" - Alfred M. Bailey. Natural His. Magazine (Nov-Dec.)
"FORESTS AND AMERICA'S FUTURE" - Glenn Frank. Amer. Forests (Dec.)
"WHO CARES ABOUT DOCTORS" - J. G. Pratt. Nature Magazine (Nov.)
"FIR TREES" - Claude Johnson. American Forests and For. Life (Nov.)
"THE JUMP IN THE JUMPING BEANS" - George Hillman. Nature Mag. (Oct.)
"A NEW ALPHABET OF THE ANCIENTS" - F. A. Schaffer. Nat'l Geographic (Oct.)
"ELMS THE PURITANS LOVED" - Mary Robinson. American Forests. (Dec.)
"SCIENCE ART AND ADVENTURE BEHIND MUSEUM EXHIBITS" - James Clark Natural History Magazine (Sep.-Oct.)

There are many interesting and at the same time entertaining articles on natural history appearing in magazines of this kind as well as in others of more popular appeal. Get acquainted with your outdoors.

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