Nature Notes

Vol. IX September, 1931 No. 9

On the trail, eagle in flight

One of the high spots of the past month was a six-day horseback trip with Dr. and Mrs. Castler of New York City. In that time the party almost completely encircled "The Mountain" on the Wonderland Trail.

On the trail

The pack string led the way from Paradise Valley while we tagged behind ready for any pictorial emergency. Beyond Reflection Lakes the trail plunges into the depths of Stevens Canyon, and here an interesting thing was noticed. The waters of Stevens Creek, normally clear, were murky with silt and debris from the glacier, and all points within range of the spray from Sylvia Falls were coated with layers of grey mud from the falling waters. Before putting in to Nickel Creek for the night a stop was made at the Box Canyon of the Cowlitz River where this unique feature of the Park was observed.

The second day brought magnificent vistas which only the Cowlitz Divide country affords. We Followed the backbone of this ridge throughout the day and our cameras worked overtime. Then, late in the afternoon, while the pack string was being settled for the night and camp was being made we pushed high into Cowlitz Park in the hope of getting photos of that most interesting mammal, the Mountain Goat. Tracks were everywhere but though we waited until the light began to fade nary a whiskered denizen of the high country did we see. Our camp site, Indian Bar, however, was in itself a reward. Here the Ohanapecosh River, which originated from the glacier of the same name, flows through a great glacial valley before plunging over Wauaukaupauken Falls. Great cliffs indicate the great power of the glacier in times past, and the whole region is of a wild, weird nature.

On the trail

The third day brought light showers and Panhandle Gap - that high, barren pass where glacial ice adds greatly to the hazards of the trail. But following this came Summerland. Here In this sub-alpine meadow are many small pools in which the beauty of "The Mountain" is reflected -- much to the delight of the photographer.

On the trail On the trail

Sunrise Park, that newly-opened region of far-flung vistas, was reached late that afternoon. The trail beckoned again the next morning and noon found us at Mystic Lake. But the afternoon exchanged sunshine for fog, which swept up from Carbon Glacier and enveloped us throughout the entire journey through Moraine Park to Ipsut Camp. The next day was also a partial disappointment. Sunshine until Ipsut Pass was reached, then thick, scudding fog, which obscured the beauties of Mowich Lake.

The next day brought its reward with good weather and we remained at the lake in order to take advantage of it. The last day also took us into the high country, through Spray Park and Seattle Park before dropping dropping down once more to Ipsut Camp through the densely forested slopes in the direction of Cataract Creek. A Humorous incident, which may not have been so humorous as far as the writer was concerned, happened on this day. While we were riding through the woods an owl dove from one of the trees straight at our party, and with talons outstretched, seemed to change his mind just when my hat appeared to be a ready victim. He checked his dive, zoomed to another tree and snapped his beak at us as we passed by.


(Note: Dr. Frank Caster, who is mentioned in this article, is one of the members of the National Park Advisory Board appointed by President Hoover.)

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