Friday, November 10, 2006

A mountain of maintenance

I've been wondering about the upper mountain. It must be snowing up there today, because the temperatures are much cooler here in Longmire. The Camp Muir and Paradise weather stations are both offline... Perhaps they are casualties of the intermittent disruption of power, phone and internet. I do know this: there was 7 inches of snow on the ground at Paradise yesterday, and I can see a snowline at 3,500 feet today.

I am also wondering about all that rain on the glacier. I have a feeling that at some elevations, the rain turned the glacier into hard/bulletproof ice when the temperature dropped. Here is the Nisqually Glacier from the air, taken on Wednesday.

It has been raining steadily today, but the river flow and currents have remained normal. Access to the backcountry and mountain is dependent upon repairing the park's infrastructure. A lot of cranes, dozers, and dump trucks will be needed to re-sculpt the land for roads and sewer systems. Like today, I saw a large crane moving rock in the Nisqually River in order to help protect a historic cabin, road and treatment plant. But it's not everyday you see this sort of thing in a national park.

There was another spate of articles online at MSNBC and in the local papers about the park closure and flood damage. The big pieces were in the News Tribune, Seattle Times and the
Yakima Herald. In the meantime, let there be colder temps and stable weather.