Thursday, May 31, 2012
SWA wants Intl flights from HOU in 3yrs. So UA says that allowing them will "force" 1300 layoffs and major service cuts in the next few months. Clearly the AA "Wright Amendment Fear Book" has been sold in the bankruptcy and recycled. Sigh
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Stopped at the Fifes Peak viewpoint for a few minutes to see the long extinct volcano ridge
Fifes Peaks shrouded by the the treeline around the viewpoint
Closeup of the center peaks
Jagged jagged volcanic rock peak
This marker chronicles the geological history of the nearby Fifes Peaks.
Reads: "Fifes Peaks volcano is composed of andesite lava flows, volcanic ash and breccia, which is composed of rock fragments. The peaks are remnants of a large low profile caldera that exploded 25 million years ago.
The base of the spire marks the margin of the filled caldera.
Fifes Peaks was a part of a north-south volcanic chain extending through Washington and Oregon into Northern California. This chain was called the Cascade Arc."
The second section notes how the volcanic activity impacted the local area.
Continues: "Fossilized wood, resulting from the replacement of wood by silica, can be found at the base of some flows or within the interbeds. Silicified nuts and fish are also associated with these interbeds."
Another look of the spires just east of the taller peaks
Kind of a wonder the wind, rain, and snow have not eroded these down further over the last several million years
This marker speaks of the Peak's namesake.
Reads: "Fife's Peaks are named for Thomas X. Fife. The Fife brothers Tom, Joseph, Robert, and their father John, emigrants from Fifeshire Scotland, are credited with finding the first quarts gold mind during 1888. The mine is in the Gold Hill area near Chinook Pass.
Tom Fife would trek to his mine following 'X' blazes on trees (there were no roads) and remain in the hills until December each year, when supplies ran out and hunger got the best of him.
Tom homesteaded at Goose Prairie in the Bumping Lake area. Camp Fife, the Boy Scout Camp at Goose Prairie, is named for Tom Fife. Tom willed the land to the Boy Scouts. Never married, Tom was known for his kindness to and love of children"
The second section describes Fife's (attempted) military service.
Continues: When World War I arrived, Tom made an earnest effort to enlist. Being age 65, he was deied. According to Jack Nelson, caretaker of Bumping Dam, when Tom acquired a khaki coat and trousers his joy was boundless for he felt that he was wearing a US soldier's uniform."
Like everywhere else we stopped on this drive, there were a plethora of different trees scattered about
Closeup of a Engelmann Spruce Tree we found at the waypoint. I've always enjoyed how they smell, particularly after a rain or snow fall
Alicia likes the smell, too
Came across the historic Silver Creek Ranger Station just before entering the northern boundries of Mount Rainier National Park, where we stopped to get local conditions updates and to take in the scenery
Driving up to the historic Silver Creek Ranger Station
This marker documents the history of the Ranger Station.
1915-1930 "The original Silver Creek Ranger Station was established near this site following World War 1. During the early days, this building would have seemed like a remote outpost in a dense forest. The closest town of Enumclaw was located 35 miles away by a primitive dirt road. The Ranger's work activities in these days included: (1) Establishing a government (US Forest Service) presence in the area. (2) Scouting for and suppressing forest fires. Building fire "lookouts" on top of high ridges. (3) Survey and plot of "summer-home" cabin sites for recreational use on National Forest lands.
1930-1970 "The original Silver Creek Ranger Station burned to the ground in 1930. Today's log structure was built the following year. The building was used as an office, with additional buildings constructed in the back lot to serve as the beginnings of a work center. Forest Service work activities during this time period were: (1) Design and construction of a road network for timber harvest, fire patrol, and forest access. Plan and layout of timber sales. (2) Stringing of telephone line from Ranger Stations to Fire Lookouts and Guard Stations. (3) Establishment of a Forest recreation program including the planning and construction of campgrounds, hiking, & horse trails, and ski areas.
1970-present "The current building serves as a visitor contact point during the heavy-use summer season. This rustic log structure has been restored and preserved by the U.S. Forest Service as an example of its pioneering heritage. Forest Service work activities during this time period are: (1) Expansion of site into major work center complete with employee housing. (2) Serves as a prime visitor contact point along Highway 410 (Mather Memorial Parkway). (3) Staging ground for current Forest Service activities, including: recreation projects, watershed restoration, native plant studies, trail maintenance, and wildfire control.
Closeup of the moss covered wood shingles of the historic building and the trees beyond
The area around the Ranger Station was a relaxing combination Fir trees and moss covered ground that will need to be explored further on the next trip
Could have walked around here all day long and not get bored
The remains of what was probably a Douglas Fir, now being overgrown by many varieties of moss and lichens
Closeup of (what I think is) a type of lichen growing off the stump, but I could not figure out what kind based on the google searches
Closeup of lichen growing on some of the brush, with some hanging moss that has found it's way to to the same branch
More moss on the forest floor
Closeup of (what I think is) Western Hemlock saplings
Another tree stump of what was probably a Douglas Fir that was behind the Ranger Station
Various mosses, lichen and pine needle debris on top of the tree stump
Closeup of the treestump. The exposed part wood was brittle enough to be pulled apart like chicken from a bone
Obligatory photo of the foot
Taking the long way to the Paradise Visitor Center of Mount Rainier National Park, we looped around the North side of the Park on the Chinook Scenic Byway / Mather Memorial Parkway / SR-410 as it followed the White River, went up into and through the Chinook Pass, and down into the Naches Valley.
Looking south from the highway towards a very green north face of (what I think) is Rooster Comb Mountain
Closeup of the snow dusted peak
Looking back from a little farther down the road
Large cedar tree stump off the side of the road beyond some small Douglas Fir trees
Closeup of (what I think is) a few Douglas Fir saplings in the brush
Looking southwast towards the foothills from the highway shoulder
Back towards (what I still think) is Rooster Comb Mountain
Throwaway shot of the sun and clouds (and me in the bottom corner) reflecting off the rental car's mirror
Looking out the windshield a little farther down the road as it starts cutting through Federation Forest State Park and a canopy of Douglas Fir trees
The forest is thick through here and will be explored on the next trip
The snowmelt and glacier fed White River largely parallels this section of the road
The water was only a couple of feet deep on this day but was rushing by fast over the river rocks. The rocks on the bottom left looked like they were placed to protect the roadbed from erosion
Snowmelt water was very clear
Looking back upstream
The otherside of the road was walled by Maple trees
Closeup of the Maple leaves in the sun
Beyond the Maples, the forest was just as thick as before. Moss covered the rocks and on the sides of several other random trees
Closeup of the moss covered rocks
A little farther down the road, was a Mount Rainier Viewpoint and various markers for the Mather Memorial Parkway. This one speaks about Stephen T. Mather, the first Directer of the National Park Service from 1916-1928.
"Preserving the national beauty of the major northern entrance to Mount Ranier National Park". Continues "During his 14 Years in office, Mather labored to realize this vision. In 1931, one year after his death, Congress designated 60 miles of land along Highway 410 as the Mather Memorial Parkway - a tribute to Mather's dedication and vision."
The second section speaks about how this road largely follows a well traveled Indian path.
Reads "Before Mather's time, American Indians traveled this very route, following the White River and climbing over Chinnok and Cayuse passes to reach what we now call Eastern Washington. As you follow this path, notice the many differences in plans, rock formations, and weather along the way."
This second marker spoke of the history of Mount Rainier.
Reads "On clear days, the snow capped dome of Mount Rainier is a sight to behold. A sleeping volcano is one of the most prominent peaks in the Cascade Mountain Range. It's dome grew from successive eruptions of lava and ash, starting about one million years ago. In more recent times, Rainier's craggy peak was rounded off by the erosive force of huge glaciers. Twenty-five major glaciers still rest on the mountain's soldiers, comprising the largest single-peak glacier system in the contiguous United States".
Like the first marker, the second section ties story back to when Indians inhabited the area.
Reads "American Indians hold this mountain in high regard. Several tripes on the mountain's east side named it Tahoma, or "large white peak." On the west side, some tripes called it RTa-co-bet or "nourishing breast." after Mount Rainier's life-giving rivers and streams."
We kept crossing paths with another tourist also taking in the sights. He was also in the 'biz', wearing a shirt from a SANS Infosec Conference.
The third marker described how the forest has evolved over the last 1,000 miles.
Reads "Douglas-Fir, Pacific Silver Fir, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar are the pillars of the Mather corridor. Some of these trees are over 1,000 years old. Most trees near this site are much younger, having grown from the ashes of forest fires raging 200 to 300 years ago. Fires have been shaping the forest for centuries, removing dead wood, eradicating harmful insects and disease, and creating niches for new trees and shrubs to grow."
The marker goes on to describe a fire in 1701 which burned through about 20% of western Washington State.
Continues "A massive fire swept through this area in about the year 1701. How do we know? Samples of wood from the interiors of both live and dead trees show signs of scarring from fire. By counting the annual rings in the wood, scientists can estimate when the scarring took place"
The trees through here do look smaller and younger than what was seen on parts of the road in. Not sure why somebody clear-cutted a path into this section
And weirdly, it looked like there were also clear cutting scars through the younger trees along the hill adjacent to the viewpoint as well.
Nope, we're not in Texas anymore
This fourth marker chronicles the Electron and Osceola Mudflows which were caused by Mount Rainier eruptions and their impact to the area.
Reads "Along with lava and ash, the volcanically active Mount Rainier has contributed thick flows of mud from its sides and summit. One of the largest mudflows occurred about 5,800 years ago sending thick rivers of mud down the White River drainage. These flows carried rock and huge boulders some 35 feet tall and several hundred feet around, from the mountain's slopes to the surrounding lowlands."
The second section continues about the Osceola Mudlfow specifically "The largest of the mountain's histroic flows, the Osceola mudflow covered an area of about 100 square miles. IT burried the present town stie of Enumclaw (24 miles west of here) under as much of 70 feet of debris. Seismic activity triggered the mudflow, resulting in the collapse of nearly 2,000 feet of Mt. Rainier's summit." This sounds eriely similar to the resent history of Mt. St Helens.
This fifth marker speaks of the river's namesake color and neighboring scenic waterfall.
Reads "Particles the size and color of plaster dust give the White River its distinctive pale hue. These particles are what geologists call "Glacial Flour" -- a fitting name for the pulverized rock from the Emmons Glacier's slow-moving mill wheel. Meltwater from the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier, fills the White River for its first mile or two. The White River and its tributaries support five runs of anadromous fish, including Sockeye, Cobo, and Chinook salmon"
The Skookum Falls can be seen just west of the viewpoint. The marker says "The breathtaking view of Skookum Falls (to the upper right of this panel) has enthralled visitors for many hundreds of years. The word Skookum means "strong" in the Chinook jargon of the early European traders."
Yep, I'm taking your picture
Looking at the 250+/- feet tall Skookum Falls in the distance
Candid shot of Alicia looking up at the Falls
Closeup of the Falls coming over the ridgeline
Water from the Falls eventually finds it's way into the White River below
Looking down the White River as it flows away to the Southeast
Water is a bit calmer than it was in the last photoset 10+/- miles upstream
Closeup of the both of us with the Skookum Falls and White River in the background
Farther down the road, looking up at the tree covered rock formations
I liked how the sun lit up the maple tree in the center of this photo, along with the moss covering the exposed granite
Closeup of the granite, a rockcut from when they brought the road through
The moss itself, growing on the south side of the rocks (no matter what the old saying says)
Ended up here in Naches for a late lunch overlooking the river of the same name. Food was pretty good.
The Whistlin' Jack Restaurant sign had a distinct 60's feel to it, and despite the good food, the restaurant building felt a bit dated too. Wonder if the adjancent hotel/cabins were also stuck in the past or if they were just trying to hang on to an old nostalgia feeling with an updated reality. Can't beat the location though.