Friday, August 24, 2007

Another day in Paradise

From Greg Carstens, Paradise Meadow Rover:

It is always totally amazing what comes up, when I make my way on the trails at Paradise. On August 23rd I worked a grand total of 3 hours and meadow roved from Nisqually Vista to Myrtle Falls.

I always say to everyone I am partial to the Nisqually Vista trail because of my deep interest in meteorology and the fact that the Paradise Weather Station is also on this trail, but it always allows me to express my deep love of that science to many visitors in the park as well. Yesterday was no different. I met some nice ladies at the Vista Point from London and explained and taught them a little bit about glaciology without trying to be too technical. They were totally amazed about my knowledge of glaciers and climate. I told them also that I always try to make it down the Vista trail to check the glacier's current position and also the amount of snow on the ground when there is snow at the weather station.

A little after that I went back up the trail and looked at things in miniature. I noticed colorful butterflies and also the many tadpoles in the pond on the Vista Trail. I looked all around me and noticed that the flower season seemed to have peaked. I was a little dismayed that I had missed many lupines this year which will always be my favorite flower on The Mountain.

After making a stop at the Jackson Visitor Center I returned to the trail to Myrtle Falls. I hiked a bit further up and didn't see really any problems or great concerns in the Golden Gate Cirque below the Skyline Trail so I headed back to the falls and noticed a man leaving the bridge and by the time I got there noticed he was standing nearly at the top of the waterfall. I did not hesitate to get his attention and bring him back onto the bridge with me to tell him it was very dangerous to be standing where he was. I then told him how he could see more waterfalls in the park but also made him realize that there were many unfortunate mishaps in the past in the park when leaving the trail like he did just to get what some think might be a better perspective. All in all, I had no idea what the man was thinking and he seemed to have a adventurous spirit but I probably also saved the rangers probably from doing a recovery effort of some sort as well.

I returned toward the Jackson Visitor Center and made my way along the Waterfall trail and met a man with his daughter as I was headed back. This man told me that he had skied at Paradise before World War II. I am always totally fascinated to meet seniors who have been coming to Mount Rainier for many years because sometimes they are willing to share some of their own history that may not be written into any Park records. I find this kind of information so invaluable.

Once I had returned to the Jackson Visitor Center I saw it was still only 3:30 PM and figured oh what the heck, one more short walk up the Dead Horse Creek Trail. Oh was I sure glad I did this. I was not but probably 50 feet onto the Dead Horse Creek Trail when I noticed a couple of nice ladies sun bathing with a blanket spread out next to a rock and smashing down countless grasses and young huckleberry plants. They were a little surprised to see me, but I also smiled and said, "Ladies? I need to speak with a few moments. I need to let you know that off-trail meadow sun bathing does not help the plants grow in their short 3-month growing season up here." They quickly got up and moved and said they were sorry. I said "That's ok, that is what I am here for. To teach and let everyone know why it is so important to stay on the trails." I said, "There are also many small log benches along the trail as well if you want to sit and read and take in The Mountain as well," and told them "Have a great day and I appreciate your cooperation." After this I headed a little further up the trail and noticed a log out of place next to the creek. It was standing straight up like someone picked it up and stood it next to the culvert. I took this log and place it over an area next to the trail where a social trail had been well established. After this I headed back and my day was basically done after just three hours.

All in all I made about 25 contacts in just 3 hours and was a really big help to all the staff in the park. I always feel so rewarded for my efforts, and usually, like I did on this day, I stopped at National Park Inn for a bite to eat and thought while I was there how satisfied I felt after being able to help out in a big way in just a short time.

Just another day in Paradise.

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