Sunday, June 15, 2008

The latest observations from the Trail of the Shadows

From Greg Carstens, SCA Natural Resources Planning Intern at Longmire:

It has been an interesting Spring since I started interning at Longmire with the NPS and SCA. I am forever grateful of all the learning I am getting a chance to do this summer.

Each day after my office time I take at least a small walk out onto the Trail Of The Shadows across the main park road from the National Park Inn at Longmire and I am always intrigued by what or who I may run into out there. I always follow pretty much the same routine and cover every inch of the trail including sitting for a little while at the travertine mound and soaking in the noise of the bubbles of the spring and the view of Eagle Peak above when the clouds are not blanketing it. Overall as far as the trail itself goes it is in great shape. A little muddy in a few spots but unlike many trails in the park it is snow free all the way around.

Footnote to the above: All the folks who worked on the boardwalk to the travertine mound did an awesome job. A few weeks ago some of the boards were lose but not anymore. Kudos to all of you on that project.

As you all may or may not know lately we had a pretty good snowfall for June at Longmire. As I walked around the trail I observed how much of the skunk cabbage had been matted down. A little dismaying actually because I am also aware there has been a lot of flower picking as well on the trail with this plant. It will certainly be interesting to see how well the plants make out this late spring and into early summer from all of what they are having to go through.

Deer are plentiful at Longmire and below there right now. I see them every day as I drive up into the park before I start my work in the office. They appear to almost be bottling up just below the snowline and are waiting for the snow to melt further up The Mountain sides so they can partake in more eating of the fresh plant shoots that gradually arise once the snow melts. Black Tail Deer love new green shoots as they come up and there are plenty of those for them to eat right now at Longmire. They are a true delicacy for the deer.

A little news flash here as well. A lady from my neighborhood here in Spanaway, Washington made it up to the view point on Rampart Ridge this past Thursday. She notes that snow is about three feet deep at least. She was well equipped for the outing. I would highly recommend the heavy boots she had on that were water proofed and the trekking poles she had to use for good balance on the trip up as well as the trip down. She says take your time up and you will have an enjoyable trip and not slip very much at all especially if you have good boots.

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