It's certainly getting exciting to work at Mount Rainier in the winter time! We've had so many major storms this winter that I've lost count. Most recently, of course, we had heavy snow last week, followed by high winds on Sunday night. I came in to work on Monday morning but didn't get past the gate, having been blocked by 40 trees that came down across the road in the storm. Power, telephones, Internet, and network services were out until Tuesday afternoon. I'm back at work today, but now we have warm rain on top of four and a half feet of snow, and everything at Longmire is liquifying before our eyes, with rivers of snowmelt running down the roads and streaming off the stumps of the icecicles still clinging to the rafters outside my office window. The rivers aren't even supposed to crest until tonight, at near-record levels, so we're all watching the flow monitors carefully and keeping one ear tuned to the park radio.
(12:30pm update: The hydrograph now projects a peak river level of 13.3 feet at 4am tomorrow morning, which is almost a foot higher than the graph above from 10:30 this morning, and 0.2 feet higher than the record level recorded during the flood of November 2006.)
But meanwhile, work goes on. It's not a busy time of year for volunteers, but it's a busy time for program management. In the next week, I'll be meeting with program managers in our interpretation and natural and cultural resources programs, and setting up meetings with visitor protection and maintenance. We'll be setting strategies for the coming year, and hoping to expand further our volunteer opportunities. I just got off the phone from talking with Rick Zamore at the Student Conservation Association, who will be helping us to recruit and hire several internship positions in the coming year, five of which are already advertised. I'll be posting a recruitment notice, myself, for a six-month volunteer coordinator internship, as well as for a four-month volunteer campground manager. Special project funding requests are due next week for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, so I'll be writing grant proposals for the next generation of our volunteer program.
The rain continues to fall, the rivers continue to rise, and the world continues to turn. The gray jays are hopping around on the snow, looking for tidbits to eat, oblivious to the rain. Summer will soon come, and it's time to get ready!