Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Close, But A World Away

Saturday was National Public Lands Day and the entrance into the National Parks was free.  So, I decided to take advantage.  Then I found out that there was an organized volunteer effort at the campground I'd plan to stay at in Mount Rainier National Park.
Peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier behind the White River on the road to the campground.
The river still shows scaring from the November 2006 flooding.
So, leaving early Friday morning I drove the hour and a half and enjoyed a beautiful secluded campsite for the day.  I took the afternoon and just sat there to take in the wonder and beauty.  It did my soul good.
View of the sky from my campsite.  Spruce covered with old man's beard, fir, pine and
cedar too.  Gray and Steller's jays were extra friendly, looking for handouts. 
Ground squirrels made a few appearances too.

 On Saturday I joined 60 other volunteers on a mile hike to a back country meadow that needed re-vegetation.  This meadow use to be a campground, the asphalt roads have been removed, but much of the meadow remains bare.  While there, we saw many dust devils fed by that bare earth.
Close up view of some of the wildflowers on the hike up to the re-vegetation
project.  With the cold-wet-cold-wet-cold summer, these blooms are very
late.  They usually look like this in early summer, not early fall!
Before signing up for this project I didn't know that re-vegetation is a fairly painstaking effort.  Each flat of 49 seedlings takes about an hour to plant --. first you take a pickax to breakup the soil, then carefully plant in prescribed clusters of 7, then go about 4" away and plant another cluster -- about a square yard for the 7 clusters in one flat.  Oh, my aching knees and back!
View from where I was planting seedlings.  Once the re-vegetation work is
completed, the foreground of the meadow will look like the background.
Cutting across the far ridge, if you look closely, is one of the park's hiking trails.
 Although I'm nursing some aches and pains, I'm glad to have done that volunteer work and plan to do it again.  Mount Rainier National Park is a cherished place.  So, be careful where you walk ... those little meadow plants are precious!