Saturday, July 25, 2015

23-Jul-2015 Glacier View Trail, Washington

Location of Glacier View summit
(click to enlarge)
Even in the wilderness there
is paperwork!
I love Mt. Rainier, and so I jumped at Rod Crawford's suggestion that we might collect along the upper reaches of Glacier View Trail #267 located in the volcano's western foothills.  The long drive there ended in an 8.3 mile stretch of forest road that was barely passable in our city car, but we made it without incident and were treated to the sight of an evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) in the parking area as we prepared for the trail. 

A low cloud bank hid Mt. Rainier.
Parting ways with Rod half way up the trail, Marie Rose and I continued hiking to the Glacier View summit while Rod started his collecting.  Low clouds initially blocked our view of the volcano mount, so we too began sampling, first conifer foliage along the summit trail itself, then mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) cones a bit below the summit trail's split from the main trail.

Cone sampling site
Lots of mountain hemlock cones
Mountain hemlock cones were abundant in this forest, so I had the luxury of deciding to sample at a spot that also had a nice log to sit on.  No reason not to be comfortable when the opportunity presents itself!  I tapped 50 fallen western hemlock cones and collected 3 spiders and 1 species, Lepthyphantes rainieri (Linyphiidae).  Rod also found L. rainieri to be common in dead wood and litter at his site.  I'd tapped it from cones once before, on the opposite side of Mt. Rainier.

Mt Rainier was out!
A few Indian paintbrushes were still blooming
Just as I finished the cone sample, Marie Rose returned from a second jaunt up to the Glacier View summit to report excitedly that now the mountain was out.  We returned to a spectacular "in your face" view of Mt. Rainier as well as more distant views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helens and a weather front seemingly heading our way.  After much ogling and photo snapping, we headed back into the forest to sweep meadow herbs along our return hike.  The trailside meadows were fairly dried out, but Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.), harebells (Campanula sp.) and asters were still in bloom.

Last of the lilies
Fuzzy coyote scat
Avalanche-lilies (Erythronium montanum) carpeted the trailside in several places.  Unfortunately for us they had already gone to seed, but they must have been a glorious sight a month ago.  A coyote had left its calling card on the trail in the form of scat.  Furry creatures were clearly on its menu.

Read Rod's account of the day here.

Juniper (Juniperus) growing along the Glacier View summit trail

No comments:

Post a Comment