New Heart- Rich Mullins

I love this song.  Sure there’s a few cheezy 80’s sound effects.  But they enhance the song for those who are paying attention to the message in the song.

I’ve mentioned that there are times where it’s easy to get proud and think that I’ve come this far on my own strength.  Well, there are those other moments as well… moments that remind me that my strength is weak and my heart is prone to wandering.  Moments where I wonder how God could ever purify me.  How can He possibly separate that wickedness out of me?

Then I remember Jesus and His sacrifice.  I remember that it’s all about Him and I’m only a small player in the story.  And as the Author of all things, He can write whatever He wants to write about me.

I remember that He is faithful, and that He has promised to make something out of me that shines like the noonday sun.

And it’s not just me He does this with, but it’s all of His people who share in His life giving Spirit!

For His glory!!!

New Heart- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

Let there be no doubt I am the God of all Creation
God of glory and the God of love
And I have called you out, out of the many nations
To be my people so let me be your God

And I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
Your heart of stone I will remove
I’ll put a heart of flesh inside of you
One I can touch, one I can move
And one that beats in time with the truth

So you’re on your way now, well, it won’t be easy going
Still my love is there and it will see you through
For my name’s sake I, I’m gonna make you Holy
So people will see Me when they look at you

And I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
Your heart of stone I will remove
I’ll put a heart of flesh inside of you
One I can touch, one I can move
And one that beats in time with the truth

I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart, give you a new heart
Give you a new heart and a new spirit
I will give you a new heart

HDR Pictures

After hearing and seeing enough about HDR pictures I decided to look into them myself.  Basically, an HDR picture is when you take three pictures of the same thing:

  1. underexposed
  2. normal
  3. overexposed

Then you take those pictures and add them together to get the fullest range possible of what you actually saw with your eyes.  The reason for this?… because cameras aren’t as smart as our eyes (God’s a better designer than man!).  Cameras don’t see the full depth and range of color and light that our eyes see.  So you capture all those things in three separate pictures and then you put them together.  And you can also create special effects in HDRs as well to get some stunning effects.

Now I’m no expert, so this explanation won’t get you a degree.  But it will give you a basic understanding.

So why should you care?  Well, let me show you.  First, here’s a few of my newbie HDR projects (HDRs on the right):

rainbow hdr-comparison

valley hdr comparison

Believe it or not, the hdr image on the right here is how the colors ACTUALLY LOOKED IN REAL LIFE. Taken at the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone NP"

hdr comparison- effects

And finally, the following are a few breath-takers from around the webernet (NOT MINE, click on the pictures to go to the original poster’s page)…

Bigger Critters of Mt. Rainier

There are enough little critters in Mount Rainier National Park to keep people interested year after year.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Mount Rainier is full of life one could hardly expect to see it all.

There are a few big cats that roam around the mountainside.  They are rarely seen by people though, so you don’t have to worry much about being attacked by one.  Just remember to keep animals on a leash and to not let small children wonder off.  Keeping your food packed up and your campsite clean will also add safety to your visit.  And if you see one… don’t pet it.

Here are three of the parks big furballs…

Puma/Cougar/Mountain Lion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobcat:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynx (not seen in the park since 1906)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve posted before on a couple of the deer, but here are some more pictures…

Elk/Wapiti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Tailed Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mule Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deer I’ve seen around the park, and it’s cool every time.  I’m still hoping to see a big cat!  The more we can get out there to camp on Mt. Rainier the more chances we’ll have to see one.  And it’s that time again to resupply for summer camping.  Time for a visit to Whittaker Mountaineering!

I’ve probably said this a hundred times, but I know it’s truer every time I think about it… God is amazing!!!  If it’s overwhelming to see His creatures here in this world, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to see the heavenly ones someday!  Praise God!!!

More Little Critters of Mount Rainer- Part 1

Mount Rainier is bursting with life, and these blogs have only begun to scratch the surface.  Let’s take a step back for a moment and see some lists of small critters in this beautiful National Park.

[IMG]http://i858.photobucket.com/albums/ab145/tugwilson507/CROPS%202/shrew.jpg[/IMG]

https://i2.wp.com/i858.photobucket.com/albums/ab145/tugwilson507/CROPS%202/shrew.jpg

Shrews:
-Common / Masked Shrew
-Dusky Shrew
-Marsh Shrew
-Trowbridge Shrew
-Wandering Shrew
 
 
 
 
 
Mice, Rats and Voles
-Deer Mouse
-Gapper’s Red-Backed Mouse
-Heathervole
-Jumping Mouse
-Long-Tailed Vole
-Pack Rat/ Bushy Tailed Woodrat
-Townsend’s Vole
-Watervole
 
 
 
 
 
Marmots, Squirrels & Chipmunks
-Douglas Squirrel
-Golded-Mantled Ground Squirrel
-Hoary Marmot
-Northern Flying Squirrel
-Townsend’s Chipmunk
-Yellow Pine Chipmunk
 
 
Moles:
-Coast Mole
-Shrew Mole
-Townsend Mole
 
 
Other:
-Northern Pocket Gopher
-Pika

Next time we’ll look some lists of larger small critters.  Until then, make sure you visit Mount Rainier, and don’t forget to stock up on supplies from Whittaker Mountaineering!

Praise God for His creation!!!

Legends of Mount Rainier and the Pacific Northwest

So we’ve heard of the legendary Bigfoot, a creature of Pacific NW fiction.  Recently the fictional vampires of Twilight have become well known beyond the Northwest.  Some have tried to figure out the non-fictional “Grunge Rockers”, who originally roamed the great lands around our beloved Puget Sound.

Well, another creature of legend calls the Northwest home.  They can only be found in the coldest of the coldest places around.  One of their favorite hangouts is on the top of a little hill we like to call Mount Rainier.

Try telling someone to go up to the snowfields and glaciers on Mt. Rainier and look for worms, and they may ask you if they should then use them for snipe hunting.  If you describe the worms in more detail, they may ignore you all together.

But here’s the difference between Bigfoot and Ice Worms, between vampires and Ice Worms… the Ice Worms are as real as grunge rockers!  And besides the crazy thought of little one inch worms burrowing through rock hard ice, there’s another reason people think Ice Worms are fake… when they get warm… they melt!

Want to see what they look like?

You can see a good picture from the Seattle Times at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/zoom/html/2002818692.html, or check out one of the pictures below…

Ice WormsIce Worms

So how can you see on in real life?  Well, you’ll have to find a day when the sun isn’t so bright and when the air is cooler.  Then you get your gear together and head up to the snowfields and glaciers on the top of Mt. Rainier.  Wait for the sun to find the horizon, and then just look on the snow.  You may have to dig, but if it’s cold enough and you find some “Red Snow” then you’ll likely see millions of them wiggling about and searching food.

Make sure you pack the right gear!  It’s very cold up there even on a hot day.  And walking about on the snow and glaciers in good daylight can be dangerous enough… it’s worse when you have less light to see what’s going on.  Browse through Whittaker Mountaineering’s online store to see if you have everything you need.  You can also call them and tell them your plans, and they should be able to give you a good checklist of things to pack.

For more information on Ice Worms check out this site… http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/iceworm.htm

The creativity of God is truly amazing!!!

Animals of Mount Rainier’s Alpine Zone

After climbing between 6,000-7,500 feet, one may notice a big change… no trees!  The air is freezing cold, snowfields and glaciers can be found.  The flowers grow short, and the animals are few.  It’s the hardest place on the mountain to live, and the air is the best I’ve ever breathed.  This is the Alpine Zone.

This is where we ended our hike from White River campground.  We were at the bottom of Inter-Glacier Snow Field.  If I had to pick any place on Mount Rainier to live in (during the summer at least) that place would be it!  I hear that Panorama Point is another beautiful Alpine area, found at the lower end of Muir Snow Field.

Most of the animals in the Alpine Zone only live there during the summer, when it’s not extremely cold.  Let’s look at a couple that you might see crawling about up there.

Marmot

Marmot

Hoary Marmots are the largest of North America’s ground squirrels.  Because of their high pitched warning whistle, and their pudginess, they’re also called “whistle pigs”.  They hibernate during the colder months in burrows, usually near or under boulders.  During the summer these large rats are seen a lot.  They don’t spook very easily.  Marmots are the largest animals that are regularly seen in the Alpine Zone, although other animals such as bears do venture through this cold region of Mt. Rainier.

Pika

Pika

 

Pikas are another type of critter found in the Alpine Zone of Mount Rainier.  They are small, hamster/chinchilla like Critters.  Like tailless mice, but big and fat with rounded ears.  Like their neighbors, the marmots, they let of a high pitched warning sound when they sense danger.  They’re not as brave as marmots though, if they see people they’ll likely hide.  You’ll have to look a bit harder to see these little guys.

Sometimes they are called “rock rabbits”, “coneys”, or “whistling hares”.  Pikas do not hibernate.  They collect grass, dry it, and stuff it in their burrows for warmth.  And they need all the warmth they can get in this cold area.

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If you’re traveling this high on Mt. Rainier, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to climb up on the snow, and you may possibly be on your way to summit Washington’s greatest peak.  Make sure to get the proper gear, available from Whittaker Mountaineering.  They are experts on climbing and on Mount Rainier, and they can be found at the foot of the mountain.  Currently they offer free shipping on any order over $75.  Check them out!

Thanks for reading, and Lord willing we’ll see you in a couple weeks!  Praise God for our beautiful Mount Rainier!!!

Roaming the Subalpine Zone of Mount Rainier

As you climb between 4,500 and 6,000 feet you’ll notice that the trees begin to thin into the famous meadows of Mt. Rainier.  This is the Subalpine Life Zone of Mount Rainier.  Some argue it is the most beautiful place in all of Washington.  And it isn’t just people that enjoy this area.

Black Tail Deer

Black Tailed Deer

Black Tailed Deer roam all around Mt. Rainier, but they love to graze in the sunbathed subalpine meadows.  These animals are a favorite game for hunters, but here in Mt. Rainier they enjoy protection from hunting.  They are not protected, however, from traffic.  These deer move about mostly during dawn and dusk, when the lack of light makes it somewhat difficult for drivers to see them.  Always be cautious and on the lookout for them when driving during these times.

These may be the most commonly seen large animals in the park.  If you’re quick with the camera you’ll find they pose nicely for your shots.  And thanks to William, my awesome Irish Wolfhound/Siberian Husky mix, I found out that the deer aren’t too spooked by dogs whining at them through car windows.  The deer and dog held each other’s gaze for quite some time.  I really wanted to let the animals interact, but letting my dog out would have been not only illegal, but dangerous for both animals.  At least they shared that moment through the window.

Elk

Elk

Elk can be found in the Subalpine Zone as well.  The moose is the only deer species larger than the elk, and occasionally a large Sambar deer will match an elk’s size.  Like the black tail deer, these big creatures roam about when the sun is close to the horizon.  So be careful when driving through the park at those times, the animal and your car will appreciate it!

The bugling of elks is a well known sound, and very easy to pick out.  The louder a male’s bugle, the more females he will attract.  Sometimes they use their large antlers and powerful front leg kicks to fight for mating rights.  Be careful if you are close to an elk, those antlers and kicks can do a man in.

Other animals can be found in the Subalpine Zone of Mount Rainier.  It’s a good place to get pictures of wildlife, especially during the spring when the meadows are ablaze with color.  God is amazing, and His creations are beautiful!

If you’re camping out in the Subalpine Zone of the mountain, remember that it’s pretty cold at night.  Make sure to pack warm clothes, good sleeping bags, and quality tents.  These and other resources can be found at www.whitakermountaineering.com.  Check out their sales, and remember that submitting a product review could win you $200!

Life in Mt. Rainier’s Pacific Silver Fir Zone

Mount Rainier’s Pacific Silver Fir Zone, also known as the Montane Zone, is found between 2,900 ft and 4,500 ft.  Our favorite campground, White River campground, can be found here.  It’s a beautiful area, lots of fir and pine trees.

It begins to cool down in this zone.  There aren’t many large animals there for hikers and campers to see.  But here’s a small list of what you will find there.

 

 

 

Black Bears roam across many areas of Mt. Rainier National Park, looking for inexperienced campers to scare… well, ok… they don’t really.  And as I found out a few years ago, just because their fur is brown does not mean they are a grizzly coming to eat you!

They love to visit the Pacific Silver Fir Zone, especially in the late summer and early fall.  Low growing huckleberry bushes flood the area with a nice red color, and draw the bears in for huckleberries.  Remember, leave them alone and they should leave you alone.  Do not give them food!

 

445.jpg northern flying squirrel image by camper-mike

Northern Flying Squirrels float about in the Pacific Silver Fir Zone.  These little guys only come out at night.  They love to eat mushrooms, and they also eat nuts, insects, eggs and other small things.  They like to store up lichens and seeds for when food is less abundant.  Make sure to pack up your food and get rid of your garbage, otherwise you’ll have these midnight bandits raiding your campsite.

Often the flying rodents will share nests with others of their kind.  It helps them to keep warm in the winter.  Usually there’s only a few, but one nest was found to have over 50 of them crowding in!  If you happen to be out in the park at night in May or June you’ll likely see them flying about looking for mates.  Take one of these to help you find them in the dark.

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There are lots of other animals in the park, and even in the Pacific Silver Fir Zone.  Remember to leave nature as it is, don’t try to feed the wild animals and don’t get too close to them.  It’s dangerous for them and for you!

If you’re planning a trip to Mt. Rainier National Park, you’ll want to check out some of the good deals from Whittaker Mountaineering at http://www.whittakermountaineering.com/pg/on_sale  These guys know a lot about the park and about climbing Mt. Rainier.  They can guide you to the best products to have for where you’ll be on the mountain, and for what you’ll be doing there.

Remember that as the snow starts to melt, the waterfalls swell with water and beauty.  Go check them out in a couple months, and be careful that you don’t get swept away.

Praise God for this wonderland in the Pacific Northwest!!!  He is so good to us!

 

 

 

 

Critters of Mt. Rainier’s Lowland Forest Zone

God has placed inside the Pacific Northwest a vibrant and beautiful region, known to us as Mount Rainier.  The variety of “life zones” on Mount Rainier creates an environment in which many types of wildlife can live.  The first life zone that one encounters when entering the park is the “Lowland Forest Zone.”  The dense forest shades most of Ohanapecosh, Longmire & Carbon River from sunlight.   A number of animals prefer this environment.

American Beaver.jpg

Beavers love the Lowland Forest Zone of Mt. Rainier.  The waters flow at a slower pace here, making for a gentler place to build their dams and lodges.  These constructs can be made of the softer spruce, fir, cedar or hemlock; though the beavers prefer the harder willows, alders and maples.  The like to eat the inner bark on the harder trees, as well as various roots, water plants and pond algae.

Tamiasciurus douglasii (Oregon coast)

Douglas Squirrels can also be found in the park’s Lowland Forest Zone.  You can tell they’re about when you hear their alarm call… chickareeeee!  These squirrels mostly eat seeds from coniferous trees, but they also like acorns, berries, mushrooms, fruit and even the occasional bird egg.  Unlike most tree squirrels, Douglas Squirrels do not have a cheek pouches to carry their food in.  Wandering through Mount Rainier’s Lowland Forest Zone, one might happen across a pile of pine cone scales.  Douglas Squirrels will use the same pile for years, sometimes over multiple generations.

 

Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are attracted to the Lowland Forest Zone of Mount Rainier.  Critters like the ones listed above serve as tasty meals for these birds of prey.  Though these birds are often seen there, Mount Rainier’s website states that there are no reports of the birds nesting in the park.  Apparently they like to dine and dash.

The Northern Spotted Owl is another bird of prey that is attracted to Mount Rainier National Park.  They are the only bird species on the USFWS list of threatened & endangered species that call the park home.   These owls like to swallow their prey whole, and vomit up the indigestible parts in pellet form.  Don’t count on seeing much of these owls during the day, as they are mostly nocturnal.

Many other species of animals can be found in the Lowland Forest Zone of Mount Rainier.  For more information on these animals, check out ” A Pocket Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of Mount Rainier,” available at Whittaker Mountaineering‘s online store.

Mount Rainier- Life Zones

I want to start by giving a big thanks once again to Whittaker Mountaineering for helping to bring these weekly posts on Mt. Rainier!

So we’ve started into our series on wildlife in Mount Rainier National Park, and I realized that there is one element we should take a look at before going on any further… Life Zones. 

Because these Life Zones separate where you will typically find specific types of wildlife, it will be good for us to have this sort of “animal map” in mind.  Keep in mind that some animals live across multiple Life Zones, generally driven there and there by the seasons.

These Life Zones also apply to vegetation, which Lord willing we will discuss in future posts.  One of the amazing things about Mount Rainier National Park is that it is one of the few places in Washington where you can see so many life zones in one place.

There are a number of ways to classify and differentiate Life Zones.  Different areas of the world require different systems of classification to account for certain variables.  It would seem that for Mount Rainier the common method of defining Life Zone is by altitude. 

Lowland Forest Zone

The Lowland Forest Zone is the zone in which we enter the park.  Mostly you will find smaller creatures here.  It lies between the 2,000 to 2,900 ft. elevation marks.

Pacific Silver Fir Zone

This zone lies between 2,900 and 4,500 ft, where the air temperature really begins to cool down.  Here you may find squirrels flying around in the trees, and bear cubs up there watching them.

Subalpine Zone

Between 4,500 and 6,000 ft you’ll find the Subalpine Zone.  It’s even colder here than in the Pacific Silver Fir Zone, so look for open meadows so you can soak in some sunlight.    Remember to keep your eyes peeled for elk and deer in this zone!

Alpine Zone

This is where the trees stop.  It starts between 6,000 and 7,500 ft, and goes all the way up to the top of Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft).  Permanent snow and ice can be found here, limiting the number of species that can live here.  Look for big vermin like the Pika or the Marmot.  Alpine insects like the Ice Worm (which “melt” in above freezing temperatures) can also be found here.

With these Life Zones in mind we can have a better idea of where particular creatures can be found on Mt. Rainier.  Tune in next week as we dive further into the wildlife of Mt. Rainier.

A big thanks to ecologist Jim Schaberl, biologist Mason Reid and park ranger/Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher!  All three of these men have a measure of experience on Mt. Rainier, and have given of their valuable time to help make this and future posts possible.

Also, remember to check out this field guide, available from Whittaker Mountaineering.

 Thanks for reading, and praise God who created our beautiful Mt. Rainier!!!