A couple fairly poor photos to finish off our trip to Mount Hood and Timberline, this one was taken coming down from Government Camp, at the pass, to Rhododendron, on the valley floor. Here, we are switch-backing down the wall of the glacial valley. The classic "U" shape isn't as clear as I'd hoped, but this is the best of a few photos in which I tried to capture it. The combination of being in a moving, swaying, car along with the glare from the setting sun did not make the task easy. Given the tall and thick forests of the west side, capturing decent shots of the glacial valleys in the Western Cascades is surprising difficult.
Heading back to the car after our sojourn at Timberline Lodge and the surrounding mountainside, this is the view back toward the lodge. Once again, you can see the chimney over the main guest lounge, and the use of the native andesite/dacite as the foundation stone. It's a gorgeous piece of architecture; the only jarring note is the somewhat futuristic-looking tunnel over the entryway stairs. I don't know if that's present during the entire warm season. It looks as if it might be sectional for relatively easy removal and replacement. However, having been here a few times in mid-winter, I can confidently say it would be a nightmare to keep those stairs snow and ice free at that time of year, and a liability disaster if they weren't. I can put up with a bit of an esthetic "ouch" as the price of preventing a potentially crippling physical "ouch."
Followup: From the FlashEarth imagery, it looks as if that tunnel does indeed get removed for some portion of the summer. Keep in mind, this visit was in mid-October; winter storms could arrive at any time, and within two weeks, they had.
What better way to usher in 2015 than with a carved newborn fawn, at the base of the stairs between the lower entryway and the upper floor with the registration desk, at Timberline Lodge. It's a little worn, but adorable nonetheless. Also, don't miss the rough wrought iron reinforcements around that post and along the bannister, as well as the gorgeous little pine cone adorning the end of the hand rail. The funny thing about this and yesterday's posts is they strike me as utterly perfect. I don't think I could've found better selections for the days, no matter how much time I spent searching through my photos. And they just happened to be the next ones in line from our visit to Timberline!
This is being written December 31; Interzone will close at 2 PM, and remain closed until January 2. I'll try to put together a retrospective of / reflection on 2014 over the coming weekend. However, I still have too much unread stuff, and too little time (it's 1:12 as I write this) to consider that right now. In short, it was a year of incredible highs in science, incredible lows in news, and incredible satisfactory contentment in blogging.
This seems like a highly appropriate, cheerful, and punny photo with which to end the year: a mosaic of wildlife around a Cascade spring to create a setting for a water fountain, in the lower entryway of Timberline Lodge. It doesn't hurt that everything here is made of geological materials. There's the raw andesite/dacite blocks in the walls, fired clay in the tiles of the floor and mosaic, glass in the enamel of the mosaic tiles, with various metallic salts for pigment, and copper and zinc alloyed to make the brass of the drinking fountain fixture itself. (It's possible this is bronze; I've never really been confident in telling the two apart. If that is the case, it's an alloy of copper and tin.) And, of course, once tonight's festivities have concluded, what's the next major annual event we're all looking forward to? Why, spring, of course!
Update, 1:30 PM, 12/31/14: The animals, clockwise from upper left, are deer, bear, wild turkey, dragonfly, salmon, and skunk. The plants, in same order, are maybe huckleberry, but not sure, rhododendron, Douglas fir (probably), trillium, and skunk cabbage.
This reclining cougar panel can be found over one of the doors in Timberline Lodge. There's a similar panel of coyotes that I photographed a couple times, but they're too blurry to include in the Geo series. I love the craftwork up here; it's rough-hewn, but so evocative of this landscape. Speaking of which, how is this geology? Only two or three centuries ago, wild lands such as this were a source of fear, or at least unease, avoided by anyone who could, aside from the most intrepid explorers. It's only been in the last couple centuries that western civilization has come to romanticize and seek out alpine areas, deep forests, or "barren" deserts. When this lodge was started in the 1930s, that shift was well underway, and people were excited to get away from the hubbub of city living, and up into the clear mountain air. Later, in the 1950s and 60s, when alpine skiing became popular in the US, this lodge became one of the first skiing meccas in Oregon.
In short, if it wasn't for the geology here, this lodge would never have existed.
This is the chimney over the great hearth in the main guest lounge of Timberline lodge, the upper continuation from this photo. Most of the materials used in the construction of the lodge were, at the very least, shaped on site, and many, including most of the timber and stone were harvested nearby. In particular, I'm admiring the wrought iron wind vane above the chimney opening. You can see that, on this afternoon, the wind was coming from the southeast.
Keep in mind the purpose of the CCC and WPA projects was not to create wonderful historical artifacts such as Timberline, though it did have that outcome. The purpose was to provide meaningful employment for a generation of people, men, mostly, to help support themselves and their families during the Great Depression, but perhaps more importantly, marketable skills that the workers could use to stay employed in the future when the economy improved.
Oh, wait... I've already used that title. Yes, but this is the outdoor view of the chimney from the dining room. This is the same native andesite/dacite as we saw inside, but there are two reasons it appears darker: first, the light is brigher, so by comparison, the stone is darker. Second, notice how it gets darker toward the top? That's almost certainly soot stains from the smoke. I'm pretty sure the fire is kept burning continuously through the winter. So for this one, at least, I'm not going to have to rationalize why I get to call this photo geologically-related.